schenn  gryba feature

TELUS Cup Legends of Saskatchewan

Eric Gryba & Luke Schenn – Saskatoon Contacts (2005)

David Brien
April 8, 2014

Nine years before they were NHL defencemen patrolling the blue-line for the Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers, respectively, Eric Gryba and Luke Schenn were high school classmates, friends and a shutdown defensive pairing for the Saskatoon Contacts.

The duo were a big reason the Contacts hoisted the TELUS Cup at the end of the 2004-05 season, topping the host Intrépide de Gatineau 4-1 in the gold medal game at Canada’s National Midget Championship.

Both players look back on the tournament as one of the milestone moments on their path to the NHL.

“I still feel that was the start of my hockey career, so to say,” Gryba, who was named the tournament’s Top Defenceman, said. “Obviously I had played a lot of minor hockey growing up, but that was the first big tournament that had a certain amount of significance.”

“The tournament showed me how to play in different pressure situations,” Schenn said. “It also showed me what it takes to win, how to take control and how to contribute for your team to have success.

“For me, it was a huge help in preparation for tournaments like the U18s and the World Juniors. It was the first big tournament I took part in that had an actual championship and it goes to show you what it takes to win, and how to go onto bigger things.”

And both had “bigger things” in their future.

Schenn joined the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets after the Contacts’ TELUS Cup run and roomed with Shea Weber during the Memorial Cup. He played three years with the Rockets, winning gold at the IIHF World Junior Championship in 2008, and was selected fifth overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

Gryba went the college route; he played one season with the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers before four years at Boston University, winning an NCAA championship with the Terriers in his junior season in 2009. Gryba was selected by the Senators in the third round (68th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

The TELUS Cup was a new experience from every aspect, from the competition, to the attention from media and scouts, and the travel.

“The coolest thing for us was flying as a team to Gatineau because usually it was always bus trips to hotels a few hours away,” Schenn said. “It was also the first time we had coverage from TSN and national exposure.”

“There were scouts and colleges making inquiries with the players and their families, trying to find out if we wanted to play Major Junior or go to the NCAA,” Gryba remembered. “There were a lot of new experiences there”

In the end, though, the game itself is what stood out.

“Every team had great players with great skills,” Schenn said. “But overall it’s a team game and everyone there is well prepared, well coached. It’s definitely not easy to get there and even harder to win it.”  


TELUS Cup Team & Year: Saskatoon Contacts, 2005
TELUS Cup Finish: gold medal

NHL Entry Draft: 2006, Ottawa Senators (3rd round, 68th overall)
NHL Teams: Ottawa Senators (2013-14)
NHL Statistics: 79 GP; 4 G; 13 A; 17 PTS

Team Canada Experience: none

TELUS Cup Team & Year: Saskatoon Contacts, 2005
TELUS Cup Finish: gold medal

NHL Entry Draft: 2008, Toronto Maple Leafs (1st round, 5th overall)
NHL Teams: Toronto Maple Leafs (2008-12); Philadelphia Flyers (2012-14)
NHL Statistics: 425 GP; 21 G; 76 A; 97 PTS

Team Canada Experience: Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament (2006, gold medal); IIHF World U18 Championship (2007, fourth place); Canada-Russia Super Series (2007, first place); IIHF World Junior Championship (2008, gold medal); IIHF World Championship (2009, silver medal; 2011, fifth place; 2013, fifth place)

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

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