Freshman defenseman Matthew Ferrari has decided to leave the Falcon hockey program, the Bowling Green athletics department announced this afternoon.
Ferrari and his dad informed Falcon coach Chris Bergeron of the decision during a meeting late Wednesday morning after practice.
“He’s been struggling with homesickness and just feeling overwhelmed and fitting in and those kinds of things. He’s a young guy,” Bergeron said.
Ferrari, who is from Woodbridge, Ontario in suburban Toronto, turns 18 Tuesday.
“It didn’t come as a total shock,” Bergeron said. “We’ve been having conversations with Matthew, basically since school started, about transitioning from home to college hockey, and junior hockey to college hockey, academically and socially.
“We felt it was getting better, and we felt when the games started, it was going to level off, and he was going to feel comfortable. Unfortunately, he didn’t give it much of a chance, and that never happened.”
Ferrari was expected to be a regular on defense. He skated a regular shift and played on the special teams during Saturday’s exhibition contest against the University of Toronto.
“We thought he was getting better every day, getting more used to the routine and the practices,” Bergeron said. “I didn’t think hockey was part of the issue.”
Ferrari is the second defenseman to leave the program since the middle of August. Nolan Valleau gave up his final three seasons of eligibility to sign with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.
Ferrari’s departure leaves BG with just seven defensemen — redshirt senior Dajon Mingo, senior Jose Delgadillo, junior Sean Walker; and sophomores Mark Friedman and Braden Pears; and freshmen Chris Pohlkamp and Connor McDonald.
Valleau also was expected to be one of BG’s best blueliners after having a solid freshman season.
Most teams carry at least eight or nine defensemen on their roster, with six playing in most games.
“That puts us in a tough spot on the back end, there’s do doubt about that,” Bergeron said. “But you’ve got seven guys who have all played one college hockey game this season, even if it was an exhibition.
“We’re going to have to rely on some people to show that they’ve played before. We’ll still do it by committee back there. We’re seven guys deep and the top six will play.”
The Falcons could bring in another defensemen for the second semester in January, whether the player is a recruit who has already committed to BG or a player they recruit during the first half of the season.
“Everything will be on the table to make sure we have the best team possible,” Bergeron said.
Ferrari came to BG from the Toronto Canadiens of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder had three goals and 14 assists in 44 games last season.