BISMARCK, ND–The latest Bobcat to make an NCAA Division I hockey commitment will only be worried about “hockey weather” when he is on the road.
Filip Starzynski (Warsaw, Poland) has committed to the University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers hockey program for the 2014-15 season. The Chargers play in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA).
For Starzynski, it’s another achievement in a hockey career that includes three years with the Bobcats, four seasons in the NAHL, and four opportunities to play with his native Poland’s national team, captioning that team twice.
“It’s well-deserved, based on what he has brought to our program over the last three years,” said Bobcat head coach Layne Sedevie. “Filip has been a leader for us, and always plays the game with a lot of energy. He has been a big part of our success.”
“He will continue to be a fan favorite in Huntsville, like he has been here,” added Bobcat assistant coach Garrett Roth. “The way Filip plays the game will fit in well with the fans there, who are really excited about hockey.”
“It’s my dream come true,” said Starzynski of the commitment. “It’s what I’ve worked hard for every day for the past three years. It seems like a really good opportunity to pursue my hockey career.”
Starzynski has fought off significant injury to post his best season in junior hockey this year. Despite missing 17 games to an extended lower-body injury, he as racked up 37 points on 13 goals and 24 assists in just 37 games, fourth overall on the Bobcats.
“I still go to physical therapy to get the ankle back to 100 percent. Thank God it’s the first serious injury I’ve ever had, where I has to miss that many games. But I feel like I have recovered well,” explained Starzynski.
The Bobcats have had Starzynski’s services for three seasons, after he started his junior career with seven games for Aberdeen in 2010-11. He posted 10 points for the Bobcats in 2011-12, then 23 last season, with five more in the playoffs.
Team Poland selected Starzynski four times for international competition, with his true leadership role spotlighted in those games. He played for their U-18 team at the World Junior Championships twice, captioning the team in 2010-11. He wore the alternate patch on their U-20 team in 2011-12, and captioned their team in 2012-13.
Starzynski says his experience with the Bobcats has driven him to Division I hockey. “I’ve been here three years, and I’ve developed every year. If you work hard enough, the resources we have here will get you to the next level.”
Alabama-Huntsville has a storied, and rugged, hockey history. Founded as a club team in 1979, the team became a full varsity Chargers program at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in 1985. They quickly moved to NCAA Division II competition in 1986, and then to Division I in 1987.
The Chargers returned to Division II competition in 1994, as the NCAA restored Division II play, but returned to Division I in 1998. The team nearly folded after the dissolution of their conference, College Hockey America, in 2010.
Stabilization came with the ripple effects of realignment of two prominent hockey conferences. After the formation of the Big 10’s hockey conference, and several WCHA members forming the current National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC), Alabama-Huntsville was granted membership in the WCHA.