After turning down going pro, Jordan Harris wants more at Northeastern
While Northeastern University was navigating the ups and downs of trying to complete a college hockey season in the middle of a global pandemic, Huskies’ defenseman and Montreal Canadiens’ prospect Jordan Harris knew a difficult decision was looming.
Shortly before the Huskies’ season ended in the Hockey East playoffs with a 4-1 quarterfinal loss to the eventual national champion UMass Minutemen, the inevitable discussion came.
It was time for Harris to decide if he wanted to forgo his senior season at Northeastern to sign with the Canadiens who drafted him with the 71st pick in the 2018 Entry Draft, or return to campus for what is becoming a highly anticipated senior year.
“About a month before the season ended me, my advisors, general manager Marc Bergevin and Claude Julien—when he was the [head] coach at the time— had a meeting and they were like ‘we think Jordan is ready to take the next step and we’d like him to sign after the season,’” Harris told Hockey Buzz. “Obviously it was super exciting, but I wanted to finish the season before making any decisions.”
Once the dust settled on the Huskies season, Harris took his time to decide what his future would look like, making sure he looked at every angle of both options.
“I really sat down and thought about it. After the season ended when we lost to Amherst, we had dinner with my parents and advisors and just going over the pros and cons, the choices and what would happen going down both roads,” said Harris. “My parents were super supportive, my advisors were super supportive and I honestly went back and forth for two weeks.”
At the time Harris had to make a decision, the Canadiens were making it clear they were going to be in the thick of the playoff race until the very end. But the opportunity ahead with the Huskies, and a feeling of unfinished business ultimately sealed the deal for Harris, sending him back to Northeastern for his fourth and final year.
“Ultimately with our team and being able to graduate, get those four years and the great coaching staff we have, all that combined made it a great choice to come back and I’m really happy with the decision and excited to see what happens,” said Harris.
At the time, no one had any idea what was to come for the Canadiens in the next few months. But as the Canadiens continued to exceed expectations and eventually their Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Final, Harris and especially his mother couldn’t help but think what if?
“Seeing them make the cup final, you’re like ‘woah,’” said Harris. “Every game you thought about it, I watched most of the games. Honestly, my mom was like ‘you know Jordan, that could be you out there right now.’ Obviously I thought about that, but it was cool to see the guys I’ve been to camp with and the staff that I’ve met be able to go through that, that was really cool.”
Shortly after Harris’ decision came the announcement that Harris was named captain for the 2021-22 season after previously serving as the team’s assistant captain.
“It was one of the major reasons why I decided to come back,” said Harris. “That stuff is invaluable to be able to be in a leadership position like that and I think it will help me personally on and off the ice to be able to lead a great team that we have in the upcoming year and have great co-captains and coaching staff.”
Harris and the Huskies have found success in his three years on Huntington Avenue, winning a pair of Beanpot titles and a Hockey East championship in 2019. After getting a taste of the NCAA Tournament in 2019, and failing to get back since, Harris is hungry for more.
The Huskies were eliminated in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in 2019, losing to Cornell.
“I think the next step for the program and myself is getting into the [NCAA] Tournament and deep, making a run,” said Harris.
“We were able to make the tournament my freshman year, but that’s the next step in the program. I really want to do it, everyone at Northeastern really wants to take that next step where it’s Northeastern doesn’t just win the Beanpot, they vie for a national championship.”
The Huskies should have no issue contending for a national championship in the coming season. After losing Devon Levi to Team Canada and the World Junior Championship last year, followed by an injury, Levi failed to make an appearance for Northeastern last year.
His availability for the coming season makes a big difference.
Levi and fellow youngsters like Gunnarwolfe Fontaine, Ryan St. Louis and Sam Colangelo should help upperclassman like Harris, Jayden Struble and Aidan McDonough combine for a nice balance of younger and older student-athletes.
“We have a lot of playmakers, a lot of guys who can fly and make plays. I think it’s a really good mix of younger and older guys that we were fortunate to have my first year when we won Hockey East and Beanpot and I think we have a good group of guys that can all skate, make plays and a really good d-core,” said Harris.
“I’m really excited, super excited about our team.”