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The enduring connection between the BCHL and Dartmouth College


The BC Hockey League has longstanding ties to plenty of college hockey programs across the United States, and over the past week, I have begun to do my own research into why these schools are so special and what makes them such a good landing spot for BCHL players.

Continuing the series of looking at the relationships between the BCHL and NCAA hockey schools/programs, this piece will be on Dartmouth College, a private Ivy League research university in Hanover, New Hampshire.

With college hockey and the sports world as a whole being so heavily affected by the pandemic and repercussions of COVID-19, the Dartmouth hockey program was put to a halt as their 2020-21 season was canceled.

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Known as the Big Green, Dartmouth’s 2020-21 campaign would’ve been the program’s 115th season. Once the Ivy League announced there would be no winter sports for 2020-21, the Big Green players were told they wouldn’t lose a year of playing eligibility, or that they could go play somewhere else via transfer.

Big Green NCAA hockey

Icing their very first hockey team in January 1906, Dartmouth is a program with longevity and tradition, to say the least.

Winners of five Quadrangular Championships, three Pentagonal Championships, one ECAC Divisional Championship, one ECAC regular-season crown – the results are only part of the program’s story.

The school has produced no fewer than 18 National Hockey League players, one of which being Stanley Cup champion Ben Lovejoy, who won it all with Pittsburgh. The Big Green program is proven to produce high-level student-athletes that is surely a talking point when it comes to the BCHL and their players’ decision to go to Dartmouth.

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Another Dartmouth product, Drew O’Connor, received recognition in 2020 as Ivy League player of the year and has since departed to begin his NHL career with the Penguins.

As for coaches, the late Eddie Jeremiah took over the Dartmouth men’s hockey team in 1937 and helped lead the team to complete domination in college hockey in 1941-42. With a 21-2 record and a boatload of team records, Dartmouth was crowned national collegiate hockey champions under Jeremiah.

To add to this already outstanding feat for the program, coach Jeremiah left the team after the championship and served his country in World War II. He ended up coaching Dartmouth for 26 seasons, compiling an overall record of 300–239–11.

Fast-forward to 1997, when recently retired coach Bob Gaudet took over as Dartmouth’s bench boss. In Gaudet’s fourth season, the Big Green won an ECAC tournament game for the first time since 1980, ending a 21-year drought.

The Big Green recorded winning seasons over seven straight campaigns, twice winning 20 games, to go with an ECAC regular-season title in 2005–06, the first conference title in team history. Dartmouth continued to play well under Gaudet and he became the team’s all-time leader in victories in 2018.

In 2020, Bob Gaudet announced his retirement from coaching and handed the reigns over to current coach Reid Cashman.

Current and committed BCHL alum at Dartmouth

Out of five current BCHL alumni on the Big Green roster, none utilized their option to transfer away and play in a different program in 2020-21, meaning they all saved a year of playing eligibility heading into a fresh 2021-22 campaign.

Quin Foreman (Senior, West Kelowna) registered 21 points in 31 games during Dartmouth’s last season of play in 2019-20. Sam Hesler (Junior, Wenatchee) also had a solid year with 12 points and 56 shots on goal as a sophomore. Jack Cameron (Sophomore, Coquitlam) missed out on his freshman season at Dartmouth with the COVID cancellation.

New freshman Clay Stevenson (Coquitlam) is a 6’4″ goaltender from Port Coquitlam, BC who will look to adjust to college hockey in 2021-22, and 6’3″ forward Nick Unruh (Salmon Arm) of Fort McMurray, Alberta will also begin his playing career at Dartmouth this September.

Joining those players in 2021-22 are four more BCHLers ready to take on Division I hockey: Matthew Hubbarde (Langley), Nathan Morgan (Salmon Arm), and brothers Brady (Victoria) and Cameron MacDonald (Vernon). These four players headed Dartmouth’s way have a combined 202 BCHL games on their resume.

BCHL and Dartmouth alumnus

With a total of 35 BCHL and Big Green hockey alumnus, seven of which who went on to play professional hockey, the success of the BCHL to college hockey path has seen plenty of positive stories be written.

Many local hockey fans will know of former Vancouver Canucks forward Tanner Glass, who was a force for Nanaimo and Penticton during his days in the BCHL.

After three seasons in the BCHL, four at Dartmouth, and eight in the NHL, Glass scraped and clawed his way to a very successful hockey career. Whether it was the path he took to get there that had some influence on how his career played out, one thing was for certain, Glass’s ability to fight for everything and battle until he got what he wanted took him a long way once he stepped away from Dartmouth hockey.

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Another BCHL and Dartmouth alum is David Jones, who played in 147 games for the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express, picking up 172 points along the way before setting sail to Big Green hockey.

Once at Dartmouth, Jones was a massive factor in bringing the program back to where it once was and capturing that ECAC regular-season title in 2005-06. His 34 points in 33 games that season really put him on NHL radar and was the beginning of his long, illustrious pro hockey path.

Taken in the ninth round of the NHL Draft in 2003, Jones carved out a 10-year career with the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, and Minnesota Wild, scoring a career-high 27 goals with the Avs in 2010-11.

Complete list of BCHL alumni at Dartmouth

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Hope for continued success

With what should be a highly anticipated season in 2021-22 for the Dartmouth men’s hockey program, there are plenty of storylines to keep an eye on as a fan of BCHL players and the hope for heightened success.

A new coach to pair with seven new faces from the BCHL on the team’s current roster, there is an expectation for a significant bounce back from what was an up and down 2019-20 and a canceled 2020-21 season.

Seeing the success of NCAA Division I players in the NHL today is getting more and more common, and college hockey will only become an even biggest hotspot for young players to continue their development.

Hockey players certainly grow as student-athletes at Dartmouth and learn what it takes to be a professional and a better person. We can not wait to see what the program has in store for the graduates of the BCHL in the future.