WILMINGTON, MA – Tommy Cross has been at every Bruins Development Camp to date. This year was no exception, with the defenseman donning No. 82 in white for his sixth summer at Risctuccia Arena.
|Cross was drafted by Boston in 2007
“I’ve been here a number of times, but it’s still fun to come and you still learn a lot,” Cross said at camp. “I take more out of it with each year I’m here.
“They’ve done a great job tweaking it and making some minor adjustments, but it’s only gotten better from my point of view.”
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound defenseman has gotten better over time, too.
This season he led Boston College to an NCAA National Championship and its third-straight Beanpot victory at TD Garden. The Eagles captain finished the regular season with five goals and 19 assists for a total of 24 points in 44 games, and found the net once more during playoffs. He also had the opportunity to skate on a frozen Fenway Park.
“Those were unbelievable,” Cross recalled. “I was very lucky at Boston College to be able to play on those big stages.”
The 22-year-old performed on another big stage when he was called up to the Providence Bruins for two games this season, following his college career.
"He was coming down for two games - we knew that, he knew that," Providence Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said. "His first game he was a little tentative... the second he was crisp, snapping passes, physical when he needed to be in terms of one-on-one confrontations.
"He's a very mature guy. He's a winner and he's going to figure it out."
Although his time in the American Hockey League was brief, Cross believes the visit will be worthwhile for years to come.
"It was a good experience to go down there,” he said. “Meet the coaches, meet the guys, and then get used to pro hockey.
“Just getting used to the systems, and kind of opening your eyes to what it’s going to be like for the next step.”
While Cross may be competitive on the ice, his tenure at camp makes him a leader for the newer prospects. He’s always happy to help show them the ropes, but doesn’t let that role impede his own development.
“I think that’s something that’s got to come more natural, and I think some of the younger guys look up to you,” he said. “I think you go about your business the way you usually do, and hopefully you show them the right way.
“I don’t think it’s something that you can pay too much attention to, because you’ve got to worry about yourself and getting better.”
The defenseman is always looking for ways to improve his game in hopes of eventually breaking into the National Hockey League.
"He's a guy that does like to complete what he started," B's assistant general manager Don Sweeney said on the final day of camp. "He did it when he was in prep school, and he certainly did it when he was a captain at BC.
"Now I think he's really looking forward to getting into the pro-game and seeing where he stacks up."
The closer Cross gets to achieving his dream, the more he appreciates his time in Wilmington.
“I was pumped to get the invite to come again, and it’s just an opportunity to get better as a hockey player,” Cross said. “It’s been fun to have a new group and new activities, and it’s been a good summer so far.”