Zajac completes Blaze forward group
Genting Casino Coventry Blaze are delighted to complete their 2016/17 forward group with the signing of former AHL forward 29-year-old Darcy Zajac.
Standing 6’1”, the right-shot winger has spent the majority of his professional career in the American Hockey League (AHL) and joins Blaze from Danish powerhouse SønderjyskE.
High-level Professional Career
In 2010, Zajac signed a try-out contract with the Adirondack Phantoms, the AHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, playing two games to end the AHL season. The following year he was snapped up on a multi-year deal by the AHL’s Albany Devils, linked with the New Jersey Devils and the ECHL’s Trenton Devils.
The Canadian would split his first year with the Devils’ organisation between the AHL and ECHL, before establishing himself as a regular in the Albany AHL side for a further four-year period. Half of that time, Darcy was signed to a two-way NHL contract with the New Jersey Devils where he would be invited to training camp and notably ice in a pre-season game against the New York Rangers in 2013.
Boasting 260 AHL games (30+49=79) with 362 PIMS, and 32 ECHL appearances (6+17=23, 35 PIMS), the rugged winger joined SønderjyskE of the Danish Metal Ligaen in January of last season.
With the Vojens based side, he hit 10 points (3+7) in 16 regular season appearances before adding a further 9 markers (4+5) in 13 playoff games.
The Winnipeg native spent four years at the well-respected University of North Dakota (UND) of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) totalling 166 games, 24 goals and 30 assists for 54 points.
In both 2007 and 2008 he helped the team reach the NCAA frozen-four tournament and was named in the WCHA All-Academic Team in 2008, 09 and 10.
In his first year, the two-way forward was the recipient of UND's Tom Hoghaug Memorial Scholarship, awarded to a freshman hockey player who has demonstrated initiative, character and a sense of responsibility.
As a Senior, Darcy was made Assistant Captain and led UND to a WCHA league Championship. In addition, he was co-recipient of UND's Archie Krum Memorial Athletic Scholarship as the player who evidences outstanding leadership qualities, high academic standards and athletic excellence.
Following on from UND’s recognition, Zajac was nominated for the prestigious WCHA Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award, missing out to Blaze’s own Jordan Pietrus.
Before UND he played two seasons with Salmon Arm (BCHL), playing 117 times, registering 49 goals and 64 assists for 113 points.
Head Coach Danny Stewart on Zajac
"Darcy has a great track record at one of the top NCAA programmes and spent five seasons in the AHL primarily with Albany which is a very tough thing to do. Last season he had a short-stint in Denmark with a high quality team there as well. So, he's a guy who has played for great programmes and organisations and he's going to bring a lot to our line-up through grit, hard work and production. He will play minutes in all situations and I like his versatility. He plays on the right side but he's also a very good centreman so this gives me the chance to possibly put (Jordan) Pietrus on the wing if I need to do. I don't think you can ever have enough depth up the middle."