Despite being from nearby Charlestown, Grzelcyk said he always had his own hockey games to attend to when the annual college tournament between Boston College, Boston University, Harvard and Northeastern is played (for "All the Beans in Boston") in the TD Garden on the first two Monday nights of February.
However, this season Grzelcyk is sure to attend his first Beanpot. In fact, the young blueliner will probably have one of the best seats in the house.
An 18-year-old freshman drafted by the Bruins in 2012 (3rd Round, 85th overall), Grzelcyk is gearing up for his first year at Boston U., where the sights on Commonwealth Avenue will be very familiar, but still, quite different.
"You know you always dream about staying, like a hometown kid," Grzelcyk told BostonBruins.com in September. "I get the opportunity to do it."
The 5-foot-9 defenseman will feel right at home in Boston, only scant miles away from where he grew up. Still, Grzelcyk, whose Terriers open their season on Sunday in an exhibition game versus the University of Toronto, is taking advantage of every chance he gets to make sure he hits the ground running—both on and off the ice.
"I had the opportunity to come in this summer and take some classes, and just kind of get the ball rolling," Grzelcyk said. "The guys have been great welcoming in us nine freshmen, so I couldn’t have asked for a better situation right now."
But while Grzelcyk remained close to home (and the Bruins) in choosing BU, he is no stranger to jettisoning the Bay State for hockey purposes.
For the past two years, the defenseman competed with the U.S. National Development Team, traveling to Ann Arbor, Mich., a decision he described as being difficult, but vital to his development. Members of the U.S. Hockey Development Team live with a host family in Ann Arbor, attend school there, and don't lead the life of an average teenager.
"It was tough, moving away from home at first," Grzelcyk said. "But we got really close as a team up there and I think it was, up to this point, it was probably the best two years of hockey I’ve ever had.
"I really needed it for my development, and it got me to where I am today."
After a busy summer, which included Boston Bruins Development Camp, Grzelcyk is taking a measured approach to his first year as a collegiate hockey player—literally hoping to use his first year at BU as a learning experience.
"Right now I’m just focused on developing as much as I can," Grzelcyk said. "Physically—and kind of maybe using this first year as experience for the next few years ahead, and just get the most out of it."
When Grzelcyk does finally get to attend his first Beanpot this winter—as a player—there’s a good chance he’ll have at least one family member there to support him.
His father, John, a member of the TD Garden Bull Gang, is one of the Zamboni operators for the building's ice.
"It’s kind of funny that my dad does the ice over there," Grzelcyk said. "I’ve never really thought about actually getting to play there, so, hopefully - that whole experience in itself will be really cool."