Newest UNH Recruit Jason Kalinowski Prepares for Prep Hockey Season
Summer Camp & Conditioning
The summer of 2011 was marked by significant advancements in Jason Kalinowski's hockey career. The 6 feet, 185 pound forward earned an invitation to the USA Hockey Select 16 Development Camp. During the last week of June, Kalinowski travelled from his home in Stamford, CT to Rochester, NY to participate in the camp which attracted the top 182 American players born in 1995. This marked the third summer in a row that Kalinowski was invited to the USA Hockey Select Camps. He also participated in the Select 15 Camp in 2010 and Select 14 Camp in 2009. This year, he played in 6 intersquad games and his team made it to the finals of the team competition. Among his competitors were top 1995 prospects such as Gabe Guertler (Fargo Force; Minnesota commit), Hudson Fasching (USNTDP; uncommitted), and Steven Santini (USNTDP; BC commit). Overall, Kalinowski scored 2 goals and 2 assists in 6 games and was tied for 7th place in scoring. One week later, in early July, Jason Kalinowski turned 16.
Throughout the summer, Kalinowski participated in a rigorous training program at the Blue Streak Sports Training Facility in Stamford. The Apex Hockey Training Program was conducted in 2-hour daily sessions, Monday through Friday, for 12 weeks. The program is designed for professional, college and prep/high school players. In an interview in the Stamford Advocate, Kalinowski said:
"We were lifting weights. We were working on the (hockey) treadmill. There were skating drills which gave me very quick strides on ice. It developed my quickness. The bench presses gave me strength. And the drills gave me quick feet."
Fall Hockey Season
Ever since he was an 11-year-old Pee Wee player, Jason Kalinowski has played on travel teams for the Mid Fairfield Youth Hockey Association based in southern Connecticut. Mid Fairfield is a Tier 1 AAA USA Hockey association and its teams participate in the USA Hockey New England District and National Championships. Last season, as a 15-year-old, Kalinowski lead his Midget Minor 1 team to the National Championship Tournament played in early April in Simsbury, CT. Although the Mid Fairfield Blues lost three games in the opening round of the 2011 Tier 1 16 and Under (16U) Tournament, Kalinowski lead the team in scoring with 3 goals and an assist.
The Mid Fairfield midget teams (16U-Minor 1 & 18U-Major), like most other midget teams in New England, play their fall season from late August until the first weekend in November. The players then play the winter season for prep and high school teams. The culmination of the fall season for the Mid Fairfield Blues is the Tier 1 AAA New England Regional Tournament. They play teams from New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island to determine which team will play in the National Championship Tournament in the spring. After his successful season with the Midget Minor 1 team in 2010-11, Jason Kalinowski faced a decision about whether to move up to the Midget Major team this fall.
This week, I had an opportunity to talk with Matt Stack, Head Coach of the Mid Fairfield Blues Midget Minor 1 team about Jason Kalinowski's progress. He also works with Jason in his capacity as Vice President of Hockey at Blue Streak Sports Training. Coach Stack was enthusiastic in describing Jason's strengths which include:
~ "A compete factor second to none."
~ He plays a "physically brutal style, always finishing his hits."
~ As a center and winger, he has a solid two-way game and has a "strong defensive game."
~ He's "very consistent every game" and "wakes up everyday focused and determined."
~ He plays on the 1st powerplay and penalty kill units.
According to Coach Stack, Kalinowski was offered a position on the Blues Midget Major squad this season. Coach Stack advised Jason to consider the toll his physical style of play might take competing with 17 and 18-year-olds for 20+ games in the fall and another 25+ games during the prep hockey season. Kalinowski decided to return to the Midget Minor 1 team in part because he reportedly wanted to help the team make the National Tournament again this spring and advance further in the competition.
Kalinowski and the Mid Fairfield Blues began the fall competition in late August. The highpoint of the early season was the Labor Day Face-Offs held in Marlborough, MA. The tournament attracts top U16 teams from the northeast as well as numerous college coaches/recruiters. Coach Stack reports that Kalinowski was having an outstanding tournament until he was slashed in the forearm in the semifinal game and left with an injury. The Blues ended up winning the U16 Division defeating the Greater Boston Junior Bruins 6-3 in the finals.
The UNH coaching staff reportedly were initially impressed with Jason Kalinowski at the New England Prep School Playoffs last spring. According to Coach Stack, UNH Associate Coach Scott Borek attended the Labor Day Tournament and offered Jason the opportunity to play for the Wildcats. In verbally accepting the offer in mid-September, Kalinowski said:
"When my mom and I went to visit the campus, we attended a New Hampshire hockey home game. The arena was packed. The atmosphere was electric. And the academics there fit into what I want to study."
Following his injury at the Labor Day Tournament, Kalinowski missed 10 games. He returned to the Mid Fairfield lineup on October 16th. In the 11 games he has played this fall, he has 9 goals, 11 assists, and 10 two-minute penalties. Next Friday and Saturday, November 4th and 5th, Kalinowski and the Blues Midget Minor 1 team will compete at the Tier 1 AAA New England Regional Tournament. All games are played at the Jackman L. Stewart Athletic Center on the campus of the Berkshire School in Sheffield, MA. The impressive facility has an Olympic-sized and a NHL Regulation-sized rink.
Following the Midget Minor Regionals, Jason Kalinowski will put away the blue and gold colors of his Mid Fairfield team and don the Crimson of the Salisbury School. The prep school schedule for 2011-12 is not yet available but Salisbury typically begins their Founders League season in early December. Follow Kalinowski's progress throughout the winter in the UNH Recruit Updates.