The Brockport Athletics Department has a "Faces of Brockport" endeavor through which they profile a student-athlete every week at GoBrockport.com. This week, they look at All-American Chase Nieuwendyk...
Chase Nieuwendyk knew from a young age that he wanted to play hockey and didn't let anything get in his way, working his way to become a four year member of the College at Brockport ice hockey team.
Nieuwendyk spent countless hours cheering on his Uncle, Joe Nieuwendyk, who spent 20 seasons playing the NHL. His Uncle is one of 10 players in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup with three different teams and was a two-time Olympian, winning a gold medal with team Canada in 2002.
"I never received any pressure from my family," recalled Nieuwendyk. "They simply wanted me to be happy and it just so happens that the biggest sport in our country made me happy."
The Georgetown, Ontario native spent practically every day at the rink, pushing himself to become a better athlete. His desire to play hockey in juniors and college put an extra spark in his skates, along with the help of one of his biggest fans.
"My Dad was one of my greatest supporters," said Nieuwendyk. "He knows the game better than anyone I know and helped me to get better every day."
All of that hard work paid off at the end of last season when Nieuwendyk was named to the CCM Division II-III Men's Hockey Third-Team All-American. Nieuwendyk had a tremendous junior season, leading the team in scoring with 30 points off of 18 goals and 12 assists in 27 games.
"Last year, making it to the SUNYAC semifinals and taking on Plattsburgh, was a tremendous accomplishment for our team," noted Nieuwendyk. "We all believed that we could do it and we knew that we belonged there."
Nieuwendyk admits that his biggest challenge of his collegiate career has been balancing his schoolwork with his athletics. He quickly learned that time management is an important skill to have and has his sights set on graduating this spring.
"I want to go back to Canada and teach," remarked Nieuwendyk. "The dream would be teaching elementary school and also coaching a junior club hockey team."
This past year, Nieuwendyk was given the opportunity to help coach the Brampton Capitals, a junior team in the Ontario Junior Hockey League. The experience only reinforced what he already knew, that coaching was a blast and is something that he wants to do upon graduation.
Until graduation, Nieuwendyk has his sights set on a SUNYAC Championship.
"We're all in," said Nieuwendyk, "I don't see why we can't win it all. This year, anything less than a championship is a failure."