Boston College hockey legend Nathan Gerbe has retired as a player, and will move on to the next stage of his career as a development coach for the Nashville Predators:
Congratulations to Nate on a professional career that continued to defy doubts and odds just as he did in college; Gerbe ended up playing in 435 NHL games over parts of 11 seasons, scoring 63 goals and adding 88 assists. He also was a two-time AHL all star and spent parts of two successful seasons in the highly competitive Swiss elite league.
On this occasion, let’s remember just how good Nate Gerbe was particularly in his third and final year at BC. We’ve been blessed to watch a number of great players and great teams at BC through the years, but what was different about Nate Gerbe’s 07-’08 season is that in many ways, he simply willed that team to the national championship.
The 2008 team was arguably on paper less deep and less balanced than the other great BC title teams, and was in some ways considered a rebuilding team going in to the year after Cory Schneider and Brian Boyle departed following the title loss in 2007.
BC slogged their way to a 4th place finish in the Hockey East regular season standings, with a middling 11-9-7 record in conference play. More distressingly, BC entered the playoffs having gone 2-5-1 in their final 8 games.
But a combination of rugged determination, an absolute will to win from top to bottom, John Muse’s outstanding run between the pipes, and most importantly, Nate Gerbe’s insane hot streak carried them from there.
BC started the Hockey East playoffs by demolishing Providence 5-1 in back to back games in the best-of-3 quarterfinals, featuring Nate Gerbe providing the highlight of all highlights in this penalty shot spin-o-rama:
Gerbe added three assists in the Hockey East semifinal against UNH, and a 1-1—2 line in the championship game against UVM, finishing the Hockey East tournament with 9 points in 4 games.
Gerbe was a repeat tormenter of North Dakota during his college career, having scored this highlight reel goal in 2006:
He once again lit up NoDak in the 2008 NCAA semifinal with a hat trick and an assist. He followed that up with a two goal, two assist performance in the title game against Notre Dame to win the Frozen Four’s most outstanding player award and boost BC to the national title. Postgame, he famously said he wasn’t bothered by missing out on the Hobey Baker award, because they left Denver with the big hardware:
Gerbe finished the season with an astonishing 35 goals & 33 assists in 43 games, with of his 20(!) of 68 points coming in eight magical postseason games.
Congratulations to Nate Gerbe on an amazing career, and thanks for delivering one of the most special seasons in memory to the Heights!