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Chubak lives college hockey dream at UNK: Storm goalie getting different student athlete experience than most
Jennifer Kardell
Antelope Staff
Photo by Jennifer Kardell
Growing up in the middle of Canada, picking up the sport of hockey was a given for Carsen Chubak. He would like to earn a degree to fall back on if his professional hockey dreams do not come true.

He may have never been to a NCAA Division I football game like most of us, but Tri-City Storm goalie Carsen Chubak will be making a name for himself in Division I hockey at Niagara University this fall.

Chubak hails from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and is experiencing life as a college hockey player in a different way than most college hockey players. Chubak attends UNK as a full-time student as well as keeping up with his duties as a goaltender for his hockey team. With a schedule as crazy as Chubak’s, it may seem like it could be hard to keep up, but the Storm net minder is enjoying every minute of it. “It can get overwhelming at times, but this is what I chose to do and most of the time I enjoy it even if it is difficult,” Chubak said.

Attending classes at UNK was not exactly his plan, but something that was chosen for him by NCAA rules. In order to continue playing for the Storm after he turns 21, which is the cut off age for the United States Hockey League, he was required to enroll. “I was actually forced to by an NCAA rule. If I was not enrolled in full classes, I would not be able to play after my 21st birthday, which will come in the playoffs. It also allows me to have a 12-credit head start when I go to college.”

His life as a college-athlete is a little different than the UNK athletes on campus. His schedule requires him to play a 60-game season that begins in September and runs through April or May, depending on playoffs. During that season Chubak and his team can travel as far as Youngstown, Ohio, which is over 1,000 miles away.  Luckily for him, the teachers have been accommodating, and the campus community has been very welcoming, even though most students may not know who he is. “I believe the teachers treat me the same as they treat other UNK athletes. All the teachers have been very helpful, and I am learning a lot. As for the students, I find most of the students do not know that I play for the Storm, unless the teacher says something. I hope that my being a part of the UNK community will help bring interest to the students of UNK because we enjoy the energy of the college crowd at our games. Overall, I would say everyone has been very welcoming,” Chubak said.

The Canada native has learned to handle the differences on the ice also. Goaltending is a much different role than that of his teammates. Being a goaltender is an important and tough job. “The role of a goaltender is to give confidence to your team in knowing that if they make a mistake you will likely save them. Also, it is important that a goaltender can lead by example and be the backbone of the team. It is different from being a player because a goaltender rarely gets to celebrate if he makes a good play. Composure is a key to goaltending, whereas players can get excited and still do their job well,” Chubak said.

This is the first and the only semester for the sports management major, but college hockey is far from over for him.

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