Created: 03/14/2014 11:04 PM WNYT.com
By: RPI Athletics & WNYT Sports
TROY, N.Y. - Mike Zalewski, who just completed his sophomore season with the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) men's hockey team, has signed a free agent National Hockey League contract with the Vancouver Canucks. One of the team's most dynamic forwards, Zalewski forgoes his final two years of college eligibility. He will join the Canucks on their current road trip, which goes through Washington, Florida and Tampa Bay.
"It is a bittersweet time for me and my family. Being at RPI the last two years has been a terrific experience in which I have developed a great deal as a player, in particular as a 'power forward', said Zalewski. "I have my coaches and teammates to thank for helping me grow into the player I am today. I am very excited for this opportunity with such a first-class organization like Vancouver. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to play in the NHL and the Canucks are providing that chance."
"We are thrilled to see Mike earn his lifelong dream of signing an NHL contract going directly from RPI to the NHL," said RPI head coach Seth Appert. "His work ethic has helped him develop into a power forward in his two years at RPI. He is a great teammate and will be missed, but we are excited to watch him with the Vancouver Canucks."
In 35 games this season, the New Hartford, N.Y., native scored nine goals with 17 assists for 26 points. Two of his goals came shorthanded, while another was a game-winning marker. He also had a game-tying goal. He was also whistled for 17 penalties for 53 minutes.
Zalewski appeared in 20 ECAC Hockey contests, generating 13 points on four goals and nine assists with one shorthanded tally.
As a freshman in 2012-13, Zalewski had 12 goals and nine assists for 21 points in 36 games. Eight of those goals came in ECAC Hockey play, while two came on the power-play. He was assessed 11 penalties for 22 minutes.
In 71 career games over his two seasons, the former Vernon Vipers standout had 21 goals and 26 assists for 47 points. The Business & Managment major was an ECAC Hockey All-Academic selection in 2012-13.