By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff
A couple of Boston University men’s hockey players will be turning in their scarlet and red for red, white and blue later this month, as sophomore forward Danny O’Regan and defenseman Matt Grzelcyk were named to the 26-man preliminary roster for the 2014 United States National Junior Team Wednesday.
O’Regan and Grzelcyk will participate in training camp from Dec. 15 through Dec. 18 at the University of Minnesota’s Mariucci Arena and are looking to remain on the final 23 players going to the tournament in Malmo, Sweden from Dec. 26, 2013 through Jan. 5, 2014. For more on the U.S. team, check out Chris Peters’ United States of Hockey blog.
BU coach David Quinn, who helped the U.S. to a bronze medal in the 1986 World Junior Championship, said he was excited for O’Regan and Grzelcyk to play in the tournament.
“Every time a guy goes and plays in the World Junior tournament and comes back, they’re better players,” Quinn said. “It happened to me, it happened to me when I was here. It happens to those guys when they go and they become better players. Playing on that stage against the competition, you just come back with a whole new level of self-confidence and it really helps you.”
Grzelcyk, who was the final cut from the 2013 U.S. team that won the gold medal in Ufa, Russia, said last year’s experience has helped his mindset entering this year’s camp. The Charlestown native has one goal and six assists through 14 games this season with BU.
“I think just being at the tournament and even just seeing it from a bird’s eye view and just getting a feel for the atmosphere at the tournament and stuff like that gives you a little more confident going into camp,” Grzelcyk said.
“I think just [the 2013 U.S.] team was obviously really great, they won the gold. I don’t really hold much of a grudge at all. Obviously they made the right decision.”
O’Regan, who led the Terriers in scoring last season and is tied for the team lead in goals this season with five, was not among those invited to training camp last season. However, he had played with the U.S. U-18 team in 2011-12, and totaled 10 points in 14 games with the squad.
“Just seeing my name on the list was truly an honor,” O’Regan said. “Everyone is a great player, so yeah I’m just really excited to be on the list and to be going to the camp in Minnesota.”
BU recruit Jack Eichel was also named to the preliminary roster. Eichel is the youngest player on the roster, as he was born Oct. 28, 1996. However, he has some high expectations for the tournament based on his play with the U.S. National U-18 team this season, as he has totaled 17 goals and 35 points in 19 games for the team.
Grzelcyk said he has played with Eichel, who is from North Chelmsford, in a couple of tournaments and a Wednesday night league.
“He’s a really good kid and obviously he’s really talented to be the youngest guy there,” Grzelcyk said. “So it’s a true honor for him.”