WILMINGTON, MA – For most of the prospects at the Bruins Development Camp, their first stop in Boston was Logan Airport.
The pro hockey hopefuls flew in from all different parts of the globe, but for Matt Grzelcyk in particular, it was only a short stretch of highway between home and Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, MA.
“My earliest memory is probably – I was about two,” said the Bruins 2012 NHL Entry Draft 3rd Round (85th overall) draft pick. “The old Boston Garden before it got knocked down, I was privileged enough to skate on there.”
The Charlestown, MA native grew up in the shadow of the Boston Garden.
But it wasn’t just proximity that put the 18-year old defenseman in the Garden so much growing up.
“[My dad] kind of brought be around the garden as much as he could,” said the 18-year old on his dad John being a 44-year member of the bull gang at the TD garden, “I got to see how the pros handled themselves.
"[My dad] was pretty passionate about hockey too, so he was instrumental in helping me get into [it].”
While he may have learned to skate on the B’s ice, he spent his 2011-12 season the U.S. National Development Team where he helped Team USA to their 4th straight gold medal.
“That was probably the highest point that I’ve reached in my career,” said Grzelcyk. “Getting the chance to go out there…with those guys and having it pay off in the long run was a great feeling.”
That may have been the high point, but Grzelcyk is far from his peak.
“I need to become more physically mature,” said the 5-foot-9, 171-pound blueliner. “[I need to] add on some pounds definitely. But, I don’t want to get away from working on my quickness and agility and things like that.”
He still ultimately hopes to end up back on the ice at the Garden, but as far as next year is concerned, Grzelcyk will make the trek across town to Commonwealth Ave. to join the Boston University Terriers.
“I really couldn’t be happier to go over to Comm Ave.,” said Grzelcyk, “I was a big fan [of BU] growing up, so it’s pretty much a dream come true.”
As far as his experience over the past week goes, the hometown boy is just excited to have the opportunity to skate with the hometown team.
“It speaks volumes to the Bruins organization,” he said, “The guys that they’re able to bring in [to Development Camp] has been a big part of their success in the past so I’m just glad to be here.”