The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Student enjoys rare Southern pastime: playing hockey

By Eric Poe/sports editor

SE student Nicholas Zaporozan is a sports minority: a hockey player in Texas.

“No one in Texas takes hockey seriously,” he said. “I enjoy it because there’s not a lot of people who play it. It’s nice to be that 1 percent.”

Zaporozan said his heritage was a main factor in his choice of sport.

“I’m actually Canadian, so it’s in my blood,” he said. “My dad taught me the game.”

Zaporozan and his father play on the same recreational hockey team together.

“It’s pretty fun,” he said. “Playing with my dad is awesome. We help each other out.”

Before he attended TCC, Zaporozan was a state champion at Martin High School in Arlington even though it was the first time he had played hockey on ice.

“I probably started playing on the street when I was 4,” he said. “I played inline when I was about 10. I started playing ice hockey when I got to high school. The main part of it is the skating. Skating is easier on ice because you have blades. You can get those different cuts.”

In 2009, Zaporozan’s senior year, Martin took the state championship.

“We played Plano Senior, I believe,” he said. “It was 6-3, but it should’ve been 6-2. The other team scored with five seconds left after we dogpiled the goalie [celebrating].”

Zaporozan said they did this without being an actual school team.

“The school never actually recognized the hockey team as an official club,” he said. “That year, my mom was president of the club, and she got the school to recognize it and got a trophy put in the trophy case.”

Zaporozan said that year’s team was the best he’s been on.

“We were pretty dominant,” he said. “We went 28-1-2, and our only loss was an overtime loss in a shootout.”

Zaporozan’s former coach Louie Greco praised his leadership abilities.

“He was one of the leaders in the locker room, and that helped me a lot,” he said. “Nick’s role was keeping other players on his line in check.”

Greco said Zaporozan was vital to the team’s success.

“He helped everyone realize their role is just as important as anybody else’s,” he said. “You can’t win a championship without that.”

The high school success didn’t translate to a college hockey career, however.

“It [playing in college] would obviously be nice,” Zaporozan said, “but schools down here don’t get much recognition.”

Zaporozan did attend UTA after high school but left after a semester when he developed a back injury, from which he is still recovering.

“With the surgery, I couldn’t make it to class, but I got a medical withdrawal,” he said. “They [UTA] were cool about it. But I can’t go back for two years.”

Zaporozan said his back injury is still holding him back on the ice.

“I’ve been medically cleared for a year now,” he said. “But it’s pretty hard coming back. There’s definitely some work to be had, but, hopefully, I’ll get back up there. The hardest thing was not being able to play.”

Zaporozan said his specialty in the rink is his puck handling.

“I’m very good with my hands,” he said. “As they say in hockey, I’m a good dancer. That means I can skate around people.”

High school teammate Peyden Russell said Zaporozan was a key member of the team.

“Nick was a winger and a big guy on the ice,” he said. “He was a threat.”

Russell said Zaporozan’s style of play benefited the team.

“He always skated the hardest,” he said. “He was not really a point-getter, but he set up a bunch of plays. And he’s a humble guy.”

Zaporozan said he wants to keep hockey in his life after college.

“My major is sports management,” he said. “I’m OK with baseball and football, but my main goal is ideally to be G.M. [general manager] of the Dallas Stars. You got to aim big.”

Zaporozan said he would also like to get into coaching.

“My dad taught me the game,” he said. “And at some point, I’ll be a coach for my little guy.”

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian