Boston College men’s hockey captain Marc McLaughlin, along with star junior defenseman Drew Helleson, were named to the US Olympic team for the upcoming Games in Beijing.
The news was formally announced on ESPN’s NHL coverage, though it was reported earlier in the day by the Daily Faceoff and Chris Peters.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) January 13, 2022
The roster is a sea change from the US approach in 2018, which saw a team predominantly made of pros in European leagues. This roster is NCAA-heavy, with 15 NCAA players on the squad.
Drew Helleson’s selection had been rumored for a while; he was one of the top defensemen on the US’s championship-winning 2021 World Junior team and is one of the top NHL prospects in the NCAA ranks.
McLaughlin’s pick seemed like more of a surprise at first, as he hasn’t been in the USA Hockey setup and is undrafted, but it is absolutely deserved based on McLaughlin’s body of work at BC.
McLaughlin has 14 goals and 6 assists in 20 games this year, emerging as one of the best forwards in Hockey East – one year after hitting double-digit goals in a 24-game season in 2020-21.
This is great news for McLaughlin and Helleson, and a wonderful accomplishment for the players and the program. The flip side of course is that this will throw a curveball in to BC’s season; before the season started this was unforeseen as it seemed like NHL players would be going to the Games.
The Olympic men’s hockey tournament runs from February 9-20, with the USA’s first game coming on February 10 against China.
All 12 teams qualify for at least the play-in round after pool play, which takes place on February 15. If the US goes all the way to the medal games, they will be held February 19-20.
This means McLaughlin and Helleson will likely miss at a minimum several weeks of play for BC. The Beanpot begins February 7 against Northeastern, wrapping up on 2/14; by that point the players will surely have departed. BC also has games against UConn (2/11) and Northeastern (2/18, 2/19) that will be affected. The following weekend’s games against BU (2/25-26) theoretically could see the players return with four games left in the regular season.
BC will have rivals impacted by Olympic departures too – BU goalie Drew Commesso is heading to China as part of the US team, while Northeastern goalie Devon Levi, one of the very best in NCAA, will be heading to the Olympics as well for Team Canada.
Nick Abruzzese and Sean Farrell, currently of Harvard, were also named to the US roster – so all the Beanpot teams will be down some manpower.
Best of luck and congratulations to McLaughlin and Helleson!