WILMINGTON, Mass. — Noel Acciari played a major role in Providence College’s run to an NCAA national championship last season as the Friars defeated Boston University 4-3 in the title game at TD Garden.

The 23-year-old forward set career highs with 15 goals and 17 assists for 32 points in 41 games, while also being named Hockey East’s Defensive Player of the Year.

After signing an entry-level contract with the Bruins in June, Acciari has an opportunity to make a positive impact with another Providence-based team: the AHL’s Providence Bruins. The first step in his journey as a pro began Tuesday when Boston Bruins development camp opened at Ristuccia Arena, where Acciari was among 36 players in attendance.

“It’s been a blast, a bit tiring. It’s been a long day,” Acciari said. “But I feel good, it’s a good group of guys out there and I’m excited for the week.”

Acciari could have signed with any team as a free agent, but he chose the Bruins, a team he’s watched his whole life.

“I weighed my options, but Boston has always been a dream of mine,” Acciari said. “Playing at Providence College, it was unbelievable there. Being with the Bruins now, you can’t ask for anything more.”

Leaving a fantastic Division I program in Providence wasn’t easy, though, especially after he enjoyed so much success as a junior in 2014-15.

“It was a tough choice because I was leaving a great group of guys, great coach,” Acciari said. “I also have to start thinking about my future and the biggest thing was, I did get my degree, so that was a big factor. It was tough, but I think I made the right decision and now I just have to play my game.”

Acciari likely will start the 2015-16 campaign in Providence, where he’ll be an important player at both ends of the ice and most likely take on a leadership role at some point for the P-Bruins.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images