EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

June 14, 2010

Merrimack's Da Costa opts for another year, telling NHL to wait

NORTH ANDOVER — Whew!

That pretty much sums up the feeling on the Merrimack College campus, particulary over at the Lawler Arena after an official announcement this weekend.

Stephane Da Costa, the country's top rated freshman hockey player and native of France, is returning to Merrimack for his sophomore season.

After leading the team with 45 points and ranking seventh in the nation with 1.32 points per game, his exodus to greater heights ... A K A the National Hockey League ... appeared to be a foregone conclusion.

After winning every rookie-of-the-year award college hockey had to offer, and being a finalist for Hockey East Player of the Year as a freshman, Da Costa had several NHL offers that needed only his signature.

But just as he turned heads with his electric season last year, including five goals in his first home game, he surprised again when he told The Eagle-Tribune his plans for next season.

"I'm coming back," said Da Costa. "I always thought that I was coming back to Merrimack. I wanted to get bigger and get stronger and a little more experienced on the ice. Team wise, I want to go to the TD Garden and win a championship."

As for NHL offers, they were there.

"I had a few," Da Costa said with a smile. "I had quite a few offers."

But unlike most collegiate players, who can't resist the temptation of a quick NHL payday, Da Costa says he wants to really be ready before he makes the jump to the greatest hockey league in the world, to ensure he sticks around rather than spend an inordinant amount of time in the minor leagues.

"I talked to a lot of people and a lot of people told me that it's never too late to go pro," he said. "Leaving too early to play in the NHL, sometimes you have only one or two chances. I want to be ready for that chance when it comes. I don't want to just rush it and not be ready."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports

Local Sports Videos
Sports Videos
McNabb: Two games is not acceptable for me Ortiz, Price Feud Is Upsetting To Children - @TheBuzzeronFOX MLB Trade Deadline Talk: Price, Stanton, Kemp Tony Romo will be a full-go for camp Teammate's Advice For Johnny Manziel & Josh Gordon - @TheBuzzeronFox Helfrich praises Mariota's commitment to improve Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent First impressions of Giants' new up-tempo offense Athletic Gaines: Where LeSean McCoy, Kenjon Barner, and more prepare for NFL season Jack White's Cub Face How Emmanuel Mudiay Ended Up in China Sterling says he's not trying to block Clippers sale Selig: MLB 'more popular today than ever' Eli, Giants learning new offense Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Longhorns Coach Disses Texas With Compliment - @TheBuzzeronFOX How Will Wiggins Deal Impact Potential Love Trade? Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Dareus fails conditioning test, Watkins lifts spirits
Boston Sports
McNabb: Two games is not acceptable for me Ortiz, Price Feud Is Upsetting To Children - @TheBuzzeronFOX MLB Trade Deadline Talk: Price, Stanton, Kemp Tony Romo will be a full-go for camp Teammate's Advice For Johnny Manziel & Josh Gordon - @TheBuzzeronFox Helfrich praises Mariota's commitment to improve Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child Who will Brady turn to if Gronk can’t stay healthy? Gronkowski cleared to participate in Patriots training camp Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent First impressions of Giants' new up-tempo offense Athletic Gaines: Where LeSean McCoy, Kenjon Barner, and more prepare for NFL season Shaughnessy: Dont count out the Sox just yet Blakely: Projecting the Celtics roster Daopolous: How will NFL cracking down on Defensive holding affect games? Jack White's Cub Face How Emmanuel Mudiay Ended Up in China Sterling says he's not trying to block Clippers sale Selig: MLB 'more popular today than ever' Eli, Giants learning new offense