Austin, MN–Friday morning, Bobcat defender Nate Repensky illustrated to the hockey world that perseverance really does pay off, in championship ways.
Repensky announced his commitment to the NCAA defending national champion Yale Bulldogs Friday morning, taking to Twitter to let the world in on the next step in the talented, and dedicated, defensemen’s career.
"Excited to announce I’ve committed to play my college hockey for Yale next season. Thanks to everyone for all the help and support," Repensky wrote via Twitter Friday."
Words like "help" and "support" ring especially true for Repensky after a career fighting off injury after injury. His effort to repair and condition his body for the grind of hockey made yesterday’s announcement that much sweeter.
"There were some times after my senior year where I thought about just going to school. I had surgery, and I didn’t recover well. I enjoyed school, so I thought about it. But after playing junior hockey, I wanted to get a Division One scholarship. It was definitely a dream come true, especially after a couple of tough years," remarked a humble Repensky Saturday in Austin.
Bobcat head coach Layne Sedevie’s thoughts also focused on Repensky’s desire to overcome hardship in achieving his goals. "It’s a well-deserved opportunity to play with a program like Yale, the defending national champions. He’s battled through injury, and you’ve seen what he can do for us, especially on the power play. It’s a heck of an achievement," Sedevie remarked Saturday.
Injury slashed Repensky’s 2012-13 Bobcat season in half. He missed 21 of the first 26 games due to a lower body injury. When he returned, he demonstrated his prowess throughout the second half, averaging a point a game to finish the year, assisting on nine goals in the post-season, and claiming NAHL Defensemen of the Month honors in March and a spot on the All-Rookie first team.
With higher goals in mind, instead of resting on his NAHL laurels, Repensky went to work. "I’ve been dedicating myself to improving my durability," he explained before the new season started. "I’ve talked to doctors and nutritionists and conditioning coaches who work with NHL players to put together the right diet and training regimen for my body over the course of a 60-game schedule. Mike Salwei, the Bobcats strength and conditioning coach, worked with me, and did a great job. We work out at Healthways Athletic Training Center in Bismarck, and their staff definitely helped me."
Bobcat head coach Layne Sedevie acknowledges Repensky’s effort. "Nate knew that his durability was a question that scouts had about him coming out of Duluth East, but he never hid from it," says Sedevie.. "What he did instead was work hard and show everybody that he could not only come back and stay in the lineup, but play better than ever once he was back."
Bismarck has been the beneficiary of Repensky’s off-season work. In just 15 games, he has assisted on 17 goals and has 19 points, tied for 10th in the NAHL. He says the commitment makes playing as a Bobcat easier and more special.
"It’s more relaxing and less stressful to just go and play every night. I’m going to remain focused on this team. We have a team that can succeed, and we know that. I want to win every night," Repensky said as he prepared to face the Austin Bruins in Austin.
Yale claimed the 2013 NCAA men’s hockey national championship, entering the national tournament with an 18-12-3 record before topping Minnesota 3-2, North Dakota 4-1, and Massachusetts-Lowell 3-2. The Bulldogs then defeated top-seed Quinnipiac 4-0 in the national title game for their first ever championship. They have advanced to the national tournament in four of the last five seasons, and made the regional finals (national quarterfinals) in 2010, 2011, and 2013.