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September 29, 2023

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After leaving BG, Unice still happy to be in OHL

Love him or hate him, there’s no denying the accomplishments.

Many in the Falcon hockey world took great offense with Josh Unice when he left BG just two weeks before the 2007 fall semester began.

‘I’m really committed to BG. I wanted to go to a team I could help as a freshman,’ Unice told the Toledo Blade in June 2007.

But a month later, he changed his mind and signed with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, meaning he was no longer eligible to play college hockey.

Unice, a Toledo native, went on to a stellar first season with the Rangers, leading them to an OHL Championship with a 30-6-3 record, 2.45 goals against average and a .908 save percentage.

But looking back a year later, does Unice feel any regret about backing out of his college commitment so late in the summer?

‘Sometimes,’ Unice said. ‘A lot of my friends go to BG and it would have been nice to be with them, but I won the Ontario League Championship this year so ‘hellip;’

Unice, 19, said juniors has given him experience of what professional hockey is really like, compared to the twice-a-week game schedule he would have had in college.

‘The college schedule is kind of short, and you can’t buy game experience as a goalie. I played a ton of games last year, and you can’t beat that,’ Unice said.

In addition to hockey, the 2007 third-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks is taking general education courses at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, located 10 minutes from Kitchener’s ice arena.

In an odd coincidence, BG will open its season with an exhibition game against Wilfred Laurier on Oct. 4.

‘School’s really important to my mom, so I’m still taking classes up here,’ Unice said, adding that he has not really kept in touch with any BG hockey players because he’s been so busy with hockey and schoolwork in Canada.

He will head to Chicago’s training camp on Sept. 18, where he stands as one of the Blackhawks’ top goaltending prospects, according to Hockey’s Future, an Internet prospects news service.

His former team was forced to recover quickly last August when Unice abruptly departed, and brought on Nick Eno to split time with Jimmy Spratt in net.

Eno played in 23 games for BG as a freshman, posting a 2.79 goals against average and a .905 save percentage.

BG coach Scott Paluch said he doesn’t think the Falcons experienced any lingering effects of losing Unice in 2007-08, nor will they this season.

‘We moved on from that a year ago with the recruitment of Nick Eno,’ Paluch said. ‘There’s always committed players in college hockey who leave early, and that’s an unfortunate part of what we do, but for us we’ve clearly moved on.’

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