Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bigos Gets Scholarship:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Bigos gets scholarship

By Graeme Corbett - Vernon Morning Star - July 03, 2008

Vernon Vipers’ defenceman Kyle Bigos has played hockey all over North America. He can add another destination to the list now he’s accepted a scholarship to play with the Merrimack College Warriors for the 2010-2011 season.In 58 B.C. Hockey League games last season, the Upland, Calif. import earned two goals and 15 assists while piling up 152 penalty minutes. As the season progressed, he learned to become an effective enforcer while providing a steady presence on the blueline. Bigos also worked diligently on his foot speed, often staying after practice with the other Viper d-men to take part in extra skating drills. The organization recognized his hard work by naming him Most Improved Player.“He worked hard at it, and he really improved,” said head coach Mark Ferner. “He’s such a big body, and he has a presence on the ice, but he’s also got good hands and vision. That’s not something you would normally see in a player of his size.”Bigos is also paying closer attention to conditioning this season. He struggled a bit coming into last year’s camp at around 250 pounds. With the help of a new off-season conditioning program, Bigos is working towards a six percent body fat index, which would put him at around 225 pounds.“I started cutting weight up there last year, and things became easier,” said Bigos, who turned 19 in May.Before coming to Vernon, Bigos played Midget AAA with the Notre Dame Hounds of Wilcox, Sask., so being away from home is nothing new to the big man. Although, he does admit to missing Mexican food while he’s away.“It’s nothing I can’t handle,” said Bigos. “I’ve been away for a while now, and it’s just another chance to play hockey and get more education.”The Warriors, who play Division 1 NCAA hockey out North Andover, Mass., just a short drive from downtown Boston, finished last in the Hockey East Conference with 6-18-3.“Knowing that it was a small, private Catholic school was a huge plus for me,” said Bigos.Added Ferner: “He had some offers from other schools, but Kyle felt this one was his best option.”With Viper defensive grads Ryan Kakoske and Isaac Smeltzer moving on, Bigos is looking forward to carrying more responsibility on his considerable shoulders. Ferner plans to play him more often and in all situations over the next two seasons.“Smeltzer and Kakoske were huge leaders for us on the backend, and I’m looking forward to stepping into that role this year,” said Bigos. “I’m looking forward to making a big impact on the D this year, and trying to take us to the RBC (Royal Bank Cup),” Bigos will return to Vernon at the end of July, where the Jones twins, Connor and Kellen, Braden Pimm and Rob Short will join him for some additional training before the Vipers’ main camp, which goes Aug. 19.

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