Throughout the month of August, BismarckBobcats.com will be taking a one-by-one look at the players on the Bobcats’ Training Camp Roster. Today’s installment covers Bobcats and Team Poland forward Filip Starzynski .
Name: Filip Starzynski
Hometown: Warsaw, Poland
2011-12 Team: Bismarck Bobcats
2011-12 Stats: 5 G, 5 A, 10 PTS, +2, 42 PIM
Favorite TV Show: Suits
Favorite Book: Playing with Fire by Theo Fleury
Highlight of 2011-12: “Stepping out onto the ice at nationals in Dallas, just knowing that we were one of the best teams in the league.”
Chance to Shine
When the 2011-12 preseason ended for the Bismarck Bobcats and head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie cut his roster to 25 players, Filip Starzynski was on the outside looking in—but the exclusion by no means ended Starzynski’s career with the Bobcats.
“If we have enough beds with our housing families at the beginning of a season, we like to give some of the top players who did not make our opening day roster the option to stay and continue to train with the team,” explained Sedevie. “It gives the guys who didn’t quite make the team the chance to keep improving and maybe force us to take another look at them.”
One of the biggest success stories of this extended training camp is Bobcat alum Emerson Auvenshine, who was cut out of training camp in 2009 but stayed in Bismarck to train, eventually making the team three weeks into the regular season. Auvenshine would go on to become an assistant captain in 2010-11 and is currently playing Division I hockey at the University of Massachusetts (Hockey East).
Starzynski followed Auvenshine’s example and bided his time, training and practicing hard until an opportunity arose.
That opportunity came just one week into the regular season, when the Bobcats learned that high-scoring forward Nikolaj Rosenthal was leaving the team to play professional hockey in his native Denmark. The Polish forward’s skill set, attitude and especially his work ethic made him Sedevie’s choice to fill Rosenthal’s roster spot.
“Nobody on our team worked harder than Filip last year,” extolled Sedevie. “When you talk about a guy who did things the right way, with hard work, you’re talking about Filip Starzynski.”
It did not take long for Starzynski to reward Sedevie for his promotion: in just his third game in the lineup, he scored the goal that gave the Bobcats’ the lead for good in a 4-3 win at Minot in the first-ever meeting between the Cats and the Minotauros.
“Scoring that goal was pretty special, but the best part was that my father was there [at Maysa Arena] that night,” Starzynski reminisced. “It was great to be able to see him after the game and talk about it. He gave me a big hug.”
During the 2011-12 season, Starzynski continued what has become a strong Bobcat tradition of World Junior Championship participation, playing for Team Poland in Group I B, whose tournament was held in Tychy—about five hours southwest of Warsaw.
The Poles went 2-2-1 in the tournament, where Starzynski had two assists.
“Playing in World Juniors and representing my country was a great experience,” reflected Starzynski. “It was very interesting to see all of these top players from Europe and learn from how they played.”
Poland competed against Croatia, France, Italy, Japan and Kazakhstan, finishing fourth.
Serving as assistant captain for the Polish squad, Starzynski was able to add a new facet to his game to bring back to the VFW Sports Center: leadership.
“Being a leader on an international team was something different for me,” he noted, “but I was able to come back to Bismarck and be a guy who stepped up and led by example in the second half of the season thanks to what I learned at World Juniors.”
Ever the consummate teammate, Starzynski hurried back to Bismarck following World Juniors, which ended December 19, to play for the Bobcats against the Russian Red Stars on December 21.
“I definitely did not want to miss our game against the Russians.”
Before Starzynski, Rosenthal and Nick Jensen each played for Team Denmark at the World Junior Championships.
Blue Collar World Tour
“When people see me on the ice, I want them to know that I’m the hardest-working player out there,” Starzynski stated triumphantly.
Sometimes, though, it’s not what the fans see that shows that a guy is the hardest worker. Starzynski consistently earned praise from the 2011-12 Bobcat coaching staff for his attitude and work ethic.
“You could look out on the ice an hour or two after practice any day last season and you’d see ‘Fil’ still out there, still working,” recalled Sedevie. “Usually the rink staff would have to kick him off the ice—and he’d be upset that he couldn’t keep going.”
The forward says he’d stay out for as long as he could to work on basic skills and iron out what he perceived to be on-ice deficiencies.
“My shot. Every day I worked on my shot. It was the weakest part of my game so I was always out there working on it,” admitted Starzynski.
Despite 10 points and a +2 rating for the season despite consistently drawing the toughest defensive matchup each game, Starzynski insists that he can be a bigger contributor in his second season with the Bobcats.
“I want to be able to be more productive—put up more points this season.
“I still want to go out and work hard and get under guys’ skin, but I also want to be able to contribute more on the score sheet for this season.”
Stay tuned to BismarckBobcats.com over the next month as we take you in-depth with every player on the Training Camp Roster in preparation for the 2012-13 season. This week we will also feature Matt Anders, Bryan Nies, Evan Giesler and Levi Blom.