Danny O’Regan, Matt Grzelcyk look forward to chance at U.S. World Junior roster

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.”

Grzelcyk final player cut from U.S. World Junior squad

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

Boston University men’s hockey freshman defenseman Matt Grzelcyk was in Ufa, Russia Thursday with the U.S. National Junior Team, hoping for his shot to play for a gold medal at the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championships.

However, after Team USA’s 8–0 win over Team Germany Thursday, the squad decided to name Windsor Spitfires blueliner Patrick Sieloff the team’s seventh defenseman Friday morning and send Grzelcyk home as the final player cut from the team.

In reaction to being cut from the team, Grzelcyk tweeted, “Lots of emotions today, but I have to be thankful for the opportunity. Good luck to Team USA the boys deserve it!”

The decision took an unusually long time, as Team USA had already played a game in the tournament without making its final decision for the 23rd player on its roster. The drawn-out process bothered BU coach Jack Parker, who now does not have Grzelcyk available to play in Saturday’s game between the No. 6 Terriers and the No. 14 University of Denver.

“I think it is really taking advantage of the kid and the schools those guys play for,” Parker said in a phone interview Thursday. “If they had cut him before they left Helsinki, he would have been home in time to play for us.”

Parker highlighted the extensive travel Grzelcyk had to do as one of the reasons for his disappointment in the decision-making process. Ufa is a two-hour flight away from Moscow, Russia, and a flight from Moscow to New York takes over 10 hours. There are no direct flights from Moscow to Boston or Denver.

“It is awful hard to get home, especially if he has to travel by himself,” Parker said. “That will be brutal. I think they have done him and us a disservice.

“They should have made that decision before they left Helsinki.”