Senior defender JC Brancaccio is one of the few remaining Blue Hens left from the national championship team three years ago. He managed to play in 33 games for the team that year. He has managed to continue his success throughout his career and amassed 100 games before his senior year.
He has played hockey ever since he can remember. “I started skating when I was three and I began playing hockey when I was five.” He has an uncle who also played hockey, and he became a Flyers fan at an early age.
He proudly showed off his Eric Lindros jersey, his favorite player growing up, when being interviewed. He also said that Bobby Orr was an influence on him growing up.
It was an easy decision for JC to come to University of Delaware, considering the university was practically in his backyard. “I grew up ten minutes down the road from here so I’m a home town kid I guess. I’ve always been around this school, because my parents went here. It seemed like an easy choice, since it’s so close to home.”
JC ended up finding early success with the Blue Hens during his freshman year. The team had been successful the last few years and was expecting to be competitive throughout the year. “It was kind of reiterated throughout the year,” said JC about their national titles chances. “We had won over 30 games and made the final four the year before. We were pretty confident we were going to be one of the last four teams.”
When I asked JC when he realized they were national championship material, he brought up the game they played against Penn State.“Early in the season they were #1 in the country and we were #2. We had a pretty big crowd at the Rust and we ended up pulling out a big win. We knew we were one of the best teams in the nation at that point, so that was a pretty defining moment.”
JC’s favorite moment was the ACHA tournament his freshman year. “I remember the first game we played was tough against Davenport. In our next game, against Ohio, we beat them in double overtime to get to the Final Four. That was a huge moment for us and we felt pretty confident we were going to win after that. We ended up winning Delaware’s first national championship. It was pretty awesome. I mean not too many people get the chance to say they won a national championship in college, but I got to do it when I was 18 years old. It was a great time, great to be around those guys. And something I’ll always remember.”
As his career has developed, he has seen his role on the team gradually increase. He scored 36 points for the Blue Hens in his last two years and has been a constant presence on the blue line.
He is now a senior leader on a young Blue Hens squad. He is the highest scoring senior on the team with 16 points, and has set the young forwards up for some big goals.
When I asked him if he thinks he needs to be a leader on the young team, he said, “Definitely. We knew coming in this year we lost a lot of seniors last year and that the returning guys were going to have to step up big. Even though we only have a few seniors, the young guys have really stepped up pretty big.”
The Blue Hens will face Liberty University at home this weekend. The schedule for this weekend is below:
Friday 1/30: Liberty @ 9:15
Saturday 1/31: Liberty @ 5:15
By: Tyler Fitzpatrick