Hinostroza signs professional contract with NHL’s Blackhawks
Alex Carson | Monday, March 23, 2015
Notre Dame sophomore center Vince Hinostroza agreed to terms with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks on a three-year contract Saturday, terminating his college eligibility.
Hinostroza — who tallied 78 points in 74 career games with the Irish — was a sixth-round draft pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
The Bartlett, Illinois, native led Notre Dame with 44 points this season and was named to the All-Hockey East First Team alongside teammate senior defenseman Robbie Russo.
Irish head coach Jeff Jackson said he was upset to learn Hinostroza was leaving after his sophomore season as it jeopardizes his ability to graduate.
“It’s a year too early, in my opinion,” Jackson said. “You certainly like to see every player be in a position to earn their diploma from the University of Notre Dame, and this will probably make that an impossibility leaving this early. That’s my biggest disappointment.”
Despite the disappointment, Jackson indicated that the move was far from a blind-side hit to his program.
“I had been given some insights from the Blackhawks mid-season that it was a possibility of this happening,” he said.
And while a sophomore signing a professional contract does not happen as often, Jackson said college programs are becoming more and more used to players leaving early.
“In college hockey, we’ve gotten used to the fact that NHL teams are probably gonna sign kids after their junior year more consistently because they only have a certain window in which to offer them a contract,” Jackson said.
He indicated that the Blackhawks’ loss of the rights to Kevin Hayes — a former Boston College standout who signed with the New York Rangers after the Blackhawks’ rights to him expired over the summer — might have had an impact on the Hinostroza signing.
“With the Blackhawks getting burned with Kevin Hayes last summer, I’m sure that magnified the issue,” Jackson said.
Contextualizing the move within the confines of his program, Jackson said losing Hinostroza would be a hit but that he thinks his program should still be well-off moving forward.
“It’s a loss. Anytime you lose one of your top scorers and best players, it’s always a loss,” Jackson said. “… We’ve got good players coming in next year along with returning guys so this is going to probably create a situation where we bring in one other player that we might not have brought in had Vinnie been here. … I’m sure we’ll be fine.”
“I’m happy for Vinnie. It’s an opportunity for him to pursue his dreams. … But it’s unfortunate that it has to happen at this point in time.”