After a knee injury cut short his rookie season, Fredonia State sophomore forward Jared Wynia is looking to build on his success in his second year.
Wynia has two goals in five games so far this season, both of them coming on the power play. He led the Blue Devils in power play goals last year and was fifth on the team in points with 15. Despite missing the last five conference games of the season, Wynia earned SUNY Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Rookie of the Year.
“Obviously, I’m pretty happy about that but it definitely could have gone to anybody,” said Wynia, the 22-year-old from Calgary, Alberta. “It worked out great, I was pretty proud to get that. My mom and dad were very proud.”
If Wynia won’t boast about his abilities on the ice, his coach will certainly do it for him.
“I think he got a lot of respect from the coaches around the league,” said Head Coach Jeff Meredith. “For Jared to be able to not only win it but [win it] without playing all of the games was really just amazing.”
Receiving the honor didn’t come easy as Wynia was among a talented group of players in the conference. The SUNYAC is one of the most competitive NCAA Division III conferences in the country, with two of the teams currently nationally ranked in the top five.
Wynia grew up in Calgary, and played peewee hockey with Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers for the Bow Valley Buccaneers. Most recently, the two met up over the summer for a Buccaneers reunion and Myers’ surprise jersey retirement party. They still see each other every once in a while, and more often now since they are only about an hour from each other during the NHL season.
“We see each other a couple times over the summer, that’s it,” explained Wynia. “If the NHL was going on right now we would definitely be able to see each other here and there.”
Wynia had the opportunity to stay in Calgary to play collegiate hockey but chose to play in the United States instead. Meredith noticed his abilities and character right away, showing positive qualities both on and off the ice.
“We really liked the way he played,” said Meredith, now in his 25th season as head coach at Fredonia. “Once we had a chance to find out more about him, we learned that he was a great kid and he was a very good student. He’s our kind of guy and we worked hard to get him here.”
Fredonia was an easy choice for Wynia. A former Blue Devil and good friend from home, Mitch Kulikoski, persuaded him enough to make the 2,000 mile trip for a visit. One of the main reasons he chose Fredonia was the players he would gain as teammates the following year.
“I decided to come down here for a weekend. All the boys were great,” said Wynia. “It was a good group of guys to be with for four years, and then getting to play hockey on top of that.”
Wynia was certainly the type of player Meredith looks for in all prospective players.
“He’s pretty smart. He understands the game; he sees the ice and knows where to go to put himself in the best situation,” said Meredith. “That’s just one of those things that is hard to teach. You either get it or you don’t.”
After missing the last seven games of his freshman season due to a knee injury, Wynia is looking forward to picking up where he left off. He hopes to build on the success of his rookie season and continue to contribute to the team, hopefully all the way to the conference championship.
As far as life after college goes, Wynia is going to see where these next three years will take him. Having the chance to continue to play hockey after college is something he’s considered, but he’s not ruling out finding a job either. A summer internship at a national sport development facility opened the door to many possibilities.
“Some days I was on the ice all day, and sometimes I was in the training facility teaching kids to shoot,” said Wynia. “I got to go to actual meetings and see how the actual business side was run. That was my first time ever doing anything like that and I loved it.”
He still has a few years to think about his future, but for now he’ll focus on hockey, and he looks forward to his next three seasons with the Blue Devils.
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