One of new General Manager Chuck Fletcher's first moves was to bring in a former Boston College star and Boston Bruin Chuck Kobasew, who nine years ago this week, capped one of the most decorated single seasons in NCAA Hockey history with a national championship.
Kobasew only played one season at B.C., but in less than six months, accomplished more than most do in a four-year college career. That season, not only did did the Eagles capture just their second national title in school history, they also won both the regular season and playoff championships in Hockey East, as well as the Beanpot.
For his efforts, Kobasew was named the Frozen Four Most Valuable Player, scoring two goals in a win against Michigan in the semifinals and adding a goal and an assist versus North Dakota in the championship.
That championship team also had future NHL stars Brian Gionta, Rob Scuderi and Brooks Orpik, in addition to former Wild forward Krys Kolanos. The season as a whole was a whirlwind for Kobasew, who finished third on the team in points with 49. His 27 goals were second on the team, six behind Gionta, who was a senior\
"Definitely a fun year. We had a good team," Kobasew said. "We had a lot of good veteran players that I was able to learn from, and we were able to have some success."
One of the unique experiences for Kobasew that season was winning the Beanpot, a tournament where BC faces cross town rivals Boston University, Northeastern and Harvard for the right to call themselves the best in The Hub. The Osoyoos, British Columbia native had no idea what the trophy was before heading cross-continent to Boston, where it's a hockey ritual each winter. The tournament has been held each season since 1952-53.
"It's a big deal, especially in the New England area," Kobasew said. "I didn't know anything until I got thrown into the mix there. It was a great experience, playing at the Garden in front of a packed house."
BU had won the Beanpot six straight years before Kobasew's arrival, and won it the two years after his departure.
"Boston University had quite the following," Kobasew said. "The two schools are only about 10 minutes apart. One's in the city, one's in the suburbs, so there's always been that rivalry there."
The Frozen Four that year was a little bitter sweet, however. En route to the national title, the Eagles defeated Michigan (Kobasew's favorite team growing up) and North Dakota (the team that finished second in recruiting Kobasew the previous year).
"It was one of my first opportunities to play in front of 18,000 fans," Kobasew said. "I had never experienced anything like that in juniors."
Just one year earlier, after Kobasew had chosen BC over UND, the Fighting Sioux and the Eagles had played in the national championship game. North Dakota won that game.
"You're left wondering, 'Did I make the right decision?'" Kobasew said.
That question was answered the following season, with Kobasew leading the way, when BC won 3-2 in overtime.
"I guess I made the right call."