first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 6, 2019 at 12:37 am Contact Arabdho: armajumd@syr.edu | @aromajumder center_img At the far end of the Tennity Ice Pavilion bleachers, Jill Harrington stood and yelled, “Go ‘Cuse.” It was the championship game for the Syracuse club men’s ice hockey team. Standing next to her, the Orange’s women’s ice hockey head coach, Paul Flanagan, was at the game to watch his son. He asked Harrington which of the players her son was.“Oh, he’s the one with the bowtie there in the penalty box doing the PA announcing,” she said. Harrington’s son, Michael Kuruc, was the team manager.The head coach noted Kuruc looked “in charge,” she said. Flanagan was looking for a director of hockey operations, he continued, and he told Harrington to have Kuruc call him.Now a senior, Kuruc is in that role while also being a video coordinator for Syracuse (10-21-3, 10-8-2 College Hockey America). Kuruc’s job hasn’t changed much in his three years with the team, he said. He “tags” plays during games, making it easier for players to go back and watch film specific to them, and he helps put together film packages for pregame scouting. His prep will help the Orange as they begin the CHA Tournament against Lindenwood in the first quarterfinal on Wednesday.“He’s been a three-year player,” Flanagan said. “Really, he’s part of the family. We’ve gotten to know him, he’s buddies with the kids but he keeps it professional.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAnna Henderson | Digital Design EditorKuruc hopes Syracuse is the first step to an eventual Division I head coach position. He likely won’t be staying with the Orange after graduating at the end of this semester, and he has reached out to other schools, including New England College and Castleton, mainly regarding graduate assistant and director of hockey operations positions.After working multiple internships to fulfil a dream of becoming a minor league baseball general manager, he worked with SU and realized coaching is a better fit for him. Through his video coordination, Kuruc sees his hand in the product on the ice.“I feel more connected to the team itself, and that’s something that I’ve always wanted,” Kuruc said. “Wherever I went, I always wanted to be a part of the team.”The fights initially drew Kuruc to hockey, he said. When he was about 5 or 6 years old, Binghamton, where he grew up, was awarded an American Hockey League franchise affiliated with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. His family bought season tickets to the minor league team’s inaugural season.At the time, the late Ray Emery was the Binghamton Senators’ starting goalie, and Kuruc remembers seeing Emery get into a fight one night.“Do they let kids do this?” Kuruc asked.“Yeah, there’s a youth hockey organization in town,” Harrington replied.Kuruc wondered: “How quickly can I go out and do this?”In high school, Kuruc played hockey and had three head coaches in four years. There was no structure in the team, he said. His junior year, he became the starting goalie, and with best friend Alex Kashani, Kuruc became a vocal leader for the team.He said he didn’t want to be “mean” or “pushy,” just a “positive influence.” In Kuruc’s senior year of high school, the head coach “lost the team,” Kashani said. At times, it seemed the coach didn’t know what he was doing, Kashani said, and some of the younger players became worried about playing time and why some players were getting more play time than others. Kuruc helped the players “keep their heads up” in the middle of long losing stretches. Kuruc took the time to point out positives, even in losses, such as when a player scored a nice goal or had a big hit.“He’s such a positive guy in all situations,” Kashani said, “and that’s the type of person that I would want, personally, leading my team.”Courtesy of Jim ParkerThe pressure of guarding the goal endeared him to the position, Kuruc said. It’s one of the only positions on the ice that can effectively change the outcome of the game. When Kuruc played Little League Baseball, he had the same idea, Harrington said. Kuruc always wanted to be the pitcher or catcher, the two roles with the most focus on them.In coaching, it’s different. A coach can draw up a play that, if executed correctly, would fool the defense completely, Kuruc said. His mentality carried into his work with the men’s and women’s programs at SU, where he wanted to “help everybody out as much” as he could.Kuruc has observed the Orange coaching staff similar to how he took notes on goalies in Binghamton growing up. The coaches at Syracuse also have connections in the hockey industry which can be invaluable to Kuruc as he searches for a job. Assistant Brendon Knight in particular has offered Kuruc advice on how to deal with players in difficult situations and given insight on what life on the road as a coach can be like.“You have to teach them everything that they need to know to do … in order for it to be successful the way that you looked at it in your mind,” Kuruc said.Before working with the women’s ice hockey program, Kuruc had no idea about video coordinating. He had no idea about being a director of hockey operations. He didn’t even know these positions really existed. Now, he said he couldn’t have envisioned the experience any better.“It’s been a hell of a ride, for certain,” Kuruc said.last_img read more