Sports

BU hockey roster takes another hit

A.J. Greer celebrated his goal against Union last season.
Globe Staff/File 2015
A.J. Greer celebrated his goal against Union last season.

As questions swirl around the program, the Boston University men’s hockey team has been further depleted by the loss of another scholarship player. Sophomore forward A.J. Greer, a National Hockey League prospect, left the school last Friday and returned to his native Quebec to play hockey.

BU confirmed Greer’s departure Tuesday, a day after the school announced junior forward Nick Roberto has been suspended for the 2015-16 season amid a gambling allegation.

Multiple sources have told the Globe that other BU players last season were betting on sports contests other than professional or college hockey. But Greer’s departure was said not to be connected to the gambling allegations.

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The Avalanche selected Greer 39th overall in this year’s NHL draft, and he seemed eager to follow his former BU teammate, 19-year-old Sabres rookie phenom Jack Eichel, to the professional game.

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Yet Greer, 19, ranks considerably behind Eichel in his growth as a player. He struggled scoring at BU and elected to play for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Greer’s decision came after BU coach David Quinn, a former assistant coach for the Avalanche, expressed concerns about Greer’s game to the Colorado staff.

“Unfortunately, A.J. felt that jumping to the QMJHL would be better for his development,’’ Quinn said. “After we finished up the first semester last week, I let Colorado know that it wasn’t working with A.J. because he couldn’t accept his role and that he had to change if he was going to come back for the second semester.’’

Greer chose playing in the 20-and-under league in Quebec to the top collegiate competition in America.

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“It was an amicable departure,’’ Quinn said. “He’s a young player with a lot of hockey ahead of him and we we wish him well.”

Greer had excelled at Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire, where Roberto also prepped, their careers there overlapping by a year.

Another BU player, junior defenseman Doyle Somerby, of Marblehead, also attended Kimball Union before joining the Terriers.

But Greer often struggled at BU, finding himself at times playing on the team’s third forward line. He scored only one goal on 37 shots through 18 games this season and logged just four assists.

As a freshman last year, Greer began as the youngest forward in college hockey at age 17, according to BU. In 37 games, he managed only three goals and four assists.

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The loss of Greer and Roberto leaves BU with less manpower than Quinn anticipated. The Terriers reached the NCAA championship last season, losing to Providence, 4-3, and were ranked second in the country entering the 2015-16 season in a USA Today/USA Hockey poll.

As the defending Hockey East champions, the Terriers currently are ranked 11th in the nation, at 9-6-3 overall, with their next game scheduled for Jan. 7 at Harvard.

Quinn is expected to make up for Greer’s departure and Roberto’s suspension by enrolling one or two new forwards over the semester break.

Walter V. Robinson and Fluto Shinzawa of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Bob Hohler can be reached at robert.hohler@globe.com.

Correction: The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is an amateur league. Its level was incorrect in an earlier version of this story.