By: Dan Shulman
Sunday was a day like no other for Eric Gryba. As he stepped onto the ice for morning skate, Gryba looked up to see his National Championship banner from his days at BU. It was the first time the Saskatoon native returned to Agganis since his days in college.
“It was nice to go back,” said Gryba. “There are a lot of memories there. I spent four great years playing in that building and it was good to be back.”
“I was kind of leaning towards playing collegiate hockey,” said Gryba. “I started getting some college interest and I had a great recruiting visit to Boston. It just kind of went from there.”
Eric Gryba arrived on Commonwealth Avenue as a scorer turned enforcer. The defender amassed a Boston University record of 354 penalty minutes in his collegiate career.
“I don’t know if anyone’s ever going to touch that one,” said Gryba. “I think I beat out Freddy Meyer in my senior year there so that definitely won’t be touched for a while.”
Over his four years at BU, Gryba only scored six times and collected 16 assists. His 22 collegiate points in no way reflect the true talent which Gryba displayed.
His first career goal was a game-winner in a tightly contested 2-1 affair against the Merrimack Warriors on January 20, 2007. He recorded an additional three assists over the last six games of his freshman campaign.
He was a key contributor to the Terriers National Championship in 2009. Despite recording only six points that season, all assists, his final one was his most important. Gryba’s first period assist in the National Championship game against Miami set the tone for the Terriers, who would go on to win in dramatic fashion, 4-3.
“I forgot I even had an assist in that game,” said Gryba with a laugh. “Coming back and winning that game, getting that title was something I’ll never forget. It’s a special memory for me.”
Gryba was far from the only player on the 2008-09 Terriers to make it to the greener pastures of the NHL. More than half of his teammates played professionally, many in the NHL.
“It’s crazy,” said Gryba emphatically. “It seems almost every team we play I’m seeing an old teammate of mine. It’s a good feeling and it brings back good memories.”
In addition to a National Championship, Gryba also won two Beanpot titles and a Hockey East Tournament Championship.
Playing at the TD Garden is no stranger to Gryba. However, the defenseman also made an appearance at Boston’s most famous sports venue: Fenway Park.
In the inaugural edition of Frozen Fenway, Gryba and the Terriers beat the Boston College Eagles at Fenway, 3-2.
“Playing at Fenway was cool,” said Gryba. “Having 40,000 people in an outdoor facility like that was really special. And beating BC didn’t hurt.”
“And then I remember playing the Beanpots here and Hockey East Finals. It’s obviously a great building and you are so fortunate to be a collegiate team and play in a building like this.”
Gryba will suit up for the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night to take on the Boston Bruins at a building where he made so many memories as a Boston University Terrier.