By Warren Kozireski —
Mercyhurst College senior forward Jonny Lazarus doesn’t play on the top line, won’t wow you in the offensive zone. He does go hard to the net and is responsible defensively—just what hockey coaches love from depth players on their team.
And now at the midway point of his final college hockey season, the Syosset native is trying not to look too far ahead and just take in every moment before the next phase of life inevitably begins this spring.
“It goes by pretty fast; the season seems long, but then you look back and wow—how did four years go by,” Lazarus said after the final game of the first half of the season. “I’m just trying to find the positive in every game, have fun every way I can and, obviously the results haven’t been there for our team, but we can go home at break and regroup and hopefully second half finish out pretty strong.”
Lazarus spent his first two seasons of college hockey with the University of Massachusetts and transferred to Mercyhurst prior to last season.
“I loved my time there, but they had a good group there and have been really successful and the coaches were pretty straight up with me and said that I would only get in now and then. Obviously, I wanted better for myself…explored all my options and I’m happy with the way it turned out.”
The 6’0”, 191 lb. winger scored his only goal of the campaign in the season’s first game at Arizona State on the power play and entered the second half with nine goals and nine assists split between the two college teams.
He played juniors for New Jersey in the EHL in 2013-14 before joining Wichita Falls in the NAHL for two seasons where he tallied a combined 25 goals and 74 points in 106 games.
“He’s a great kid,” Mercyhurst head coach Rick Gotkin said. “He comes to the rink every day with a smile on his face, he gives what he has and he’s a guy we rely on to add some offense and I think he’ll get going.
“He competes, he works hard and is a great guy in the locker room. We’re glad he’s here and we’re going to miss him when he graduates.”
Lazarus has devoted some of his non-hockey team time to preparing for the future with one of those experiences interning with the Erie Otters in the OHL in the media relations area. Videos of some of his work can be seen on the Otters website and other outlets, maybe leading to another career option.
“Playing professional hockey is the goal, but it would be another dream of mine,” Lazarus said. “I would like to pursue a career in media or broadcasting.
“I thought it was a great opportunity for me being with the Otters and they obviously have a pretty popular team. Kind of a no-brainer to get some experience (doing vodcasts and other media related work). For me I’ve always loved playing hockey, but skill-wise I don’t know if I’m good enough to go the NHL so I’m trying to find another way if I can.
“I’ve always been a locker room guy and I love getting to know the athletes and the players and I can relate to them, so I feel I can find their personalities and have fans relate to them a little bit.”