Ever since Jack Badini visited Harvard’s campus, he could picture himself donning a Crimson uniform and skating on the Bright-Landry Hockey Center ice.
Come October, Badini will have that opportunity. He’ll be part of a large recruiting class that will be tasked with offsetting the departure of one of the best senior classes in program history.
“Harvard was always my first choice. The track record the past few years and the winning culture,” Badini said. “The Coaching staff, Boston is great hockey town, and the academics. I’m really looking forward to getting on campus.”
Harvard is getting a player who has developed into one of the best offensive players in the United States Hockey League over the past two-plus seasons. He began his USHL career with the Lincoln Stars before being acquired by the Chicago Steel prior to this season.
Now in his final few games of junior hockey, the Old Greenwich, Conn., native has the opportunity to leave as a champion. The Steel are tied, 1-1, in their best-of-five series with the Sioux City Musketeers to decide the winner of the Clark Cup.
Badini has played a major role in his team’s post-season success. He leads the league in assists and points during the playoffs with nine and 15, respectively. His offensive production isn’t the only aspect of his game that is getting noticed. It’s the way he carries himself as a player on and off the ice that drew the attention of those around the club. He was named an alternate captain by his teammates late in the regular season.
“It was an honor. I want to lead by example. I’m not a big vocal leader. The fact my teammates see leadership in me is something I take a lot of pride in,” Badini said.
After scoring just six goals in his first 88 USHL games, Badini exploded for 28 during 59 regular season games before adding six so far in the post-season. His shot is something he’s spent a lot of time on over the course of the past year.
“I wanted to get more shots off with a quick release. You don’t have a lot of time and space in this league. The goalies are good. You have to get shots off quickly. I’ve been working on my shot a lot after practice,” said Badini.
Standing at 6-feet and weighing in at just over 200 pounds, Badini’s physical presence around the net and below the dots is an underrated part of his game. He has made a concerted effort to get to the net and score garbage goals on top of the goalmouth.
Badini, who centers a line with Maine recruit Eduards Tralmaks at left wing and Sacred Heart commit Marc Johnston on the right side, takes pride in playing a complete game.
“I’m a two-way center. I like to create offense, but I work just as hard on the defensive side. I use my skating and strength in both ends of the ice. I want to be hard to play against,” he said.
Despite growing up in New York Rangers territory, Badini has tried to model his game after Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron.
“He’s one of the best two-way centers in the game. He’s a great skater. He kills penalties and wins face-offs,” Badini said.
Badini was able to watch some of Harvard’s run to the Frozen Four this season, making him all the more eager to be part of something special in the future.
“They weren’t able to finish it off, but it’s exciting to go in there and hopefully help them take the next step,” said Badini.
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