Varsity News – Malchuk learns on fly at RPI

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When Joel Malchuk walks on campus, he's surrounded by some of the smartest people you can assemble in once place. He's at a school with a world-renowned reputation in the sciences, boasting a faculty of engineering that is perhaps only second to MIT among American universities.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/03/2011 (4261 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

When Joel Malchuk walks on campus, he’s surrounded by some of the smartest people you can assemble in once place. He’s at a school with a world-renowned reputation in the sciences, boasting a faculty of engineering that is perhaps only second to MIT among American universities.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s nickname is the Engineers, for heaven’s sake. It’s not exactly a name that strikes fear in competition, unless that competition is to be the first to recite the second law of thermodynamics.

Malchuk may be a jock at RPI, but he’s no dumb jock. Dumb jocks don’t play hockey and go get their Masters degree. And it’s not a Masters of Basketweaving, either.

The 22-year-old Brandonite began work on his Masters of Science in Management with a concentration in finance this year, all the while playing a role with the RPI men’s hockey team’s run to the NCAA Division 1 tournament.

“It sounds a lot better than it is,” he joked.

Modesty aside, Malchuk has carved himself a nice niche at the Troy, N.Y., campus. Despite being a four-year member of the team, he is officially a redshirt junior after a knee injury wiped out most of his freshman season. So when the Engineers were beaten 6-0 by the North Dakota Fighting Sioux in the first round of the 16-team NCAA tournament last weekend, it didn’t spell the end of Malchuk’s playing days.

Good thing, too, because the former Dauphin King is enjoying life in the town located on the banks of the Hudson River, just a few miles from the state capital of Albany.

“You have so much support here, whether it’s through the coaching staff, teachers or the academic advisors, I can’t say enough good things about RPI,” he said. “… I think it’s one of the best places to play in the country. Obviously I haven’t been to a lot of campuses, but I know in the ECAC it’s probably top two places to play, with Cornell being the other one. We get one of the highest attendances in the ECAC and then we’ve got a large student section and they’re always cheering and chanting and then we’ve got our band playing in the stands. It’s a lot of fun every game and it’s pretty easy to get up for the games when you’ve got that much support behind you.”

Malchuk doesn’t speak regretfully about having his season ended by one of the best teams in the country. The Sioux outscored opponents 12-1 on the weekend and will play Michigan in a Frozen Four semifinal tomorrow.

“I think we had a lot to be proud of,” he said. “Only 16 teams out of every team in college makes the tournament, so I think that’s definitely something to be proud of. We didn’t play the way we wanted to, the outcome wasn’t what we wanted, but just to make it there was something to be proud of.”

Malchuk, who had 22 goals and 61 points in his final year of junior in Dauphin, has been used more as a grinder at RPI, scoring six times and adding eight assists in 35 games, with a +10 plus/minus rating. It’s a role he has happily taken on.

“I was never really a finesse player and I was able to get points through hard work,” he said. “When I came out here I kept playing hard, but I wasn’t put in the offensive role as much as I was in Dauphin. So I’ve played more of a checker, defensive role. I always play physical all my life, so it wasn’t something I had to change really. It’s the way I play and I wasn’t going to change it when I came here.”

IN OTHER NEWS:

Brandon University will run both a men’s and women’s basketball spring league this year. BU announced Tuesday that a men’s league has been added to the long-running women’s league, with both leagues starting May 10. Registration is $100 per player For more information, go to www.gobobcats.ca … Killarney Collegiate’s Darris Hardern is this week’s rural high school athlete of the week. The Grade 12 student won a provincial 2A silver medal in basketball as well as in hockey as the team’s goaltender. He went 11-3 backstopping the Raiders hockey team and averaged 11 points, five assists, four steals and four rebounds per game as the basketball team’s starting point guard. … The Saint Mary’s Huskies women’s hockey team, given the death penalty by the school less than two weeks ago, has been given a stay, thanks to Canadian Tire, which donated $61,000 to help the program play in 2011-12. Public outcry after the March 18 decision by SMU to axe the program because of financial concerns persuaded the school to revisit the issue.

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