BOSTON, MA — For the second straight day, it's been announced that the Boston Bruins will have a prospect vying for a spot on his country's entry in the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championship.
Boston University defenseman Matt Grzelcyk was included on Team USA's selection camp roster, joining fellow prospects Anthony Camara, Dougie Hamilton and Malcolm Subban, all of whom will attend Team Canada's camp. Forward Alexander Khokhlachev will also compete for a spot on Russia's WJC entry.
This is not Grzelcyk's first inclusion on a Team USA roster. The 18-year-old spent two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program after playing high school hockey with Belmont Hill.
"Spending the last few years in Ann Arbor has helped with the transition," said Grzelcyk of his transition from junior hockey to college. "Playing the last few years on the national team really helped me, especially playing against 14 colleges last year.
"It’s helped me adjust so far, playing against older guys, but I’ve got some experience playing on the power play.
"It hasn’t been too tough of a transition," added the Bruins prospect. "With that development [over] the last few years, it’s really helped me progress as a player."
Currently third on the team in points for the Terriers (with 2-9-11), the freshman blueliner has impressed many during his first 13 collegiate games.
"I’ve liked Matt Grzelcyk since he’s been at Belmont Hill," said BU Head Coach Jack Parker at the start of the season. "I knew he was going to be a really good college player, and we’re very happy to have him here, and he’s going to be a terrific freshman for us."
That's no surprise to the Bruins, who have enjoyed watching the hometown prospect development.
"Matt’s hockey IQ has allowed him to make the transition pretty smoothly," said Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney in November. "Despite his size, not being the biggest player as a defenseman, I think he recognizes those are his challenges, accepts them, and understands them."
Grzelcyk was named Hockey East's Rookie of the Week on November 12, and more recently, was named the Rookie of the Month for November. By all accounts, the young defenseman will continue to excel as he continues his freshman year and competes for a spot on Team USA.
"If he continues to process the game the way that he does, as his game gets faster at the next levels, then he's going to be just fine," said Sweeney.