By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff
When former Terrier Charlie Coyle decided to leave Boston University in December to join the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Terrier coach Jack Parker was vocal in his disappointment in Coyle's decision.
Since then, however, Coyle has enjoyed plenty of success in Canada. Through 16 games with the Sea Dogs, Coyle has notched 24 points on 12 goals and 12 assists. In 16 games with BU this season, Coyle scored three goals and 11 assists. The Weymouth native totaled 40 points (10 goals, 30 assists) in his BU career and was the Hockey East Rookie of the Year for the 2010-11 season.
On Thursday, two months after Coyle's move to the QMJHL, the Weymouth native inked an three-year entry-level contract with the Minnesota Wild. Coyle will remain in Saint John through the end of the season.
When notified of Coyle's contract, Parker still seemed annoyed with Coyle.
"I haven’t kept up with him at all," Parker, a coach that keeps in touch with many of his former players, said. "I would presume he would be able to score easier in that league against 16- or 17-year-olds."
Back when the then-sophomore chose to leave BU, Parker called Coyle's move "a less than lateral move" and noted that "it would have been better for us and maybe better for him if he had decided to leave at the end of last season."
Coyle's point totals in the QMJHL, Parker said, are more indicative of the quality of play in the QMJHL as compared to the NCAA rather than as a reflection of Coyle's skill.
"The quality of play can be shown by somebody that you see come here and barely gets a point and then he goes up there and gets 20," Parker said Thursday. "It’s a lot easier and it’s not as good a competition. Charlie was an 18-year-old as a freshman and a 19-year-old here and playing 22-, 23-, 24- and sometimes 25-year-olds. Now he is a 19-year-old playing against 17-year-olds. There is no way that’s as good for him. But it looks better on his stat sheet."
Coyle did not leave BU for a mediocre team. The Sea Dogs are the reigning Canadian Hockey League Memorial Cup champions. This season, the Sea Dogs are making a run to repeat, as they are the top team in the QMJHL and are ranked No. 1 in the CHL overall. Their roster boasts three first-round NHL Draft picks in forwards Zack Phillips (MIN) and Jonathan Huberdeau (FLA) as well as defenseman Nathan Beaulieu (MTL) to complement Coyle, who was drafted 28th overall by the San Jose Sharks in the 2010 NHL Draft. Still, Parker denied that Coyle's success is due in part to the caliber of players on the team's roster.
"If you took his whole line [from BU] and move them up there, they would have the same results," Parker said. "If you took Alex Chiasson, you took [Matt] Nieto, you took Coyle and played them against 17-year-olds, they would be getting a million points too. Charlie Coyle was playing with real good players here."
Parker, an ardent believer in the benefits of college hockey over Canadian major junior hockey, said Coyle's results in Canada and subsequent contract do not sway his opinion on the major junior debate.
"Unless you’re real dumb or you don’t want to go to school at all and want nothing to do with school, or you're an 18 year-old phenom that is going to be in the NHL at 19, college hockey is the way to go," Parker said.