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, sending 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 No. 14 Denver University.
“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, and Moscow is over a 10-hour flight from New York. 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.”