Saturday Sports Q&A: Rochester’s Zmolek setting out to ‘climb the pro hockey ladder’ – Post Bulletin

Riese Zmolek has come far in his hockey profession since graduating from Rochester Century High School in 2015.

He hasn’t had to pass a long way to do it, regardless that.

He performed 3 seasons of highschool hockey, two seasons of junior hockey, 4 seasons of Division I faculty hockey and he is now getting into his 2nd complete season {of professional} hockey. But the Rochester local hasn’t ever performed for a staff that is greater than about 220 miles from Rochester.

Zmolek expects that to be the case once more in the 2022-23 season. He’s in coaching camp this week with the American Hockey League’s Iowa Wild, the Des Moines-based best minor-league associate of the Minnesota Wild. If issues do not pan out for Zmolek with the Iowa Wild, he’s going to play this upcoming season in Coralville, Iowa, simply 25 miles south of Cedar Rapids, the place Zmolek performed junior hockey for the USHL’s Cedar Rapids Roughriders. Coralville is the house to the Iowa Heartlanders, a 2nd-12 months franchise in the ECHL.

Last season, Zmolek performed in 45 video games for the Heartlanders and 10 video games for the Iowa Wild. He scored 4 targets, added 17 assists and had 99 penalty mins in the ones 55 video games.

Zmolek has evolved a name as the final teammate to have. It’s why he used to be named captain at Minnesota State University, Mankato, in the 2020-21 season, when he led the Mavericks to their first-ever Frozen Four look.

This week he is our Saturday Sports Q&A visitor.


Riese Zmolek

POST BULLETIN: Does it really feel other this autumn, heading right into a season realizing what to be expecting?

RIESE ZMOLEK: I feel it does, simply to be in the similar position or neighborhood as closing 12 months in reality is helping. Knowing what to be expecting, you achieve self assurance from that. At every stage you climb in hockey, your sport and your function adjustments — neatly, mine in reality hasn’t modified since junior hockey. (laughs)

PB: You performed for each the Iowa Wild and the Iowa Heartlanders closing 12 months. What’s the largest distinction between the AHL and the ECHL?

R.Z.: I feel for the maximum section it is beautiful shut. Once I were given over my nerves, I spotted it wasn’t an enormous bounce. The largest factor in the AHL is each and every staff, all 4 traces are very professional and will rating. They can rating at any time. The just right ECHL groups have two, two-and-a-part traces that may do this.

PB: You’re an excessively bodily participant. How would you describe your function with the Heartlanders, particularly since, not like faculty, combating is authorized in the ECHL?

R.Z.: Obviously I’ve at all times been a defensive-defenseman. I take a look at to be bodily with out crossing a line. I will get over excited slightly bit (sticking up for teammates) as a result of my feelings, however I need to be a bodily participant. I’m being used to being in a position to struggle, however I are not looking for to be over the best with it. Be bodily, however keep out of the (penalty) field. My trainer is aware of my desires and targets and he is were given me excited to stay my construction going.

PB: You’ve performed a large number of hockey in Iowa — two years in Cedar Rapids (2015-17), now two years professionally. Has the game grown there in that point?

R.Z.: It began for me in Cedar Rapids, then my brothers each performed there and I used to be lucky sufficient to watch them play there. Now I’m (in Iowa) once more. The game has endured to develop there. Just from speaking to enthusiasts, I listen fairly somewhat ‘I’d by no means been to a hockey sport earlier than, however after going, now I like it.’ The formative years methods have in reality grown there, too.

PB: What are your hopes for this season?

R.Z.: Personally, my defensive sport is my sturdy swimsuit — have my teammates backs and be bodily. I’ve to proceed to develop offensively and paintings on my skating. I need to be informed and strengthen that a part of my sport, with out sacrificing defensively. I need to in finding a couple of means to give a contribution. I nonetheless need to climb the pro hockey ladder and get to upper ranges.

PB: Looking again to your faculty profession, you helped Minnesota State, Mankato, get to the Frozen Four for the first time. Last 12 months, the Mavericks went to the nationwide championship sport. This 12 months, they are ranked No. 3 in the nation to get started the season. What does it imply to had been this sort of large a part of that program’s endured enlargement?

R.Z.: It’s beautiful cool to glance again on, profitable (4) MacNaughton Cups (as the WCHA, then CCHA champions), getting to the NCAA Tournament once a year, excluding the COVID 12 months. That used to be possibly the absolute best staff I used to be on there, a really perfect squad with guys like Reggie Lutz, Parker Tuomie, Connor Mackey, that used to be a really perfect squad. (My brother) Benny is there now and it is in reality cool to watch, to see the pleasure the group has for that staff and that program. I did not get to watch the championship sport closing 12 months. We have been taking part in, then I were given off the ice and checked the rating … I used to be in reality bummed for the ones guys, however every 12 months they proceed to set the bar upper. I’m happy to see them get the reputation for what trainer (Mike) Hastings began development 10 years in the past. They deserve it in the entirety they do. They need to win and I’m more than pleased for them and the luck they have had.

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