Blue Jackets say they didn’t push Milano to choose OHL over Boston College

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When word broke that Sonny Milano decided to continue his hockey career in the OHL rather than NCAA, the implications were pretty heavy that the Columbus Blue Jackets were nudging him in that direction. The organization once again denied such accusations about the franchise favoring Milano playing for the Plymouth Whalers instead of Boston College next season, as the Columbus Dispatch reports.

“We have a lot of respect for Boston College and their program, their ability to develop players,” Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said. “We have the same kind of respect for Plymouth and their ability to develop players … which is why we didn’t get involved in (Milano’s) decision. We left it up to the kid from the get-go.”

Boston College coach Jerry York’s comments fueled such speculation the most:

Earlier in August, Milano made some flattering statements about going the NCAA route:

Whatever might be true, it’s easy to see why Kekalainen doesn’t want to burn bridges with Boston College. The Dispatch notes that he’s known York for “many years.”

Regardless, the Blue Jackets GM acknowledged that the “situation has changed” with the 18-year-old as far as the team’s ability to sign him to an entry-level contract, although Kekalainen states that a deal is not yet on the table.