Nate Repensky’s junior hockey career ended when he suffered a broken leg in the final game of the Bismarck Bobcats’ season.
While Repensky was forced to sit out the North American Hockey League’s postseason, the impact he had on the regular season did not go unnoticed. Repensky was named Defenseman of the Year in voting by NAHL coaches this week.
“It’s obviously nice to be recognized for the hard work I’ve put in,” said Repensky, a Yale University recruit who is back home in Duluth, Minn. waiting for the chance to move to the more active phase of his injury rehabilitation. “I talked to my dad about it, and we both kind of agreed that at this point, awards are nice, but they don’t come with any golden ticket that guarantees playing time next year.
“The plan for this summer is to put in a lot of hard work, and that hasn’t changed.”
Repensky has had to go through rehabilitation before, including for bilateral hip surgery to repair both labrums.
“I’m absolutely comfortable with what I have to do and the work ahead,” he said.
Repensky has not pinned down a major at Yale but hopes to be studying the science behind athletic training.
The training Repensky has put in to date helped him make a significant impact on the NAHL after playing at Duluth East High School. He scored 27 points in 37 games in the 2012-13 season to make the NAHL all-rookie team and enter this season as one of the building blocks of one of the league’s most consistently successful franchises.
“With the year that he had, we knew that he was going to be our mainstay,” Bobcats coach Layne Sedevie said. “He was going to be the focus of what we wanted to build our D corps around, and the things he could do on the power play were a big bonus for us as well.”
Repensky did not disappoint. He led NAHL defensemen in points (50) and assists (38) while finishing plus-18.
“His puck skills, vision and how well he can move the puck are obviously part of it,” Sedevie said, “but he can defend well, and that’s a big reason he’s going to a program like Yale.”
Once his leg heals, it will be time for Repensky to prepare for that next step.
“For me, the key to focus on this summer is just skating,” Repensky said. “If you can’t skate, you can’t play the game at a high level, or it makes it a lot tougher.
“I’ve always felt like I’ve had decent quickness, but I’ll just be working on being a little smoother out there and a little more effortless. It will give me an edge if I can get better with that.”
In addition to Repensky, several others were honored with awards based on the 2013-14 regular season.
League scoring champion Alec Butcher of the Kenai River Brown Bears was named Most Valuable Player and Forward of the Year.
Other award winners were: Goaltender of the Year, P.J. Bridges, Topeka RoadRunners; Rookie of the Year, T.J. Roo, Aberdeen Wings; Coach of the Year, Trevor Stewart, Fairbanks Ice Dogs; General Manager of the Year, Rob Proffitt, Fairbanks; Organization of the Year, Fairbanks; Academic Achievement Award, Logan Halladay, Janesville Jets; and Community Service Award, Collin Delia, Amarillo Bulls.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.