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Vipers alumni: Mike Zalewski

 

(This article was originally published on Jan. 27, 2021)

Mike Zalewski played for the Vipers for only a couple of seasons but the New Hartford, New York, native made it all the way to the National Hockey League.

This is a look at the career of Zalewski thus far from junior to professional hockey in the NHL, American Hockey League, and overseas in Germany and Austria.

Time in Vernon

Zalewski played two seasons in the BC Hockey League with the Vernon Vipers. In the first season of 2010-11, Zalewski had 29 points in 46 games.

He scored the overtime winner that won the BCHL championship for the Vernon Vipers.  He also had the opportunity to go all the way to the Royal Bank Cup in 2011, as Vernon was looking to win the national championship for the third straight time.

In the end, the squad lost 2-0 to the Pembroke Lumber Kings of the Central Canada Hockey League. Zalewski finished with eight points in 16 games.

In his second BCHL season, Zalewski was named Vipers captain exploded for 75 points in 60 games. It was the final year of junior for Zalewski as he went to play college hockey at Rensselaer Polytechnic Insitute the following season.

Zalewski played two years with RPI and finished fifth in team scoring during his freshman season with 21 points in 36 games.

The next season, he finished fourth in team scoring with 26 points in 35 games. Zalewski signed a college free agent deal with the Vancouver Canucks in March 2014.

Professional hockey

Zalewski played in two games with the Canucks at the end of the 2013-14 season, and recorded his first NHL point, an assist.

In the 2014-15 season, Zalewski spent the season with the Canucks AHL affiliate in Utica, New York. He played in 55 games for the Comets and had 12 points.

Zalewski also posted three points in 23 playoff games. He got to be on the team as Utica went all the way to the Calder Cup finals and lost in five games to the Manchester Monarchs.

The following season, Zalewski played in three games with the Canucks and had a single assist. He then was sent back down to Utica and had 33 points in 58 games. He also added a single point in four playoff games.

In the 2016-17 season, after signing a contract extension with Vancouver, it was much of the same for Zalewski. He started the year in Vancouver and played a single game for the Canucks. Zalewski again was sent to the Canucks farm team and had 18 points in 54 AHL games.

In July 2017, Zalewski signed a deal with the Straubing Tigers of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga in Germany. He finished the 2017-18 season with 31 points in 58 games.

Next season, he joined Kolner Haie of the DEL and put up 18 points in 44 games. Zalewski added another three points in 11 playoff games.

For the 2019-20 season, Zalewski played for his third team in three years, as he suited up with the Vienna Capitals of the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga in Austria. It was a solid offensive season for Zalewski as he posted 33 points in 46 games. He also had two points in three playoff games.

In early December, Zalewski signed with his old team in Köln, Germany. As of writing, this has four assists in 11 games.