Bill Arnold is off to a hot start for Boston College as he continues to develop into one of the most dominant two-way forwards in college hockey.
Arnold, a junior, has three goals and five assists through his first seven games for the Eagles this season. Arnold has made a very steady progression in the offensive zone since his freshman year tallying 36 points as a sophomore following his 20-point freshman campaign.
The Needham, Mass native and Calgary Flames prospect has become a player that BC coach Jerry York can use and depend on in any situation. Arnold scored several big goals last season for BC. He scored the overtime game-winner in the Beanpot Tournament, then scored two goals, including the game-winner, to eliminate the University of Massachusetts in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs.
“Without any question Bill has become an extremely important player on our team, and he is becoming a player who can take over a game,” York said.
Growing up in the Boston area, Arnold has attended the Beanpot Tournament since he was a little kid. So scoring the game winner against Boston University last year was a very special feel for Arnold.
“Going to BC and being a part of the Beanpot is a dream come true, so scoring that goal is something I will never forget.” Arnold said.
Although Arnold enjoys scoring the important goals to help his team win, he also prides himself on being a strong, two-way hockey player. Growing up in Boston gave him the opportunity to watch Selke winner, Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron is someone Arnold has modeled his own play around.
“I like him because he is a master of all trades, and his two-way play is something that I have taken pride of putting into my own game,” Arnold said of Bergeron. “You can put him into any situation, and he will get the job done. That is something I strive to do in my game.”
Arnold’s two-way style of play is also something that his coach has noticed.
“Bill is a two-way player that plays a high-end, strong, physical game,” York said. “He is just an honest player that can both score and defend.”
Playing for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program the season before Arnold came to BC also helped him prepare for the college game. The U.S. National Development team plays a USHL and college schedule, so Arnold already had a good feel for the college game before arriving at BC. Arnold had 51 points in 64 games with the US team during the 2009-10 season.
“That year really helped development-wise because I was able to come in right away as a freshmen and feel comfortable with the pace,” Arnold said.
Playing with the U.S. NTDP team before BC also allowed him to play in the U-18 World Junior Championship tournament, but last season Arnold got to compete with some of the best junior-aged players around the world in the U-20 World Junior Championship. In six games with Team USA Arnold had three goals and three assists.
“It was an incredible honor to represent my country,” Arnold said. “Learning on a big stage like, that and learning from all the guys on your team is really helpful.”
BC has three national titles in the past five seasons, so there is always pressure on the Eagles to perform. Arnold wants to continue to improve to help BC not only push for a National Championship but also the Beanpot and Hockey East playoffs.
“It’s a failure at BC if we don’t win a National Championship,” Arnold said. “I want to contribute more than I did last season especially since we lost so many guys.”
“Guys are going to have to step up, and I am going to have to keep elevating my game to make sure we can have a successful season,” Arnold said. “It’s hard to replace guys like [Kreider] because they are really talented players. We don’t have another Chirs Kreider because he is just that dynamic of a player, but we have a lot of guys whose roles will expand this season.”
As a Flames prospect Arnold has had the opportunity to participate in a few of Calgary’s summer development camps. The camp is a little different than the college game, but often gives players a sense of what the professional style is about.
“You get to experience the pro style, and they treat it as a professional stage,” Arnold said. “The GM, coaches, and other staff members are at the camps, and the atmosphere allows you to get a taste of what it will be like down the road.”
With his continued development on Chestnut Hill, Bill Arnold could be on the verge of becoming one of the top players in college hockey.
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