Worth the Wait: Mike Cichy Waited 581 Days for his Bronco Debut
"It was different being out there," Cichy said. "I was so used to no one in the stands. It took me a couple of shifts to get into it."
Cichy thinks he has the opportunity to make the sort of comeback that can help the Broncos have another winning season. He has now played in two more games, one in which he scored.
"It felt good to help the team win in the third," Cichy said. "We came together well and it was a good comeback."
Before his career as a college athlete, Cichy spent one season with the USNTDP U-17 team in the NAHL and two seasons in the USHL with the Tri-City Storm and Indiana Ice. During his final season in the USHL, Cichy was drafted in the seventh round of the 2009 NHL Draft by the Montreal Canadiens.
In 2009 Cichy began playing for the University of North Dakota. During his time with UND he was named WCHA Rookie of the Week once. After two years and limited playing time at UND, Cichy decided it was time for a change.
"My coach told me that I wasn't a third line player, but it was either that or I was out of the lineup," Cichy said. "Eventually, we both agreed that it was time for a change."
He and his advisor discussed his options and decided that Western Michigan University would be the best choice for him.
"Once I de-committed from North Dakota I knew I had found the right spot," Cichy said.
Because of NCAA transfer regulations Cichy was required to sit out one year. During this time he would not be allowed to play in games or travel with the team. He found the only way to handle the year was to take the season one day at a time.
"I came in each day and focused on one thing that I needed to get better at," Cichy said. "If I had focused on having a whole year until I played again I would have gone crazy."
A majority of his year was spent with Strength and Conditioning Coach Tim Herrmann. They worked on a program to get Cichy back into the level of conditioning needed for a Division I college hockey player.
On game days, players that are not in the game lineup participate in extra workouts. With his focus on preparing for next season, Cichy made the weight room his competitive arena. Herrmann took notice of Cichy's competitive drive during his workouts.
"He carried a greater intensity with him," Herrmann said. "He definitely turned himself into a Division I hockey athlete again."
The first game of the season, on Oct. 12, Cichy said it took a couple shifts to become comfortable. By the second game of the weekend, versus St. Lawrence, Cichy felt he had found his home on the ice again. He ended the weekend with two assists in the second game, assisting on the game-tying and game-winning goals but felt he still had room for more improvement.
"I could be better still and there are a lot of things I have to work on," Cichy said. "I'm still learning because it has been so long."
When asked if he saw playing at Western Michigan as a comeback to his previous level of play, he agreed that it would be.
"As long as I do my job, play smart and play my game," Cichy said. "I think it'll be a great year."