Skating Up To Boston
By Jackie Hart
Special to GoHolyCross.com
During the summer months, most Holy Cross students are spread across the country working, interning and conducting research in anticipation for their return to the Hill in September. In addition, student-athletes use the summer as an opportunity to train for their upcoming season, like senior assistant captain of the men’s ice hockey team T.J. Moore, who has been spending much of his summer working out and skating back in his hometown of Edina, Minn. This past week, Moore took a break from his usual routine to fly east for a special opportunity to attend the 2017 Boston Bruins Development Camp, a camp hosted by the organization for NHL prospects for four days in Boston.
With Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, general manager Don Sweeney and President Cam Neely watching over practice, along with packed stands of fans at the Warrior Ice Arena, the atmosphere was surreal as Moore experienced what life as a Bruin is like. Going head-to-head with the Bruins' six 2017 draft picks put him directly on the ice with some of the best talent in the world.
With 21 of the 29 athletes in the camp already part of the Bruins organization, Moore was just one of eight athletes to receive an outside invitation to the camp. “I felt very lucky to be chosen,” said Moore. “I knew it would be an amazing opportunity so I was really excited to receive the invitation.”
Moore said it was eye-opening to practice with one of the league’s top teams. “They work at a different level, with a great work ethic,” said Moore. “These are things that make them one of the best at what they do which was a great learning opportunity for me.”
Moore had some great competition and teammates to play with each day, including 2017 first round pick Urho Vaakanainen. One special player for Moore to compete with was Anders Bjork, a 2014 draft pick and 2017 Hobey Baker Award finalist, who recently signed a three-year contract with the Bruins. Prior to his professional career, Bjork was a star at Notre Dame, where Moore and the rest of the Holy Cross hockey team played the No. 12 nationally-ranked Fighting Irish in November. Moore and Bjork each posted a goal during that game and each carried their goal-scoring talents to the ice in Boston this past week. “Anders is an incredible player,” said Moore. “We played against him at Notre Dame and playing with him in Boston was great. He’s going to do great things in the NHL, so that’s why it’s an amazing opportunity to be invited to this camp, to have exposure to a player of that level."
In addition to on ice training, the athletes spent some time exploring the city as well. First, the prospects participated in a day of community service, spending time around the city giving clinics, playing sports with kids and reading in libraries. They competed in an Escape Room Adventure, where Moore was on the winning side. They also enjoyed the Tim McGraw and Faith Hill concert at the TD Garden, which could be the future home ice for many of them.
Even though the camp was exhausting, with repeat sprints, 1v1 drills and multiple scrimmages, Moore is grateful for the incredible experience he had and the lessons he can take away. “There is a huge amount of respect within the Bruins organization for hard work,” said Moore. “Being able to get an inside look at the organization and what they stand for is something I will certainly take with me from this camp.”
When he returns to Holy Cross for his senior year, he plans on using his experience in Boston to help his team prepare back in Worcester. “There’s so much I can’t wait to take back to the team, things I know we can all benefit from and grow as a whole program,” said Moore. “The way they approach the game everyday is inspiring, their attitude about hockey is exactly what an individual player and team need for success.”
Moore is expected to have a strong senior year, as last year he scored 13 goals and delivered 13 assists for 26 points. He started off the season becoming the first Crusader to score two consecutive hat tricks and also became the first to record three career hat tricks. Additionally, he garnered many accolades such as NCAA First Star of the Week, Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week and was on the Hobey Baker Award Fan Ballot. With so much success this past season, it is no surprise he was chosen for the camp.
With this amazing experience at the camp, Moore is looking forward to returning to his team and making his last season in a Crusader uniform end in an Atlantic Hockey championship.
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