The captain of the victorious Boston College Eagles hockey team walked through a vacant school parking lot Sunday afternoon, trophy in hand and a broad smile on his face.
“It’s definitely great to be home,’’ said captain Tommy Cross, 22, a senior defenseman.
The team, which defeated Ferris State University, 4-1, Saturday night in the NCAA Division 1 championship game in Tampa, returned to Boston Sunday. With BC students away on Easter break, the team came home to a quiet campus. The celebration will come later. Sunday, the Eagles planned to relax.
“We’re just happy to be here,’’ added Patrick Brown, 19, a sophomore center. “We know the school is on break,’’ he said. “But we’re all pretty tired from the travel. I think a bunch of us are going to go nap.’’
Despite the lack of fanfare, the Eagles’ spirits were still soaring.
“It feels terrific,’’ said coach Jerry York, referencing the team’s newest addition to its trophy case. BC’s men’s hockey team has won the title three times in five years, and finished the season with a 19-game win streak.
“We talked yesterday about the pride of the game,’’ he said. “One shift at a time. That was our thought process.’’
“It’s a pretty amazing feeling. It’s so hard to explain. It’s all feeling pretty surreal still,’’ said Isaac MacLeod, 20, a sophomore defenseman. He said a few members of the team were going home for Easter, but a good number of players intended to stick around and get together later Sunday.
The team’s celebration will officially begin when Boston College classes resume on Tuesday. The school is expected to host a parade and celebration for the team Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. Following tradition, they will also take a team photo on Monday with the NCAA Frozen Four logo on the ice.
Asked whether they planned a trip to the White House, York said, “No question.’’ The Eagles visited the White House after their last national championship, in 2010. York also said that the team plans to attend a Bruins playoff game, a Red Sox game, and a Celtics game, and meet the teams. “It’ll be quite the tour,’’ York said.
But Sunday, the players planned to relax and savor their win. Some went home to spend Easter with family, while others who live in the neighborhood or dorms retired to unwind.
Kevin Hayes, 19, a sophomore forward from Dorchester, was headed to his campus dorm to do just that. Still jubilant about the team’s triumph, he said, “This is unbelievable to win a championship with these guys. It’s an incredible feeling.’’
Hayes and other teammates said Ferris State put up a valiant fight.
“Ferris State was a lot better than I expected,’’ said MacLeod. “They gave us a good test. They were very fast, and a great team.’’
“We were very aggressive,’’ said York. “I thought we played very, very hard.’’
The Eagles have amassed an impressive collection of trophies this season. The team claimed the Beanpot and the Hockey East regular season and tournament titles before adding the most important trophy of all, the NCAA Frozen Four championship, to the list.
The team is already looking forward to next season.
“We have a saying,’’ said York. “‘When you win a national title, the season never ends.’’’