Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
 

Back to School

Kevin Czuczman and Anders Lee are graduating college in the Islanders' offseason.

Thursday, 05.29.2014 / 3:29 PM / News
By Cory Wright
X
Share with your Friends


Back to School
Kevin Czuczman and Anders Lee are graduating college in the Islanders\' offseason.

The books piled high on the library table, as Kevin Czuczman buried his head in a Business Law textbook the night before a final exam. Czuczman was cramming in a full slate of review and catching up on all the homework he missed during a 31-day absence from Lake Superior State University.

Signing a two-year deal with the New York Islanders was a worthy reason to miss a month’s worth of class, but Czuczman’s on-campus accolades – MVP and top defenseman of the LSS Lakers – and his exciting NHL debut were a distant memory as he grinded his way through 13 exams in seven days.

Czuczman learned that academic two-a-days can be just as tough as the athletic ones.

“I can’t even explain how ridiculous it was playing in all those games and then writing all those tests,” Czuczman said. “I wrote as many exams as I played NHL games.”

The Islanders called Czuczman up from the classroom to the Coliseum for the final 13 games of the regular season. Just shy of a three-year accelerated degree, it was an easy decision for the 23-year-old to finish his education, even if it was a grind.

“It was something I never want to do again, but I am definitely proud of myself for getting it done,” he said.

Czuczman’s perseverance resulted in a 3.56 GPA, a Finance and Economics degree and a great sense of accomplishment. He walked across the commencement stage on May 4, three weeks after playing the Islanders season finale in Buffalo.

“It was really important for my family and me to get that degree,” Czuczman said. “There’s that peace of mind that you have that to fall back on … and no one can ever take that away from you.”

Czuczman’s school life intertwined with his pro hockey persona. He kept with his online courses and readings throughout his first stint in the NHL and still felt like he was partially in “school mode,” but admitted the transition back to full-time college life was weird.

Czuczman isn’t the only Islander back on campus, as Anders Lee is wrapping up his degree at Notre Dame. While Czuczman spent his nights on Long Island reading through textbooks and completing online courses, Lee deferred his final two classes – both electives – to the summer semester.

“It’ll be strange thinking about academics again,” Lee said. “It’ll be a little weird after being out for a year.”

Lee was a popular athlete at Notre Dame before playing on the Islanders top line, but could return to South Bend, ID, a celebrity.

“Being able to walk across the stage at Notre Dame is quite an accomplishment and something I’ve always taken pride in achieving. Now that I am right there, it’s something that I’m really proud of.”Anders Lee

“It happens,” Lee said of being stopped in the halls. “It’s a small enough school where you know a lot of people there, but there are a lot of high-profile students on the Notre Dame campus.”

Lake Superior State and Notre Dame both marked the returns of their NHLers. Czuczman spoke at the team’s final banquet, where he was honored as a senior player despite graduating in his junior year. Notre Dame let Lee walk across the stage at convocation before officially graduating, allowing him the chance to graduate with friends and teammates.

“Being able to walk across the stage at Notre Dame is quite an accomplishment and something I’ve always taken pride in achieving,” Lee said. “Now that I am right there, it’s something that I’m really proud of.”

He’ll also be on the ice this summer training with the Fighting Irish and mentoring some of the younger players, which he described as giving back after all the support he received along the way.

The end of undergrad signals a life accomplishment for both young men, who took their educations as seriously as they take their hockey careers.

With degrees in hand, Czuczman and Lee are set to head out into the work force.

The NHL is a pretty good first job out of school.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 64 30 35 4 65
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 64 14 27 22 41
B. Nelson 64 17 19 7 36
F. Nielsen 64 11 25 12 36
A. Lee 58 20 13 13 33
J. Bailey 52 12 19 10 31
J. Boychuk 54 7 23 16 30
N. Leddy 64 8 18 15 26
T. Hamonic 54 4 21 15 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 33 13 0 .911 2.46
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

NewYorkIslanders.com is the official Web site of the New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and NewYorkIslanders.com are trademarks of New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P.  NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy |  AdChoices |  Terms of Use |  Contact  Us |  Employment |  Webmaster |  NHL.com Terms of Use