Last month, Boston College retired the jersey of hockey legend Mike Mottau.
Mottau was a slam-dunk choice, as a Hobey Baker Award winner in 2000 and a huge part of the revival of the program under coach Jerry York. He became the 13th Eagle to receive the honor, and the first since York himself; prior to York, the previous jersey retirement was David Emma - himself a Hobey Baker Award winner.
After Mottau, there are a huge number of potential candidates for jersey retirement - but fewer slam dunks. The next Hobey Baker Award winner at BC after Mottau was Johnny Gaudreau. Given all the success that happened between Mottau and Gaudreau, that era needs to be represented. But by whom?
Jersey retirement is selective at BC. Prior to the greatest coach of all time in York, a Hobey winner in Emma, and one of the greatest American players ever in Joe Mullen, the last retired jersey was John Cunniff from the class of '66.
There are many, many players who could be considered for the honor, but picking exactly who requires being a little picky.
Here’s who we think might be next between now and Gaudreau:
The obvious choice:
Gionta is the slam dunk. Brian Gionta is the program’s all time goals leader (123) and is 2nd to Emma in scoring (239). Gionta became the prototype for the short, speedy, electric BC forward who firmly embedded himself in the head of opposing teams and fans in Hockey East.
Most importantly, Gionta helped lead BC to four consecutive Frozen Fours - the only time in program history that’s happened - and powered the Eagles to the 2001 National Championship. He never won a Hobey Baker Award, which was a travesty, but that won’t stop him from having his jersey retired.
Gionta is 37 and in his 16th professional season - so while we wish him continued success for as long as he wants to play, he’ll probably be the next Eagle legend to retire. That makes him the likeliest next player to have his jersey retired. That will be a special night.
Worth Strong Consideration
Jeff Farkas - 88 goals, 190 points, and three Frozen Four appearances with BC during his career spanning from ‘96-97 to ‘99-‘00.
Ben Eaves - Eaves scored 169 points in 126 games, scoring 1.34 points per game- a rate that exceeds many of his contemporaries. Eaves won a national title in ‘01 and took BC back to the Frozen Four in ‘04.
Nathan Gerbe - To date, BC hasn’t retired the jersey of a player who left school early to go the NHL. But they’re going to have to break the mold eventually for Gaudreau, so Gerbe should be considered. If he had won the Hobey Baker Award in ‘08 - which he absolutely should have - then he’d likely be a lock. But even without the Hobey, he won a Most Outstanding Player Award at the Frozen Four and was absolutely the driving force behind the BC team that won the national title in ‘08.
Joe’s Personal Dark Horse Pick
John Muse - Here’s a fun fact we recently learned: John Muse is NCAA hockey’s all time wins leader. You read that right. He has 89 regular season wins - a record that edged Alvaro Montoya’s 86. More staggeringly, he had a 22-2 postseason record. (WHAT?!) 14-1 in the Hockey East tournament; 8-1 in the NCAA tournament. If you’re going to retire a goalie’s jersey, he’s the one. I know wins aren’t the best goaltending metric, but it’s hard not to consider the all-time record holder here for a special honor.
Laura’s Personal Dark Horse Pick
Marty Reasoner - Marty Reasoner played three seasons at BC from '95 to '98, scoring 162 points in 111 games -a scoring rate of 1.46 goals per game, which is ahead of Brian Gionta (1.41) and about even with Johnny Gaudreau (1.47). BC has had so many great players that it’s easy to forget just how great Reasoner was here. Unless you’re Laura. She remembers all the time. #childhoodhero
Obviously there are so many great BC hockey players whose numbers could be retired. Blake Bellefeuille? Tony Voce? Cory Schneider? Pre-York choices like Scott Harlow or Doug Brown?
It’s unlikely that all of the players listed here will have their jerseys retired. Gionta is the only true slam dunk. Who from this list should have their name in the rafters? Who did we miss? Let us know!