Petrecki leaving BC to turn pro

Clifton Park native Nick Petrecki’s dream of being a professional hockey player will come true at no
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Clifton Park native Nick Petrecki’s dream of being a professional hockey player will come true at noon today.

The Boston College sophomore defenseman will forgo the final two years of his college eligibility, and will sign a contract with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. The Sharks drafted Petrecki in the first round of the 2007 NHL draft. He was the 28th pick overall.

The contract is a three-year entry-level deal. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

The Eagles, the defending NCAA tournament champions, had their season ended by Boston University in last Friday’s Hockey East tourn­ament semifinals. They didn’t receive an at-large bid for the NCAAs.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Petrecki, 19, is thrilled to be turning pro. He believes he is ready for the next step in his hockey career.

“I feel, physically, I’m ready to develop the rest of my game, move on to the next level and be challenged a little more,” Petrecki said in a telephone interview Thursday. “I’ve been thinking that for the last couple of weeks here, and just feel it’s the right move, right now.

“In making a decision like this, you’ve got to take into account your personal goals. Ever since I put the skates on at age 3, I’ve always wanted to be a professional hockey player. This is the first step [today].”

Petrecki hopes he can make his pro debut next Friday with San Jose’s AHL affiliate, the Worcester Sharks. That first game would be in Glens Falls, when Worcester plays the Albany River Rats. That will depend if Petrecki is able to complete his classwork.

“I really don’t want to just give away my classes, right now,” Petrecki said. “I’ve been over a year and a half. I just don’t want to just go play five or six games just to give back what I’ve been working for to get these two years under my belt. It would be nice to play and get my feet wet there, and see what I’m dealing with for next year. But at the same time, I don’t want to jeopardize any of my grades.”

Petrecki had a memorable freshman season. He scored the first two goals of his collegiate career in the Beanpot tournament final Feb. 11, 2008, against Harvard. The second goal came at 7:07 of overtime, giving BC a 6-5 win over the Crimson, and Petrecki celebrated by sliding on the ice before being mobbed by his teammates.

Two months later, Petrecki and his teammates were celebrating an NCAA title when they beat Notre Dame, 4-1, in the Frozen Four championship game. It was the Eagles’ second title in seven years — they won the 2001 championship in Albany — and their third overall.

Winning the NCAA title will be Petrecki’s best memory.

“We thought we had a good team,” Petrecki said. “The run we made at the end of the year was just exceptional. The way everybody played, the way we came together over those last nine games to bring a title back to campus was very special. Everything that followed, going to the White House, going to the Red Sox game and going to the Bruins game, those are the relationships on that team that I will probably have for the rest of my life.”

Petrecki finishes his collegiate career with five goals and 14 assists, with 263 penalty minutes in 79 games.

“I’ve always played physical, and used my size to my advantage,” Petrecki said. “But I definitely want to develop other parts of my game at the next level because I can offer both an offensive-  and defensive-minded defenseman. I want to develop my whole game, and not just be decent in one area and very good in another area.”

A BC spokesman said coach Jerry York won’t comment until the signing becomes official. A call to the San Jose Sharks was not returned.

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