It’s one thing to be a First Star in your league. It’s another to be the First Star for allof NCAA Division 1 hockey.
Both honors came to former Boston Junior Bruins NCDC forward Drew O’Connor on Nov. 19 of this year.
O’Connor plays for Dartmouth College and was an All-Ivy League Second Team selection as a freshman in 2018-19 after posting 17 goals and 26 points in 34 games. He climbed above the point per game pace early on in this season with 10 points through his first eight games.
“It’s definitely going well,” said O’Connor, a native of Chatham, N.J. “There are a lot of adjustments you have to make the first year, but I feel good this year. I knew what I had to do fully prepare for the season. I definitely feel confident.”
O’Connor came to the Junior Bruins at the dawn of the National Collegiate Development Conference, playing on the Junior Bruins’ first team in the Tier-2 Tuition-Free League.
O’Connor had committed to Dartmouth at the start of his 18U season in his native New Jersey in 2016. When he was looking for a junior team to sharpen his skills ahead of going to Dartmouth in the fall of 2018, he had heard good things about the team in Marlborough, Mass., where two other commits were playing. Dartmouth defensemen Harrison Markell and Sean Keohan got a chance to play with their future forward teammate throughout that 2017-18 season with the Junior Bruins.
“I really enjoyed my time with the Junior Bruins. I played for a really great coach in Mike Anderson. I liked how Mike gave me a lot of opportunities and helped me focus on my development,” added O’Connor. “I was only going to play one year of juniors, so I wanted to be in a place where I’d play a lot and really work on my game and the on-and off-ice training, and the Junior Bruins and the USPHL were a perfect fit. We had a lot of good players on that team. Playing with those guys in practice every day and competing in games against other good NCDC teams was great for me.”
The success of scoring 39 points in 49 games for the Junior Bruins carried right into college hockey. He scored three points in his first collegiate game on Oct. 27, 2018, earning him ECAC Hockey Rookie Of The Week honors before he was even into November of his rookie season.
“I did have a couple points that first game. It was good for my confidence, and I built off that for the rest of the year,” said O’Connor. “I definitely felt prepared going into my freshman year.”