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 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
3 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 DET 60 34 15 11 176 156 79
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 62 29 34 4 63
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 62 13 26 21 39
B. Nelson 62 17 19 6 36
F. Nielsen 62 11 25 11 36
A. Lee 56 20 12 12 32
J. Bailey 50 12 19 10 31
J. Boychuk 52 7 22 15 29
N. Leddy 62 8 17 14 25
T. Hamonic 52 4 19 16 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 32 13 0 .910 2.49
C. Johnson 8 7 1 .890 2.95

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