WILMINGTON — A few years before Matt Grzelcyk was drafted, the Charlestown native went to Ristuccia Arena to watch the Bruins run their development camp. One of the players he watched at the camp was 2007 second-round pick Tommy Cross.
Cross, who just capped off a four-year career at Boston College  with his second NCAA  championship and third Beanpot title, has been a constant at the Bruins development camp. He hasn’t always been able to participate (he’s had three major knee surgeries), but he’s been there since the camp started.
Cross made his first appearance at the first camp in 2007, when the team was evaluating the then-17-year-old alongside players such as David Krejci , Milan Lucic , Tuukka Rask  and Adam McQuaid. Now, the 22-year-old Cross is the veteran of the camp, playing alongside younger prospects such as Dougie Hamiton, Malcolm Subban, Jared Knight and Ryan Spooner.
But while the players changed around him, the development camp has been a familiar experience for the Westminster, Conn. native.
‘[It is the] same as usual,’ Cross said. ‘It is a really good learning experience. You can still take a lot out of these camps no matter how many times you come here.
‘You know what to expect. They change it up every year obviously. They kind of keep you on your toes. But you know the staff pretty well. You know some of the other players.’
As the veteran member of the camp, the former BC captain has become a leader among the Bruins’ prospects, especially those who are here for the first time. One player who is at his first development camp is goaltender Parker Milner, who won a national championship alongside Cross last season.
‘Tommy is intense,’ Milner said. ‘Whether it is the first practice here or the national championship, he is going to be intense. But he looks good out there. I think he is ready to make the jump and his leadership is next to none.’
This will be Cross’ final development camp, as he is expected to play next season with the Providence Bruins. Cross played two games with Providence last season, using the experience to get better acclimated to professional game as opposed to the college game.
‘The guys in the AHL are obviously older,’ Cross said. ‘It is a little bit more of a controlled style. I think college hockey is a great place for learning though, and I prepared myself for the next level and the AHL is kind of like a new system.’