Quiet and confident, Robbie Baillargeon brought ‘professionalism’ to ASU hockey

The graduate forward's prior experience showed on the ice in his one and only season as a Sun Devil

Graduate forward Robbie Baillargeon started his college career at the prestigious Boston University. Now, he finds himself finishing his final NCAA season at a hockey program with a lot less history to its name: ASU.

Baillargeon’s three years of experience at BU, a five-time NCAA National Championship-winning school, showed in his play at ASU this season when he tied sophomore forward Anthony Croston for the team lead in points with 21.

“He’s obviously been one of our top offensive players, that’s for sure,” junior forward Wade Murpy said. “He’s definitely built the tradition here. He’s a good locker room guy as well, he’s got a lot of experience at BU, playing a high level of hockey for a while now.”

But in that locker room, Baillargeon’s leadership might not be as outwardly vocal as others. Both Murphy and head coach Greg Powers said Baillargeon is quiet.

“I think his quietness kind of helps him,” Murphy said. “I think if you say something a lot, it gets old after a while. But when he says it, it’s like, ‘Listen up. He means it.’”

Murphy knows Baillargeon well: The two were roommates during the season and frequently played on the same line during games. They also faced one another in the 2015 NCAA Frozen Four Tournament while Baillargeon was at BU and Murphy played for North Dakota.

“He’s obviously a good roommate, kind of a quiet kid but we get along well,” Murphy said. “We’re the same age and both transferred over here, so we have a lot of stories.”

Baillargeon said his offensive success this season was thanks to his teammates like Murphy, as he scored nine goals with 12 assists. But according to Powers, Baillargeon stood out particularly during ASU's upset No. 11 Ohio State in a shootout.

“I’ll remember him for that game we had at Ohio State,” Powers said. “He didn’t score, he didn’t have a point, but he was hands-down the best player on the ice, because his competitive nature really came out, and he gave us a huge boost of energy in that game.”

But over the course of the whole season, it was fitting that Baillargeon found the back of the net nine times. He wears No. 9, and for good reason.

“My grandpa was No. 9. He played college hockey at St. Lawrence,” Baillargeon said. “He passed that on to my dad, and growing up, my dad was my coach so I always got to pick my number first. And my favorite player growing up, Mike Modano, was No. 9. So, nine just revolved around the family from my grandpa to my dad, and now me.”

Maybe one day Baillargeon might play in the NHL like Modano. He’s already a draft pick of the Ottawa Senators and has played in NHL arenas like Gila River Arena in Glendale, Madison Square Garden in New York and TD Garden in Boston. He also played in a 6,000-seat venue in Agganis Arena, home of BU hockey.

“Obviously Agganis Arena, BU’s home arena, is awesome,” Baillargeon said. “It’s really nice. I’ve played in the TD Garden over 10 times, Gila River, Madison Square Garden twice, those rinks are incredible to play in. Just unbelievable atmospheres. I tell everyone I think Madison Square Garden is probably my favorite arena to play in.”

At ASU, Baillargeon plays in the small and humble Oceanside Ice Arena.

“Honestly, I love Oceanside,” Baillargeon said. “The ice itself has been awesome, probably some of the best ice I’ve played on. And it just takes me back to old youth days and high school days where we played in rinks like this. It got packed like that and people were right on top of the glass. It’s small, so it gets loud. So it just brought back a lot of memories that are hard to get when you play in those $100 million rinks.”

At a smaller arena and a new hockey program, Baillargeon left his mark. Powers said Baillargeon’s calm, confident and competitive demeanor helped the team.

“He just brought a level of professionalism,” Powers said. “He’s always the first guy out and he stays late. He puts in extra work. I think when guys that are a little bit younger see the extra work that he puts in and how it pays off … that’s something they can take away learning from Robbie.”

Maybe the school left just as much of an impression on him as he did for the school. Baillargeon was asked what he’ll think of first when someone asks him — years down the road — where he played college hockey.

“It’s ASU. Without a doubt, ASU,” Baillargeon said. “It’d just be awesome to say ASU. No offense to BU or anything, three years there were incredible. But again, I finished my college career off at ASU. I had some amazing memories here.”

Reach the reporter at matthew.layman@asu.edu or follow @Mattjlayman on Twitter.

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