Tony Gruba compares going through recruiting process with Leo to when he was recruited by SCSU

The former Huskies forward (1990-94) recently saw his 18-year-old son, a defenseman, make a verbal commitment to play for the Huskies. Tony talks about his son, shares memories of playing for St. Cloud State with The Rink Live's Mick Hatten on the Huskies Hockey Insider Podcast.

Tony Gruba Action.jpg
Tony Gruba (13) played forward for the St. Cloud State men's hockey team from 1990-94.
Courtesy of St. Cloud State University Athletics

Tony Gruba played forward for St. Cloud State from 1990-94 after playing at Hill-Murray High School. He ended up turning down the University of Minnesota to play for the Huskies. His son, Leo, an 18-year-old defenseman, recently verbally committed to play for the Huskies. Tony compares and contrasts the recruiting process for his son vs. when he went through it. He also shares memories of playing for the Huskies, gives a bit of a scouting report on his son and more on the Huskies Hockey Insider Podcast with The Rink Live's Mick Hatten.


1:00 The noticeable differences in the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center compared to when he played, which was soon after it opened in 1989

2:30 Walking around campus, noticing changes, appreciating the campus a bit more than when he and his wife attended

Both of Gruba's parents attended St. Cloud State. His father, Tony, played forward for the Huskies from 1990-94 and was the team's captain his senior season.

4:15 The decision to try to have Leo play for the St. Cloud Norsemen, his sister going to the College of St. Benedcit


5:45 Not knowing the current SCSU coaching staff going in, some first impressions of Brett Larson, Dave Shyiak and R.J. Enga

8:04 A scouting report on Leo, the Huskies wanting him to be who he is

10:10 Former teammates Brandon Sampair, Jeff Schmidt providing some encouragement for Leo to play for SCSU

The 18-year-old senior at Hill-Murray High School is the No. 100-ranked North American skater in the midterm rankings by NHL Central Scouting and is weighing NCAA Division I offers. But his next task is helping St. Cloud reach the second round of the NAHL playoffs, which begin Friday

12:40 Seeing recruiting process as a father vs. as a player

15:40 Turning down the Gophers to play for SCSU, his recruiting experience coming out of Hill-Murray

18:30 The leap from Hill-Murray to the WCHA at age 18

20:20 Dealing with a slump (6 points as a freshman), equipment manager Mark Miller's Sunday game of posts

23:30 Playing on a line and being a teammate of Jeff Saterdalen and Tim Hanus


25:35 Being around John Harrington as an assistant coach, nearly getting into a fistfight with him

This group of former St. Cloud State men's hockey players played for the Huskies from 1989-94

28:30 Being a linemate and teammate Fred Knipscheer, who went on to play for the Boston Bruins

30:00 Getting away from coaching to watch Leo, the good and bad with youth hockey today

34:30 Leo playing soccer, baseball and tennis growing up, the importance of not being a star in every sport

36:30 Being a good teammate, how that happens, how to help a locker room be a good one

The 18-year-old defenseman from Lake Elmo, Minn., and Hill-Murray High School graduate, is ranked No. 125 among North American Skaters by NHL Central Scouting in their final 2022 draft prospect rankings. The NHL Entry Draft will be held July 7-8 in Montreal
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Both of Gruba's parents attended St. Cloud State. His father, Tony, played forward for the Huskies from 1990-94 and was the team's captain his senior season.

Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage, a website dedicated to hockey. He began working for Forum Communications in November 2018 and has covered St. Cloud State University hockey since 2010. A graduate of St. Cloud State, he has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist and has been a youth hockey coach since 2014.
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