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November 6, 2013

Local hockey player earns role as captain for NCAA Division I program

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

Scott Czarnowczan

Scott Czarnowczan began his hockey career at the age of 2. This season, he’ll wrap up his college career and perhaps begin the next chapter of the hockey career.

Czarnowczan, who attended Utica Eisenhower and lives in Macomb, is a defenseman for Ferris State University. And after playing in various leagues throughout the course of his playing days, Czarnowczan has made it to a level he wanted to be since childhood — all the way to the NCAA.

From Czarowczan’s perspective, the opportunity to play hockey at the Division I level has lived up to his expectations.

“It’s been awesome,” he said. “My four years here, so far, have been really good. Everything I’ve wanted has been here.”

Since joining the Bulldogs, Czarnowczan has been a Ferris State Rookie of the Year Award recipient, earned the role of an assistant captain during his sophomore campaign, and this season, as a junior, he has been named as a team captain.

The kind of accolades Czarnowczan has earned don’t happen by accident, as he has received support from his family, as well as Steve Dickinson, who coached him at the midget league level, and Jon Cooper, who was his junior hockey coach. Cooper is now the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League. It was Cooper who passed along a lesson that Czarowczan can apply on and off the ice.

“There’s no goals high enough. You can always go higher,” he said. “That’s what I’m kind of aiming for. Last year (a shoulder injury had him in and out of the lineup) goes to show how quick something can take your career away. I guess, never (take) it for granted anymore. Keep living your life. Do the best I can every day at hockey, and at life.”

While individual accomplishments may be nice, it can be a lot more fun to share success with teammates, and Czarnowczan had the opportunity to do that when the Bulldogs made it all the way to the NCAA Division I national final game in 2012 (Ferris was defeated by Boston College 4-1).  That was the furthest Ferris’ hockey program has ever gone, and Czarnowczan wouldn’t mind having some more fun this season.

“Win our conference, go to playoffs, (and) hopefully, win playoffs,” Czarnowczan said of team goals. “Hopefully, that leads us to the (NCAA) tournament, and another run for the national title. That’s our goal as a team. I want our team to do well and have my last year be another memory for me to never forget.”

Although Czarowczan is majoring in criminal justice, it is a career he may want to put on hold for a while after graduation.

“My goal is to make it to the NHL, or at least sign with one of the affiliate teams in the AHL,” he said. “I’ve been told by coaches I can play (at) the next level. Excited to see where this year will take me, ‘til my next year.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.