Earlier this week news broke of major changes for the University of Wisconsin’s men’s hockey program. However those changes to the coaching staff weren’t the only ones happening. On Friday afternoon the Badgers athletic department announced that sophomore forward Morgan Zulinick was leaving the program behind to tend to his family back in Kamloops, British Columbia.
Zulinick has a three-year old son back home, and the strain of being away from him and the rest of his family has taken its toll on him.
“I’ve decided after three years here at Wisconsin, my heart is back home with my family and my son, Noah,” Zulinick explained. “I’ve found my desire to be back home with Noah outweighs my desire to continue on playing hockey. I think I really need this.”
In terms of the hockey program, it is a big blow to a team that comes in to next season needing any and all scoring punch possible.
“As hard as it is from a hockey standpoint — he would have been a leader on our team next year - it is the right decision for Morgan at this time and we wish him well. He is a terrific young man.”
Zulinick ranked third on the Badgers this season in scoring with 15 points on five goals and 10 assists in 34 games. In 78 careers games at Wisconsin, spanning two years and an injury-shortened freshman season, he posted 33 points on nine goals and 24 assists.
Still, for a parent it has to be difficult to be away from home and Zulinick has decided family is more important than the game of hockey overall.
“In talking to Morgan throughout his time here, he would talk all the time at how much Noah would change when he would see him after three or four months. He tried to stay up with him on the computer, but he had a heavy heart. Probably the best hockey he played this year was over semester break when his family was here. He lit it up on the scoresheet and played with great energy because he was glad his son was here.”
Zulinick has shared the news with his teammates, who are well aware of Zulinick’s family situation.
“I’ve talked to my roommates and a couple other of my teammates, so word has gotten around,” Zulinick added. “Some of the guys have asked me about it, and I told them, and asked them what they thought and what they would do. They have been unbelievable with their support. A lot of them said they don’t know how I’ve been doing it. Every one of them has met Noah.”