DERRY — News that the winningest coach in college hockey history, Boston College’s Jerry York, was in the arena to watch you play would intimidate the most confident of hockey players.
So perhaps it was a blessing that former Pinkerton star Zach Sanford did not learn until after the February game that York had made the trip to scout the high-scoring forward while playing for the Middlesex Islanders of the Eastern Junior Hockey League.
“I had no idea he was there until after the game,” said Sanford. “When I did find out, I just thought, ‘Wow.’”
Whatever Sanford showed York and his assistants during their scouting trips, he apparently made quite an impression.
Sanford, the 2012 Eagle-Tribune MVP, last week committed to play his college hockey for defending national champion Boston College.
“It really is extremely exciting,” said Sanford.
“They are the best program in the country, and to be there is really an honor. I wasn’t really expecting it.”
Sanford becomes the second member of the 2012 Division 1 state champion Pinkerton hockey team set to join the Eagles. His former linemate and fellow Eagle-Tribune All-Star J.D. Dudek committed in August.
“We are both so excited to be playing together again,” said Sanford.
“I think it’s pretty cool. It shows how good a coach (Pinkerton head coach Casey) Kesselring is.”
Sanford is currently starring as a forward for the Islanders of the EJHL — New England’s top junior hockey league. After a slow start (5 goals in 32 games), he has caught fire, netting eight goals in the last seven games.
The Pinkerton High senior moved on to the Islanders after a tremendous three-year career for the Astros in which he scored 67 goals and was also an Eagle-Tribune All-Star in 2011.
The rangy 6-foot-4, 190-pounder will play another year of juniors before heading to Boston College for the 2014-15 season.