Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on ThePuckAuthority.com on May 17th.
Toronto, ON- After starting off rather quietly with just three recruitments to start the season, the University of Toronto Varsity Blues broke ground on Thursday with their fourth addition in defensemen Nick Grima. This was first reported by Victor Findlay of Sauga 960 who said that the school and the OA defensemen had agreed to terms with a verbal commitment.
As Findlay goes on to mention, the deal in place allows the former Battalion to join the Varsity Blues for the upcoming season. Toronto has been rather quiet in terms of stocking up for the future as rumours have loomed for the past several weeks, but very little to show for those talks.
The deal between Grima and the University of Toronto was formally announced by the school on Thursday. With this commitment now booked, the North Bay defensemen joins the OUA West, a compact division with the Queen’s Cup champions.
Grima joins the Varsity Blues after spending five seasons in the OHL, a tenure in which he split between his time with the Petes, Sting and North Bay Battalion. As Grima joins the OUA, he becomes the Varsity Blues’ fourth recruitment for next season.
Grima spent the last three years with the OHL’s Sting in Sarnia, Ontario where he played on a line with Kelton Hatcher before he was traded to the North Bay Battalion. Grima, a native of Toronto, was traded back on October 7th while the Sarnia Sting received a fifth-round pick on a conditional basis in 2022.
Looking at his time with the Sting where the 6’0 defensemen swiftly landed from Peterborough, the forward played in 178 games between postseason play and the regular season. During this three-year time frame, the 21-year-old scored only six goals and 46 assists for 52 points. With a plus/minus rating of +8 over three full seasons, Grima racked up as well a whopping total of 129 penalty minutes.
In a statement from the right-handed shooter after committing to the Blues on Thursday, Grima said with regards to next season, “I’m thrilled to be joining such a world renowned school where I’ll be in environment with professors, classmates, coaches, and teammates that will push me to succeed in life and on the ice.”
Grima, an OHL veteran, joined the Peterborough Petes back in 2015, just five months after having been selected 25th overall in the draft’s second round. Looking at the numbers he amassed, the future Blue collected 94 assists, this totalling up to 107 points.
Seen as a versatile defensemen, Nick Grima patrolled the top pairing unit with Nicholas King, Matthew Struthers and Brad Chenier. Joining the Varsity Blues, Findlay notes that he becomes the third defensemen with major junior experience added to the team’s roster.
Adding to his presence at U of T, Grima joins the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education to go along with his playing experience. Speaking of Grima’s commitment on Thursday, head coach Ryan Medel said, “By adding Nick to our group, we feel we’re adding a versatile defensemen who can play in any situation on the ice. His mobility and puck-moving skills will be an asset for our group but he’s also reliable defensively. Nick is born and raised in Toronto. Anytime a player returns to his hometown to play, it’s special for that player and his family but also for the hockey program.”
Looking at his last OHL season, Grima scored just three goals and 27 assists in 54 games played. This made for 30 points registered to go along with his 61 penalty minutes. Speaking of which, his 2019-20 campaign marked his second consecutive where he recorded 30 points. The last time he hit that plateau was in the previous season with the Sarnia Sting.
Grima will join the school’s new defensive pairing alongside the likes of Hayden Davis and Quinn Hanna. At this time, it is still expected that winger Cole Purboo will commit to the hockey club, however, it is possible that might be held off on until the conclusion of the NHL Entry Draft.