By Danielle Coppola
You’ve seen them skate past you from the stands in Messa Rink, they might even be from your hometown or sit a few seats away from you in class. To Union students the members of the men’s ice hockey team are just a part of the crowd, but in a few years you can say you know that guy in the NHL.
As the Concordiensis reported last week, and word spread around campus as fast as the pucks he stops, Troy Grosenick ‘14 was recently signed by the San Jose Sharks.
Grosenick joins the ranks of fellow Dutchmen, Keith Kinkaid and Jeremy Welsh who have been signed to the New Jersey Devils and the Carolina Hurricanes respectively. Similarly two current Dutchmen have been drafted, Shayne Gostisbehere ‘15 to the Philadelphia Flyers and Tim Boyle ‘16 to the Ottawa Senators.
For those who don’t know, there is a major difference between being drafted in the NHL and being signed in the NHL.
Gostisbehere explains it best by saying “Being drafted is when a team owns your rights. So now no other team can pick me up. And [either] at the end of my college career or two or three years after the draft they can decide to keep your rights or they can say no and then you become a free agent just like Troy is. Troy was surpassed by any of the teams in his draft year so he was a free agent and could then sign with any team in the NHL.”
Both Gostisbehere and Boyle were overcome with joy at the unexpected announcement of their names in the 2012 draft. As Gostisbehere says, “I didn’t know I was gonna get drafted that early,” about his 78th overall draft pick. Boyle was also happily surprised by his 106th pick.
Boyle is familiar with the system, given his bond with older brother Brian Boyle, who currently plays for the New York Rangers. When asked about potentially playing against his big brother, Boyle assured that the Rangers and Senators do in fact face each other in the regular season.
Both are proud to have played alongside the recently signed Grosenick, as Gostisbehere said, “It’s awesome to see one of your guys that’s been with you for a couple of years now have all his hard work get put to use.”
Tyson Fulton ‘15 is also very happy for Grosenick saying, “he’s fulfilling a life-long dream that we all strive for and he very much deserves it. I’ve never seen a guy more competitive and hard working as Troy. He will be very missed here as he was a leader of our team and someone I looked up to and shared a lot of great memories with.”
Bonds like these are one of the things Grosenick will miss most about his career at Union. As he said, moving on from the Dutchmen was a “really tough decision. Leaving a group of brothers in the locker room is the hardest part, I owe a great deal to those guys and I love every single one of them.”
He leaves with great hope for the future of the Union Men’s Ice Hockey team, stating, “I know the guys coming back next year definitely have enough in the locker room to [win a National Championship].”
When specifically asked about Collin Stevens ‘15, the goalie who will step up in his place, Grosenick showed the utmost confidence commenting that Stevens is “a great goalie and will continue to be and will take this program to new levels … I have full faith in him.”
He leaves Stevens with the message to “just play. That’s it. It’s a game, go out and play it. You’ve got a great team ahead of you, you’re a great goalie, just go out and play.”
Being a man with such talent both on and off the ice, Grosenick put a lot of thought into his decision to go to the Sharks. He was courted by several other teams, including the Edmonton Oilers, however at the end of the day he felt the Sharks “showed the most belief in [his] ability to play at the pro and NHL level.” He recalled talking on the phone for many hours to family members and those he “respects most” in order to be sure he was making the right choice not only to join the Sharks but to move on from the Dutchmen.
Grosenick leaves with his memory of “a lot of hard work [being] put in here from the coaching staff and players. It’s definitely been three of the best years I could’ve asked for with a college experience.”
Specifically to the fans who packed Messa Rink every weekend in support of the garnet, black and white, Grosenick bids a fond farewell. “You guys are the best in college hockey. There’s no greater feeling than stepping out on the ice with 2,000 plus in [Messa Rink] and getting it real loud, and I think every Union hockey player would echo that.”
The entire student body, faculty and staff wish Grosenick, Gostisbehere and Boyle along with the rest of the Dutchmen.