December 3, 2013

Sky's the limit for Kings' Starrett

By Bill Keefe

Beau Starrett, shown here playing for Catholic Memorial, is second on the South Shore Kings and tied for sixth in the league with 4-8-12 totals through 15 games. (Photo: Dave Arnold/New England Hockey Journal)

The youngest of four hockey-playing brothers, Beau Starrett can’t remember a time that he wasn’t around the sport.

He is now taking the steps to continue his hockey career for as long as he can, and so far the results are positive.

Starting back for his eighth-grade year, the Bellingham, Mass., native made the decision to attend longtime hockey powerhouse Catholic Memorial High School, commuting 70 miles round trip each day. After four successful years there, Starrett bypassed his senior hockey season to join the South Shore Kings of the United States Premier Hockey League.

Starrett, a 6-foot-5, 190-pound center, is garnering significant Division 1 attention and has caught the eye of NHL scouts. He was recently listed as a potential late-round pick in next June’s draft by the NHL Central Scouting Service, and NHL eyes are upon nearly all of his games now.

For all of his success to this point, Starrett is modest and even-keeled, and some of that goes back to playing street hockey with his brothers in the driveway that is painted with rink markings and sealcoated for a smooth game.

“We’re all pretty close,” Starrett said. “We like to keep each other on our toes. We’re not mean to each other, but we like to have fun with each other.”

Oldest brother Pete, 24, played defense at Harvard. Next is Troy, a senior forward and a captain at Babson this year. Shane, 19, is a Boston University-committed goalie who was traded in late October from Sioux Falls to Lincoln in the USHL.

This past summer, the four brothers played on the same team for the first time, sometimes with all four on the ice at the same time. “That was pretty fun,” Beau said.

“Pete didn’t start playing until he was 7; by that time we were young and just grew up playing hockey,” Shane said. “We always loved hockey, especially Beau. We all loved it, but every time he’s doing something outside of schoolwork, it’s hockey: watching the NHL Network; if it’s not that, he’s playing street hockey; if it’s not that, he’s playing NHL on PS3.”

Beau said, “Pete set the bar for us. His compete level is up there. He made us even want it more.”

When Pete was considering high schools, he ultimately decided on CM, and each brother followed him there. Pete and Troy played four seasons there, Shane left after his junior year for South Kent and now Beau will graduate from CM this year but is playing hockey for the Kings.

“It was tough making the decision,” Starrett said. “Hopefully, it pays off; I think it will.”

It already has, according to Kings coach Scott Harlow (East Bridgewater, Mass.). Initially, at the end of last season, Harlow had Starrett pegged for a spot on the Kings’ Under-18 team, not the Premier Division 20-and-under junior team. But through working out, trying out in the USHL and playing some tournaments, Starrett impressed at camp in July and played his way on to the junior team, Harlow said.

Centering the Kings’ top line, the unit was one of the most productive in the league 15 games in to help the club stake second place behind the Boston Junior Bruins. Linemate Nolan Vesey (North Reading, Mass.) was leading the team and the league with 9-8-17, Starrett was second on the team and tied for sixth in the league with 4-8-12, and Joe Lappin was third on the team and tied for ninth in the league with 9-2-11.

“Beau is among the top scorers and he’s been snakebit around the net,” Harlow said. “If he buried his chances, he’d be leading the league.

“He’s got unbelievable hands, great hockey sense, great vision — all the things you can’t teach, he has. He has to work on his defensive zone coverage and be more consistent with his compete level, but I see improvements every single day with him.”

Even at 6-foot-5, Starrett, who just turned 18 and recently committed to Cornell, is still growing. He said he grew two inches and added 18 pounds in the past year. In the end, Harlow sees Starrett at about 6-6 and 220 pounds.

“The sky is the limit with this kid,” Harlow said. “He’s still a little immature physically; the body is still growing into the mind and vice versa. When he puts it all together, he’s going to be a 6-6 kid that can handle the puck who’s not afraid to play physical.

“He reminds me a lot of (Boston College senior) Kevin Hayes (Dorchester, Mass.). Beau has to work more for his goals. Beau has grit; he can be nasty. He made a great move coming to this league and he’s going to prove to people he can handle playing with older kids.”

This article originally appeared in the November 2013 issue of New England Hockey Journal.