In the span of one week, men’s ice hockey captain Jack Maclellan ’12 went from losing a disappointing first-round series in the ECAC playoffs – his final games in a Brown uniform – to realizing his dream of joining hockey’s premier professional league. Saturday night, Maclellan finalized a one-year deal with the National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators, a team he is familiar with after attending its Summer Development Camp last summer. Maclellan has joined the team and will practice with them for the remainder of the season.
“It’s pretty surreal. It didn’t sink in – it still hasn’t,” Maclellan said. “It’s a feeling I can’t explain. I’ve dreamt about it my entire life. For it to finally happen, it’s pretty special – it was probably the biggest moment in my life.”
Maclellan finished his final season as a Bear as the team leader in goals (15), assists (15) and overall points (30). The captain joined the 100-point club for his career during the season, with a final tally of 101, making him one of only 23 players in Brown hockey history to reach the century mark. Maclellan also earned First Team All-Ivy honors and is a nominee for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award for Ice Hockey.
Though the individual statistics and honors all belong to Maclellan, he said he feels he owes a great deal of his success to the Bruno hockey program.
“I owe everything to Brown and Brown hockey,” Maclellan said. “It was nothing short of amazing for me.”
“Before I came, I didn’t have any kind of professional interest – it’s generated over the last few seasons,” he added.
Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94 said he was unsurprised by Maclellan’s signing after yet another stellar season.
“Jack was a very high-end skilled college player and received a lot of interest after his junior year,” Whittet said. “He’s been our most complete and skilled player, proven by the points he was able to put up despite being a marked man by most defenses we played.”
But the transformation of Maclellan into a team standout and NHL prospect is all the more impressive considering his first-year campaign, during which he only notched six points.
“When I came into the head coaching job, I came in with an open mind, and Jack caught my eye from the drop of the puck,” Whittet said. “I had confidence in him because he was a player who could create on the offensive side – he allowed us to put up a lot of points and win games. …He did amazing things for our program.”
Maclellan will look to translate his offensive prowess at the collegiate level to the NHL, as he becomes the third Brown player in the last three seasons to sign an NHL contract. In 2010, Aaron Volpatti ’10 signed with the Vancouver Canucks and last year, Harry Zolnierczyk ’11 agreed to terms with the Philadelphia Flyers. Whittet pointed to these three players as a testament to the Brown program’s ability to “develop and showcase players.”
Though Maclellan has closed the book on a memorable Brown career, he said he is excited to take the next step in the development of his career.
“It’s already kind of a bittersweet feeling to know that those four years are over,” Maclellan said. “It’s the start of another chapter in my life. I’m currently in Phoenix with the team, and I’ll be practicing with the team for the rest of the season.”
The signings of Maclellan, assistant captain Bobby Farnham ’12 and goalie Mike Clemente ’12 with the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League and defenseman Jeff Buvinow ’12 with the Trenton Titans of the East Coast Hockey League represents the depth of talent moving from the Bruno class of 2012 on to the professional ranks.
“You don’t replace players of Jack’s ability. It’s going to take a team effort,” Whittet said. “We’ve laid a foundation and created a culture.”
And the head coach said he is now looking forward to seeing how the now-experienced underclassmen will be able to mesh with a talented incoming class of recruits.
“We’ve created that culture that looks to succeed,” Whittet said. “Now we need to implement it.”
For Maclellan, that culture helped earn him a spot in the NHL.