Former FSU hockey captain Scott Czarnowczan attends Red Wings development camp

TRAVERSE CITY — For many, the Independence Day weekend was a time to relax and take time away from work.

But for former Ferris State defenseman Scott Czarnowczan, he used the holiday weekend to showcase his skills for the Detroit Red Wings at their development camp at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City.

GOING CAMPING: Former Ferris State defenseman Scott Czarnowczan participated in the Detroit Red Wings development camp in Traverse City over the Independence Day weekend. (Pioneer file photo)

GOING CAMPING: Former Ferris State defenseman Scott Czarnowczan participated in the Detroit Red Wings development camp in Traverse City over the Independence Day weekend. (Pioneer file photo)

Czarnowczan, who wrapped up his collegiate career with the Bulldogs this spring, was among 44 players invited to the Red Wings’ camp, which started on Friday and wrapped up on Tuesday. The camps give NHL clubs the opportunity to evaluate some of the game’s top prospects from the junior, collegiate and professional levels.

Both drafted players and free-agent prospects can participate in these camps.

Growing up in Macomb, Czarnowczan said while getting the chance to participate in an NHL developmental camp is an honor in itself, being able to skate with the Red Wings made the opportunity all the more special.

“Living near Detroit and being a hockey fan, I watched the Red Wings growing up,” he said. “You don’t often get the opportunity to go to an NHL development camp, let alone with the team you grew up cheering for. I had a blast doing it and it was a great opportunity for me to work hard and show their coaches what I can do.”

Czarnowczan said the players took part in daily intersquad scrimmages, in addition to player-development sessions and on-ice workouts.

The former Bulldog captain said the Red Wings coaches and staff focused on all aspects of the game during the camp, which was led by former FSU goalie and current Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill, but noted that much of the focus of the weekend was on being a professional both on and off the ice.

“They focused on the skills they want to see from their players on ice, but a lot of the camp was focused on what it takes to be a professional off the ice, too,” he said. “They taught us a lot about how you need to really focus on nutrition and eating the right foods. They really stressed the importance of paying attention to every detail of your game, both on and off the ice.”

Czarnowczan capped off a stellar collegiate career with the Bulldogs this spring, tallying nine goals and 54 assists for 63 points in 141 games. This season, Czarnowczan recorded 25 points on six goals and 19 assists to help the Bulldogs claim the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s (WCHA) regular-season title in the Bulldogs’ first season in the WCHA.

He also helped the Bulldogs make it all the way to the Elite Eight of the 2014 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament, earning him a second team All-WCHA honor and a Senior CLASS All-America Second Team selection.

For a player who was a part of two conference championships in his time at FSU and helped the Bulldogs reach the Frozen Four and earn a national championship game berth in his sophomore season, Czarnowczan said his senior season in Big Rapids was a storybook ending for his collegiate career.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better senior season,” he said. “There isn’t a better way to end my college career after winning the WCHA title and making it as far as we did in the NCAA Tournament.”

Once the Bulldogs were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament, Czarnowczan made his professional debut this spring with the East Coast Hockey League’s (ECHL) Idaho Steelheads. Czarnowczan recorded a pair of assists in 10 games with the Steelheads.

With the Red Wings’ camp wrapped up, Czarnowczan said now he has to wait and see if he gets an invite to the team’s prospect tournament that will run from Sept. 12-16 at Centre Ice Arena.

“Right now, I’m just waiting to hear back from the Red Wings,” he said. “I just have to wait and see what happens, but I’m very thankful that I had the opportunity to come to the prospects camp.”

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