Near the end of March, the expansion Cranbrook Bucks were busy preparing for their inaugural season. Among other news items, the team had recruited it’s first six players. However, they had yet to fill arguably the most important position on the roster, the masked man between the pipes. That changed on March 30, when the team announced a commitment from Jacob Zacharewicz.
The 2001-born goaltender from Riverhead, New York, joins the Bucks from Islanders Hockey Club, in the United States Premier Hockey League. He is also an alumnus of the P.A.L Junior Islanders, and the Long Island Royals AAA. He attended USA Hockey’s Select 16 and 17 Player Development Camps in consecutive years. At the Select 17 camp in 2018, Zacharewicz was named an all-star.
— LI Royals (@LIRoyalsAAA) July 2, 2018
In addition to the USA Hockey Selects events, Zacharewicz has also attended the Quebec International Peewee Tournament, as well as Mac’s U18 AAA Tournament in Calgary.
Zacharewicz has been chosen in entry drafts of both the United States Hockey League and the North American Hockey League. In 2018, the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL selected him in the 11th round, 174th overall. The following year, the Northeast Generals selected Zacharewicz in the seventh round, 167th overall in the 2019 NAHL Entry Draft.
Zacharewicz commits to Brown University
Midway through August 2018, Zacharewicz committed to Brown University for the fall of 2021. He was just 17-years-old when he committed to the NCAA Division I school, after an impressive all-star season with the Junior Islanders.
In an article on the USPHL website, Zacharewicz described how his commitment to Brown University became a reality.
”My relationship with Brown began shortly after this year’s Select 17 Festival. They contacted me after the camp and things went fairly quickly after then. I built a relationship with the coaches of Brown through frequent communication. I toured their campus and fell in love with it instantly. I can tell they are working on having a bright future and I want to be a part of it,” said Zacharewicz.
Jacob Zacharewicz (@PALIslandersAAA): “My game has improved tremendously throughout my two seasons with the U16 P.A.L. Jr. Islanders."
— USPHL (@USPHL) August 22, 2018
In that same article, he also added that his idol growing up on Long Island was former New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro. Let’s take a closer look at Zacharewicz’s time leading up to his commitment to the Bucks.
Zacharewicz’s road from Long Island to Cranbrook
Zacharewicz spent consecutive seasons playing 16U AAA for the P.A.L. Junior Islanders in the USPHL in 2016-17 and 2017-18. In 13 regular season games in his first year, he carried a respectable 2.56 goals-against-average, and a .916 save percentage. He also played two playoff games that season, in which he had a 5.10 GAA and a .816 SV%.
Zacharewicz competed at the OHL Cup in the spring of 2017, with Elite Hockey Group. He played two games in the tournament, going 2-0, with a 2.22 GAA and a .925 SV%. In an article posted on the OHL Cup’s website, Zacharewicz was listed as a player to watch in the tournament.
The following season, Zacharewicz went 10-3 with a sparkling 1.47 GAA and .939 SV% for the Islanders. He would add another playoff game to his resume that season, posting a 1.68 GAA and a .941 SV% in that game. Zacharewicz was named a USPHL 16U all-star that year.
To cap off his impressive 2017-18 season, Zacharewicz attended USA Hockey’s Select 17 camp in July. In three appearances at the event, he carried a 1.92 GAA and a .943 SV%, along with one shutout. He was named an all-star for his work at the event as well.
— PAL Junior Islanders (@PALIslanders) May 17, 2018
Zacharewicz then spent the 2018-19 season in the National Collegiate Development Conference with the Junior Islanders. In five games played, he had a 3-2 record, a 3.20 GAA, and a .917 SV%.
Last season, Zacharewicz played for Islanders Hockey Club, also in the NCDC. He posted a 13-5-2 record, had a 2.43 GAA and a .930 SV% in 22 games played.
Zacharewicz becomes Bucks first goalie
When the Cranbrook Bucks introduced Zacharewicz as the franchise’s first committed goaltender, they were confident in the guy chosen to backstop the team in its first season. Bucks head coach and general manager Ryan Donald shared his thoughts on the signing in the team’s news release.
”Early in the roster building process it was important for us to identify a goaltender that was driven, highly competitive, and self-motivated,” said Donald. ”Jacob represents all of these things and more. With Jacob, we are getting a goaltender that can step in and immediately give us a chance to win every night, while continuing to grow and evolve individually. He comes highly recommended by the coaching staff at Brown University where he is slated to enroll in the fall of 2021.”
At the time of his commitment, Zacharewicz joined a mix of three forwards and three defensemen to previously commit to the Bucks. Like those that came before him and those that will come after, the 19-year-old goalie is ready to make an impact in the BCHL.