Starrett’s Hockey Career Reaches New Heights
Bellingham's Beau Starrett, who will turn 19 on Nov. 1, has a bright future ahead of him.
written by KEN HAMWEY, Bulletin Sports EditorJune was a special month for the town of Bellingham. First, the high school’s baseball and softball teams won State championships on June 14. Then, two weeks later, on June 28, native son Beau Starrett was selected on the third round (88th overall) by the Chicago Blackhawks at the National Hockey League draft in Philadelphia. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound center, who played at Catholic Memorial, became the first hockey player from Bellingham to be drafted into the professional ranks.
Starrett (pictured right), who attended Bellingham schools through Grade 7 before heading for Catholic Memorial, played youth baseball with many of the boys who guided Bellingham High to its first State crown in baseball. “I competed with Kevin Martinis, Brad Rebello and Ryan and Sean Postler,” Starrett said. “They’re good athletes who took the program to a higher level.”
That’s where Starrett hopes to take his game—to a higher level, with the pros after a collegiate career at Cornell.
Starrett, who skipped playing hockey at Catholic Memorial as a senior, competed for the South Shore Kings (Foxboro) in the United States Premier Hockey League last winter. The left-handed shooter scored 11 goals and had 36 assists for 47 points. He’ll play another year in the junior league before attending Cornell.
“My objective for the next year is to get bigger, stronger and quicker,” said Starrett who graduated in the top 10 percent of his class at Catholic Memorial. “I’ll also work on improving my shot. At Cornell, my hope is to be on a winning team, and I want to be the kind of center who can help other skaters be better. After college, I hope to sign a contract with Chicago.”
Starrett spent three days in Philadelphia for the draft at the Wells Fargo Center. The 18-year-old prospect previously had been interviewed by Chicago three times and had an inkling that the Blackhawks might be his future team. “When my name was called, it was so humbling,” Starrett said. “It still hasn’t sunk in. Chicago is an original six team, they won the Stanley Cup in 2013, and they always seem to be a team that’s up more than down. Their fans are also very passionate and loyal.”
The Blackhawks were fully tuned in to Starrett’s desire to play at Cornell and won’t offer him a contract until his collegiate days end. The team will retain his rights through his college career. “As an amateur, I’m not allowed to have an agent,” Starrett said, “but you can have a person guiding you as ‘a family advisor.’ Chicago never pressured me into signing early, and most of its draftees are college guys who’ll be returning to play for their schools.”
Starrett started playing hockey at the age of three, usually on Beaver Pond, which is within walking distance from his home. He later skated with the Tri Valley Indians locally and played mites, peewees and bantams in Foxboro. There’s no doubt that he comes from Bellingham’s premier hockey family. His brother Peter played at Harvard, Troy was a captain at Babson, and Shane will be skating next year at Boston University. All four brothers played at Catholic Memorial.
His parents, Anna and Peter, attended the draft and were delighted with their son’s selection. “We’re proud of Beau, but we’re also proud of all our sons,” they said. “There was some anxiety when the draft got to Beau’s projected spot. With Chicago coming up, we felt there was a good chance he could be taken. When he was chosen, we went silent. Then, when he walked to the podium, there was a rush of emotion.”
Both parents said they’ll be attending the “Red and White Game” in the future when Cornell faces Boston University at Madison Square Garden. “There’ll be 18,000 fans at that game, and we’ll be there to see Shane and Beau face each other,” Peter Starrett said.
Beau is a fan of former Bruin Joe Thornton, who now plays for the San Jose Sharks. Thornton is built like Starrett and employs a similar style. “He’s a good playmaker with great on-ice vision,” Starrett said. “He knows where his teammates are on the ice, he wins draws and he plays good defense. His stats show that he gets lots of assists.”
Starrett, who will major in business, chose Cornell because he liked the campus in Ithaca, liked the hockey facilities and the players and coaches. He also liked their style on the ice. “It’s an Ivy League school and education is very important,” he said. “Also, hockey is like a religion there and, when I visited the school, I could see myself playing there.”
At Catholic Memorial, Starrett played for legendary coach Bill Hanson, who has guided the Knights to a plethora of state titles. Unfortunately for Starrett, CM missed qualifying for the playoffs in his first two seasons, but when he was a junior, the Knights got to the state semifinals, where they lost to Malden Catholic. “Coach Hanson is old school, but he brings a modern aspect to the game,” Starrett said. “He demands focus and he wants your compete level to be high.”
Starrett, who possesses a high hockey IQ and an uncanny playmaking ability, admires his junior league coach, Scott Harlow. “He knows the game, being a former player at Boston College,” Starrett said. “He gets you to a high level and he keeps his foot on the gas.”
Harlow isn’t afraid to accentuate Starrett’s positives. “Beau’s upside is tremendous—Harlow explained when asked to describe Starrett’s style during the Kings’ season. “He has size, good hockey sense, and great hands and can really shoot the puck. He has great offensive ability.”
When Starrett was drafted, he walked to the podium, slipped on his Blackhawks’ jersey and shook hands with Chicago’s general manager, Stan Bowman; scout Mike Doneghey; and the director of scouting, Mark Kelly.
Here’s how Bowman sized up his third-round choice after selecting Starrett. “We like his size, his frame and his height,” the GM said. “He can skate, he’s got offensive skills and he’s got potential. His skill set is another plus. He’s got time to really progress.”
Starrett, who will turn 19 on Nov. 1, does have time on his side. He’s got a year left of junior league hockey and four seasons at Cornell. When he graduates, Chicago more than likely will be his next stop.
For Beau Starrett, the Windy City will have a warm feel.