By Dan Gardella
It has been a long time since the Cotton brothers played on the same team. Outside of summer programs, Sacred Heart senior Jason Cotton tries to remember the last time him and his brother David, who is two years younger than Jason, suited up together.
“Growing up, we played roller hockey together and all of that stuff,” said Cotton. “But we both went to different colleges and played in different junior hockey programs. You don’t really don’t get to play together growing up with that age difference.”
Now, the two will get to play together at the highest level.
On Mar. 24, the Carolina Hurricanes announced the signing of the two brothers to the organization. David, who finished his collegiate career at Boston College, signed a two-year-entry level contact, while Jason inked a one-year deal.
Jason finished his senior year at Sacred Heart with 37 points, coming from 20 goals and 17 assists. He led the Pioneers in points and goals.
His standout season earned him the Atlantic Hockey League Player of the Year along with being named to the Hobey Baker finalist list. The Hobey Baker Award is given to the best player in all of Division I hockey.
David Cotton ended his college career at Boston College recording 39 points behind 15 goals and 24 assists to lead the Eagles to a 24-8-2 record this season.
Following an unexpected ending to his college hockey career, Cotton said the process towards signing a professional hockey contract began. During the season, it was not in his mind.
“During the season, I talked to my agent and I told him that I didn’t want to know about future plans during the year. I wanted to focus on Sacred Heart and playing the best I could for the team,” said Cotton. “When the year ended pretty abruptly, that’s when we started talking about possible options where I could go.”
Last week, the Hurricanes made it known to Cotton that they were interested in signing him along with his brother.
Signing a professional contract was one of the many goals that Cotton set out for himself this season. Among those goals were winning the Atlantic Hockey League Player of the Year and winning the Connecticut Ice Tournament.
Check, check, and check.
With Cotton signing his contract, he becomes the first player in Sacred Heart Hockey program history to sign an NHL contract. Though the ending was happy, Cotton recalls the trials and tribulations the program had to endure to get to this point.
“It’s been a process,” said Cotton. “I remember hearing alumni who played said those games against Yale and Quinnipiac were embarrassing. Now, we have come such a long way. For me, I’m honored to be the first, but I know there are many more that are going to follow.”
Now, Cotton tries to find ways to stay in shape and prepare for training camp for next year, which begins in September. While he admits it was a thrill to sign with the Hurricanes, he tries to keep things in perspective.
“As the days go on, you try to put it to the side and try to get back to work and do the things that got you there,” said Cotton. “There’s plenty of room for improvement and a long road ahead. I just want to focus on getting better and getting ready for training camp.”