Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey teams “York Hill Boys” channel General MacArthur, “I came through and I shall return”

Matt Mugno

In 1942, General Douglas Macarthur waded ashore upon landing on Leyte Island. The Japanese patrol threatened the American defense, and President Roosevelt ordered Macarthur to escape the Philippines. He famously stated, “I shall return.”

When he did in October 1944, he walked off the boat with his troops, megaphone in hand, and stated, “I returned.”  

The York Hill Boys channeled the same energy in their return to Hamden, Connecticut. Following the 2023 title campaign, uncertainty was in the air if the triad would sojourn.  

On April 14, Sam Lipkin announced his return which was arguably the most important move in the program’s history.

  1. If Lipkin left, Jacob Quillan and Collin Graf were likely to depart. 
  2. Set a major precedent for future talent to stay in the program which promotes student longevity. 
  3. Helps the school, you keep a top collegiate athlete that wants to play for more than one year AND graduate college. This isn’t a National Hockey League farm system, it’s another step toward becoming a more prestigious institution. 

Recruits are crawling around the M&T Bank Arena. Walk into the building and you are bound to see a one-on-one tour conducted by a Bobcat, a recruit, and family in tow.

Collin Graf announced his return and Jacob “The Jet” Quillan did so hours later on Tuesday, April. 18.

Despite the Bobcats lifting their championship drought, the “Hex of Hamden,” the hockey world continues to neglect the capabilities of the line. 

Where does the name come from? Well, they play on York Hill, and they are the most dominant line in Bobcat’s history.

Yes, Matthew Knies is now a top-six forward in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He didn’t score a goal in the National Championship. Neither did his “Three of a Kind Line” counterparts Jimmy Snuggerud and Logan Cooley. 

A lot of that can be attested to the Bobcats’ team defense and goaltending. Minnesota was no slouch either. Brock Faber, Ryan Johnson, Jackson LaCombe, and Mike Koster were no strangers to shutting things down in their own zone. 

They may not be second overall NHL draft talent like Adam Fantilli, but they were the best line in college hockey last year. The ring talks. 

The Bobcats lost their entire dual-threat shutdown and offensive line of Desi Burgart, Ethan de Jong, and Skyler Brind’Armour. 

That’s six of twelve forwards returning, and six of twelve leaving. Six of those forwards comprise the “first” line and “fourth” line. 

What remains is “The York Hill Boys“ and the wonderful twin duo of Christophe Telllier and Christophe Fillion, also known as “The Sherbrooke Boys.”

How would the coaching staff be able to replace eight or nine of twelve forwards? That would decimate the legacy of the 2023 National Title. 

This line helped change the course of recruit interest in Rand Pecknold’s program, players of this talent level and potentially a higher ceiling will be arriving as soon as next season. 

It is now the York Hill Boys’ turn to take the reins and lead the way; Graf looks to do so with an “A” stitched to his jersey. How many players in the NCAA can say, “I play with the guy who scored the championship-winning goal,” or better yet, “The guy who made the pass now passes to me.” 

The York Hill Boys, the King Ghidorah of college hockey, look to terrorize their opponents for another season and make a run at a repeat title at the 2024 Frozen Four in St. Paul Minnesota. 

In simpler terms, “They returned.”