With the early departure of physical blue line presence Nick Petrecki, the Boston College hockey team looked to be shorthanded on defense next year. But one week later, the Eagles received word that highly-touted defenseman Patrick Wey, currently plying his trade with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL, has committed to BC for 2009.
Wey will be part of a young blue line brigade for BC, as four freshmen and three sophomores will join the lone senior, Carl Sneep.
Wey, a big presence at 6’2’’, 200 pounds, has put up strong numbers in the USHL, scoring 7 goals and 27 assists while amassing a +22 plus/minus.
EagleInsider caught up with Wey, currently preparing for the USHL playoffs, to discuss his commitment.
EI: You had a lot of schools interested in you. What made you ultimately pick BC?
PW: It was a school that I always had in the back of my mind growing up. I’d always seen the winning titles on television. I’d always dreamed of going there. What put it over the top for me was when I took a visit. I’d seen the campus before but I hadn’t seen the inner workings of the school, and seen all the buildings. I was just really impressed with everything.
EI: A lot of your peers commit to college teams 2 or 3 years before enrolling. What made you decide to wait until the spring before enrolling? Do you feel like it was a good decision for you to wait it out?
PW: I was just making sure that I made the most informed decision that I could and that I wasn’t rushing into things too much. I was talking to a pretty good number of schools. I wanted to do myself justice and find the best place for me. And I feel that since I took my time, I really feel good that I found a place that’s the best fit for me.
EI: Talk about some of your experience in the USHL. How has it prepared you for college hockey?
PW: [The USHL] is probably the top junior league in the United States. I came in last year as a pretty young kid and the guys I’m playing against are some of the top junior kids in the nation, and they’re all looking to go D1. Most of them range from 17-21 years old.
The competition is good- it’s a really competitive league because regardless of where teams are in the standings, they’re all looking to move on to the next level. So guys are always playing hard. It’s been a great experience for me.
EI: What are some of your strengths as a player?
PW: I think I’m a strong skater with good mobility. I think my vision and hockey sense are also a strong point of mine, and my ability to move the puck and make a good first pass. I’m pretty solid defensively and I think my vision and puck moving helps me generate offense when the puck’s in the offensive zone.
EI: What are some aspects of your game that you’ve worked on and tried to improve during your time in junior hockey?
PW: My physicality. I’m not a huge hitter. I’ve always hit guys, but I’ve been working on being able to eliminate guys from the puck with hits. I’ve also worked on my shot, and shooting off the pass. I’ve tried to work on and that, and will continue to work on that in the offseason to get ready for the collegiate level.
EI: With Petrecki’s departure, BC was obviously looking at a thin blue line next year. How much did the chance of playing time impact your decision to commit?
PW: That was a big factor for sure. I wouldn’t have made the decision to come in next year if it hadn’t been a situation where I was going to see playing time. I think that was a big factor in my decision.
It was kind of interesting – I’d talked to BC before [Petrecki’s departure ], but after they made their offer, when I was still entertaining multiple options. But the more I started to like BC, it came down to coming in 2009, or coming in 2010. Petrecki leaving was kind of what made the decision to come [in 2009] a no-brainer.
EI: Discuss some of your interactions with Jerry York and the BC coaching staff, and what your impressions have been so far?
PW: I’ve talked to all the coaches on my visit and on the phone, and just at games. I’ve been very impressed with all the members of the coaching staff… Spending time with Coach York is a great honor and privilege given his history and the history of BC hockey. They have really great guys, and they really seem like they know what they’re doing, and they know what it takes to move guys on to the next level.
EI: Do you have an academic major in mind, or are you undecided?
PW: I’m not dead set on it, but I’m thinking of going into the business school, they have a great business school at BC. I’m not sure where exactly I’d want to work from there, but probably something in [business].
EI: Have you played alongside other future Hockey East players in Waterloo?
Nick Pryor and Derek Arnold, who have committed to Maine. Pryor is going to be at Maine next year, and Arnold is still kind of undecided on what year.
Chris Student, who’s committed to Northeastern, is also on my team this year. Last year, I played with Blake Kessel and Matt DiGirolamo, who both ended up on UNH. So I’ve had my fair share of playing with Hockey East players.
EI: What do you think of as a possible role for yourself on the team next year? Have you set any personal goals?
PW: I don’t want to look too far ahead. But I’d say to just contribute as much as I can; even if that means just being a really hard worker in practice… but obviously I have aspirations of having more of a role on the team than that.
Obviously nothing’s going to be given to me; it’s all going to have to be earned. Some of my goals are earning playing time, hopefully playing in every game, and helping the team win in any way possible. Also, some goals for the year are just really develop my game and familiarize myself at the next level and hopefully contribute to the team’s success.