Before They Were Bruins, These Players and Coaches Were Terriers

Before they were Boston Bruins, three players and two assistant coaches on the team were Boston University Terriers.

The playoff run has the school beaming with pride and many hopeful the alum will soon become Stanley Cup champions.

Charlie Coyle, Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelyck are all products of the program that has a history of producing NHL players. Assistant coaches Joe Sacco and Jay Pandolfo are also former Terriers.

“It’s kind of crazy that one college team has five guys out there,” said Albie O’Connell, current head coach of the BU men’s hockey team.

O’Connell helped coach McAvoy and Grzelyck and watched Coyle from afar. He said the players still keep in touch and keep tabs on the program.

“Through text message, we will go back and forth saying things like, ‘nice win,’” O’Connell said.

Pictures of their college highlights, including Grzelcyk’s overtime goal in the 2015 Beanpot championship game, line the walls leading to the locker room. He said all three players are used to performing under pressure and he is confident the alum will deliver just like they did in school.

“These guys usually shine in big moments,” O’Connell said.

O’Connell is hopeful Grzelcyk, a Charlestown native and former Terrier captain, will recover in time to come back for the series. He said between Grzelyck’s hockey sense, McAvoy’s physicality and Coyle’s skill as one of the best forwards in the league, the B’s have what it takes to make BU proud.

“We’d be excited for them because we know they’ve put in the work and the effort,” O’Connell said. “They’ve played over 100 games this year and you want to hold the trophy at the end of it.”

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