Bruins Prospect Has Options With NCAA Ivy League Season In Question

( Photo Credit: WEEI Sports / weei.com )

By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

On Friday, July 10th, 2020, the uscho.com website staff wrote up an article about the cancelation of the Ivy League fall sports and how that decision could impact the start of the 2020-21 ECAC hockey regular season. Rumors have the Ivy League Winter sports schedules starting in January, even as far as March 0f 2021.

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With potential late starts of upcoming sports seasons in the NCAA, hockey players may be the most fortunate with options to play elsewhere. I wrote an article in late May of this year about former 2018 first-round selection John Beecher possibly defecting from the University of Michigan. Beecher’s Canadian Hockey League rights belong to the Ontario Hockey League Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and if the Wolverines start late, that could be a destination for the 6′-3″ 210-pound versatile forward.

Another Boston Bruins prospect drafted with Beecher in 2018 and currently playing in the NCAA may follow that same path to the CHL if the Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in the United States. This could also be an opportunity for the player below to join a developing club closer to where he grew up.

Curtis Hall

( Photo Credit: Nina Lindberg / Yale Athletics )

Yale University forward Curtis Hall ended his second year of NCAA hockey, taking a huge step in his development. Before the Covid-19 pandemic shut the remainder of the 2019-20 campaign down, the 6′-3″ 196-pound center notched 17-10-27 numbers in 28 games for the Bulldogs. A lot better than his freshman year numbers of 5-6-11, he got after spending two full seasons in the USHL with the Youngstown Phantoms, where he had career 20-32-53 totals in 113 games.

In another uscho.com article this time written by staff member Mark Divver, Hall explained how much of a transition it was going from a rookie in the NCAA to playing a different role in his sophomore campaign. He also talked about how listening to his coaches was never more important while accepting new challenges.

“The players I was with, there’s something to learn from all of them. There’s a lot of skill on that team, so I had to play a different role than I have been here this year at Yale. I learned a lot from the coaches, as well. Overall, it was a great experience,’’ he said.

“I’ve had a good year from a goal standpoint. With Joe Snively leaving last year, he was a big goal-scorer for us, so we needed to fill that spot. Everybody’s doing their best to do that. The goals – it’s hard to say why – but they’ve been going in,’’ said Hall.

In my opinion, besides the 2015 National Hockey League Entry Draft, the Boston Bruins have done a pretty good job stockpiling the prospect pool, and Hall’s addition to the organization fits important timelines concerning his arrival to professional hockey. Whether he rides his NCAA eligibility until he graduates from Yale or starts his pro career with the Bruins top minor-pro affiliate the Providence Bruins, the organization has faith in him no matter what. Again pulling from Divver’s USCHO article from above, AHL Bruins General Manager John Ferguson Jr. provided some insight of that mentioned faith in his quote below.

“Give credit to Curtis for wanting to make himself better and doing everything he needs to do to do that,’’ said John Ferguson Jr., Boston’s executive director of player personnel. “His attentiveness to details, to off-ice preparation, to a willingness to go hard to the dirty areas in straight lines and do something positive when he gets there, those are all great attributes.’’

Potential Ontario Hockey League Placement For Hall

Although the former fourth-round selection of the Boston Bruins chose to go the USHL route on his way to playing in the NCAA, he was also selected in the 10th round of the 2016 OHL Priority draft by the Flint Firebirds. With the growing Coronavirus concerns growing every day and the NCAA and ECAC protocols moving forward and delaying the upcoming season, he does have the option to seek to play elsewhere. Now assuming the Covid-19 numbers are declining in the state of Michigan, a move to the second American team in the CHL and closer to his birth state of Ohio could be an enticing thought.

When it comes to family influence, a move to the CHL may come with a little push back from family more notably by his father Mike Hall, who spent four seasons playing for the NCAA Bowling Green club from 1992-93 to the 1995-96 seasons. Father Mike was also born in Ontario, and I’m sure he’s well versed in what type of development the OHL is so, either way, the parental influence, and former player guidance will go a long way with the best interest of Curtis in mind. Father Mike played several seasons of minor pro hockey after leaving Bowling Green and even made a stop in Providence, Rhode Island, for 18 games contributing 3-5-8 numbers during the 2000-01 season.

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Before the pandemic canceled the remainder of the OHL season, the Firebirds were having their best campaign since joining the league in 2015-16 after taking over the defunct Plymouth Whalers franchise. After a 16-46-6 38 point season in 2018-19, Flint would go onto post a franchise record of 40-21-1-1 in 63 games played before Covid-19 ruined everything.

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Nobody really knows how the Firebirds are going to play next season. With 2020 draft hopeful Yevgeni Oksentyuk and Dallas Stars prospect Ty Dellandrea returning or not, it should be a decent year for a team seemingly on the uprise. Regardless of record, points, and league standings, this is still a sold place for Curtis to play if he, family, and Bruins organization see a solid fit for his development. I know this is pretty much a long-shot idea but with his rights belonging to OHL Flint, it’s certainly not out of the realm of exploring all options to keep his development going and on time like normal seasons instead of waiting for the next calendar year to get going and break start time consistency.

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