SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – Two All-Americans took the next step Tuesday signing professional contracts in the wake of winning a national championship.
Union captain Mat Bodie signed with the New York Rangers, and Hobey Baker Award nominee Shayne Gostisbehere signed with the Philadelphia Flyers.
“I’m just thrilled to be able to tell my folks that I’m going to be a pro hockey player one day,” Bodie said. “You’ve been dreaming that your whole life, and it’s gonna come true in the near future.”
Gostisbehere said he always wanted to be a professional hockey player.
“When you’re little people always ask what you want to do, and of course, they thought I was joking when I said I wanted to be a professional hockey player,” he said. “Of course, people don’t think it’s a realistic goal at the time, but with me, I always thought I had a chance.”
Junior defenseman Gostisbehere recorded five points in the Frozen Four and a Plus 7 rating in Union’s championship win.
“People would think I’m leaving because there’s nothing left to prove, but that’s not it at all,” he said. “I sat down with my family after, and it came down to where my development would be and what I would have to do to get better at the next level, and right now is just the right time.”
Gostisbehere will play for the Phantoms Friday. Bodie chose not to play the final two games for the Rangers AHL affiliate.
“Really happy that I’m staying here and finishing my degree. That was really important to me,” Bodie said. “The next step would be development camp in the summer.”
Bodie said he thinks he can make a difference right away.
“They said they don’t really have a lot of guys that play like me,” he said. “They don’t have too many offensive defensemen so that was an area I can maybe come in and contribute.”
While both players could put on some weight, head coach Rick Bennett has faith they’ll be successful at the next level.
“I don’t really see them not making it,” he said. “They definitely have the skills. They definitely have the hockey sense. Those are two of the smartest guys that have come through this program.”