Nick Breed of Cape Elizabeth completed a big jump Thursday when he became the only walk-on to make the hockey team at Division I power Boston University.

Breed, who graduated from Cape Elizabeth High last June, was the only one of the 10 freshmen named to the 26-player squad to come from a public high school. The rest of the newcomers come from junior hockey or prep school.

Breed is in some very fast company.

The newest Terriers include five players who were selected in last June’s NHL draft, and three of them helped Team USA capture its fourth consecutive gold medal at the U-18 world championships.

“The team is filled with the best kids around the country so it’s an honor to be on this team,” Breed said. “A dream of mine my whole life is to play (in) Hockey East. It means the world to me.”

After Breed was accepted at BU last spring, he got Cape Elizabeth Coach Bill LeBlond, who played four seasons at BU, to introduce him to Coach Jack Parker last May.

Breed wasn’t given much encouragement.

“(Parker) told him he had some good news and he had some bad news,” LeBlond said.

“The good news was that he was going to give Nick a look, and then the bad news was that he probably wouldn’t make (the team).”

Parker, who is in his 40th year as coach of the Terriers, was unavailable for comment Friday. During his tenure, BU has won all five of its national championships.

Breed said he used Parker’s words as motivation.

“I think that meeting was in May,” he said. “It gave me the whole summer to think about it and I worked really hard. It was a brutal summer but it definitely paid off.”

Breed, who added 15 pounds to his 5-foot-11 frame to increase his weight to 175 pounds, worked on his stick skills, lifted weights and skated whenever he could find ice.

“I tried to put in as much time as I could to try and give myself the best chance to make the team,” he said.

LeBlond said he wasn’t surprised Breed made the cut at BU.

“Even when Nick was a freshman (in high school) and I first saw him play, he had such drive,” the Cape coach said.

“He’s been through a lot, but he’s grown and learned from stuff. He’s now so focused on this and it’s great. I was in tears because I was so happy for him. I know how much he put it into it and I’m so thrilled he was rewarded.”

Breed is the first hockey player to make the jump directly from his high school team to the BU varsity since Don Spang, who is from Winchester, Mass., did it in 2002.

He also is the first player from Maine to make the squad since John Laliberte, who is from Saco, joined the Terriers in 2002 after playing three seasons for the Manchester Junior Monarchs.

Both Spang and Laliberte are playing professional hockey in Europe.

But Breed is not the first player from Cape Elizabeth to play for BU. Doug Friedman played four seasons for the Terriers, serving as team captain in 1993-94.

Breed isn’t satisfied just to make the team.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s only just begun,” he said. “I really have to start doing everything I can to put myself in the best situation to help the team and just try to make myself the best hockey player I can.”

Breed said his biggest improvement will come through broadening his hockey knowledge.

“Guys as this level have tons of hockey knowledge,” he said. “While I think I have pretty good hockey knowledge, you can always be smarter. There are little things that guys at this level know how to do, and I want to just learn from the guys on the team, and there’s a lot to learn.”

Earlier this month, a task force commissioned by the BU president, Robert A. Brown, issued a report recommending changes in the hockey culture at the school after two players were accused of sexual assault in separate incidents during the 2011-12 academic year.

No one at the school would comment on that report.

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH


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