By Gabrielle Turi
BU News Service
When it comes to hockey royalty, a few names come to mind. But perhaps one is thought of more than any else: Tkachuk. At Boston University, Keith Tkachuk’s youngest son, Brady, just finished playing his first season.
A BU hockey legacy, Brady Tkachuk said he just wanted to play the best he could throughout the year. At the beginning of the season when the pucks weren’t going in, he started feeling a little “rattled,” he said. But he felt better as the year went on.
“I definitely felt like there was really something to prove,” said Tkachuk. “My dad lost in the National Championship, and I wanted to one up him and win it.” Keith Tkachuk played at BU during the 1990–91 season. The team lost in the National Championship game to Northern Michigan in triple overtime, 8–7.
The beginning of the 2017–18 season was rough for BU. The team held a 7–10–1 record as of Dec. 8. By comparison, the team only lost 12 games throughout the entire 2016–2017 season. But something changed, and the team had a great deal of success during the second half of the season. By the end of the regular season, BU’s overall record improved to 17–13–4.
“I just think we were all playing in desperation,” said Tkachuk. “No one wanted the season to end. We’re a close team, and I thought we were playing with desperation, and we were playing for one another.”
Going into the Hockey East title game, the team believed they would win. “Everybody was doubting us, that we couldn’t do it,” said Tkachuk. “I think that was a big goal of ours, was to win Hockey East. [We] proved that our team was the team to beat come National Championship time.”
The season ended on March 25 with a 6–3 loss to Michigan during the NCAA tournament’s northeast regional final.
On April 15, the team announced its new leadership for the 2018–19 season. Bobo Carpenter and Dante Fabbro were appointed as captains, with Jake Oettinger and Chad Krys as assistant captains.
“They’re a great group of guys for it, to lead by example both on and off the ice,” said Tkachuk.
When reflecting on goofy moments throughout the season, one consistent happening came to Tkachuk’s mind.
“I’ve gotten chirped by the end of the year. My helmet falls off a lot, and that’s pretty funny moment, the guys think,” said Tkachuk. “I try to keep the boys laughing during the game with some chirps. I really kind of spice it up, too, to the specific person I’m chirping.”
Tkachuk finished his first season at BU with eight goals and 23 assists. He played in all 40 games, one of only five players to do so. He also led the team in assists and shots.
Now that the season is over, it’s time for Tkachuk to focus on the NHL draft, which will be held June 22–23 in Dallas. Many draft rankings predict Tkachuk will be the fourth overall pick, which is held by the Ottawa Senators.
The cut off each year for the NHL draft is Sept. 15, and players must be at least 18 years old. Tkachuk, whose birthday is on Sept. 16, missed the cut off for the 2017 NHL draft by one day, making this summer an important one for his career. He plans to use the time as a chance to improve.
“It’s definitely a very big summer,” said the 6-foot-3, 196-pound forward. “It’s an opportunity to get a lot bigger, definitely stronger.”
And Tkachuk’s expectations for the draft are simple.
“What happens, happens,” he said. “At the end of the day, you can’t control any of it, so I’m just going to try to live in the moment all the way through draft day. Whatever team drafts me, it’s going to be an awesome experience, and I can’t wait for it.”
If Tkachuk is asked to join an NHL team this coming season, he will do so.
“I’d love to be on an NHL roster come October, if I’m ready,” said Tkachuk. “If I’m not ready, I’d love coming back to BU and have another year to develop.”