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Making the Team

Jake Moscatel: road to BU men’s hockey team long and rocky

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More than half of the players on the BU men’s hockey team are Massachusetts natives, and nearly all of those 14 athletes grew up hoping to play for the Terriers. But for Jake Moscatel, making the team is truly a dream come true.

Moscatel (CAS’14), who grew up in Lexington, is a third-generation Terrier. His grandfather, Anthony Moscatello, was the former director of BU Photo Services, and his father, Jim Moscatel, Sr. (SMG’79), instilled a passion for BU hockey into his children at an early age.

“I’ve been taking Jake to hockey games since before he can remember,” says his father. “When he got older and started to play hockey, I got the impression that he never wanted to do anything other than play for BU.”

As Moscatel grew into a 6-foot, 200-pound frame and became captain of his high school hockey team at the Belmont Hill School, several schools approached him with scholarships.

“I would go see head coach Jack Parker a lot while I was in high school to ask for a tryout,” Moscatel recalls. “Eventually I came to realize that it was just a numbers thing. With so many incoming freshmen in my freshman year, Parker told me I should take a year off and play in the Junior Hockey League so that I could apply the next year.”

Maybe. As it turned out, Moscatel spent a year with the Boston Junior Bruins, then learned that he didn’t have the grades to get into BU. He enrolled at the University of New England, where things looked good (he thrived as one of the best players on a Division III hockey team) and then bad (a hip injury threatened to end his hockey career). He used his time off the ice to shore up his grades, then transferred to BU at the start of the 2011 spring semester.

He was playing for the BU club hockey team when a vacancy opened up on the varsity team practice squad. During history class, he mentioned to Chris Connolly (MET’12), then team captain, that he was available if the team needed practice players. Connolly spoke to Parker (SMG’68, Hon.’97), who gave Moscatel a shot at making the team.

“A lot of the guys had played with Moscy in Junior Hockey and prep school leagues,” says Pat MacGregor (CGS’12, COM’14). “We knew he was by far one of the best players on the club team, but what really impressed me was how he became one of the hardest workers right off the bat. Since the first day he stepped on the ice he’s done everything he could to improve and help our team.”

Jake Moscatel, Boston University, BU Terriers, men's ice hockey

Moscatel was one of two Terriers to earn the team’s Most Improved Player award last season. Photo by Steve McLaughlin

Despite the effort, by the end of the 2011–12 season Moscatel still didn’t have a guaranteed spot on the team, and Parker let him know that he might not be needed the next year.

“It was definitely a roller-coaster ride,” says Moscatel. “I just focused on the everyday grind and was never complacent.”

Moscatel’s focus impressed Parker, who put him on the 2012–2013 roster.

“When I was on the practice squad, I was kind of awed by everything,” Moscatel says. “Once I got on the team, I started to feel like I belonged, and then my attitude changed and I decided to do whatever it took to crack the lineup.”

On January 4, 2013, Moscatel saw his first game action in a 3-2 overtime victory over Rensselaer, and a couple of months later, he scored his first goal in a 4-2 win over Northeastern.

“It was so thrilling to see him out there achieving his dream,” his father says. “When he scored that first goal it was probably the most excited I’ve ever been at a sporting event.”

Moscatel was a major part of the Terriers third line for the rest of the season and was one of two Terriers to earn the team’s Most Improved Player award. Last March, when new head coach David Quinn (CAS’89) took over, Moscatel finally got a lock on a position he had coveted since childhood. “There was never a doubt in my mind that there was a roster spot for him,” says Quinn. “He contributed in key situations last year, and I knew we needed some senior leadership, so he’s become a really valuable member of our team.”

Nate Weitzer can be reached at nweitzer@bu.edu.

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