Player Profile: Zack Siniawski

In this week’s player profile, we finished out our captains series with,Moose headman Zack Siniawski. Thanks for taking the time to meet with us Z. 

 It’s an honor to be here. 

 First off, with former commissioner John George having retired his Crosbys, the Moose are now the longest tenured organization in the FHL, and you are the longest tenured captain. Do you feel that being the most experienced captain gives you an edge? 

 Ya know, coming into this year, the other 3 captains totaled more than 20 combined years of FHL experience... So I don't know that it's much of an advantage being the longest tenured team, however it is something that I am proud of. Over the years it has been a thrill to watch so many FHL members grow as hockey players and as young men. The skill gap has closed since our great league's genesis and it's not because of lack of top-tier talent, but the rest of the league has caught up. Hockey is alive and well in Munhall. 

 The Moose always seem to be one of the “heaviest” teams in the league, and this year is no exception. Have you found it difficult to maintain a physical style in the midst of the league office abolishing hitting? 

 Yeah, ya know, over the years we do tend to come away with bigger bodied teams. Eliminating hitting was and is right for the league but there are plenty of ways to gain an advantage physically without hitting... whether it is gaining position in front of the net or owning possession by boxing out... winning loose puck battles, tying guys up defensively. It doesn't take much watching a Saturday game to see that there is a healthy amount of physicality. 

 This offseason the Moose lost their longtime franchise player Jason Kortz to retirement, but were able to replace him with another all-time-great in Tony Bonacorso. While they are both tremendous talents, their playing styles are very different. How do you think that transition has gone thus far?

 Well there’s no replacing a Jason Kortz. His combination of talent, work ethic, and compete level only come along once in a generation…. That said, now we’re lucky enough to have yet another generational talent in Tony Bonacorso. He has the ability to score from anywhere on the ice and creates so much room for his linemates. Bono has picked up our system so quickly and is always in the right spot, both defensively and in the offensive zone. Toner has the compete level and want-to that we look for in our scouting and player development. I think the transition has been great. 

This season you have taken on the responsibility of heading the league’s officiating office along with Mustangs captain Sean Lyons. Many people around the league have voiced concerns over you holding this position, due to your penchant for trying to buy calls. Do you feel any pressure to change the way you play your game?

 Many people around the league huh? Care to name any names? (chuckling…) No but, uhhh… whatever it takes to win, eh?.. I do want to thank Sean for doing a tremendous job in reffing almost every week. But uhh, yeah, ya know, there are times where you take a hit from behind or a high stick and want to make sure the referees know it, so I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been emphatic a few times - maybe because I’m half Italian (chuckling)… Every team has guys that lobby for calls. But there is a big difference between buying a call where a foul existed and acting out a phantom penalty. The second you get caught faking a high stick or something else phantom, you lose some credibility with the league and the refereeing committee especially. 

 Alright, last one. Your netminder Jamie Zelena has had a strong start to his contract year, and he hasn’t been shy about wanting a big payday. Are there any talks of an extension going on, or could he be available at the deadline as a high-priced postseason rental? 

 Well, first off I want to let Moose fans around the world know that we are committed to bringing home Lord Franklin’s Cup this year so there will be no renting of players. Just as we have in the past, we will spend to the cap. That said, Jamer has been the biggest reason we have been able to jump out to a strong start and our organization thinks he gives us the best chance to win now and in the future. We think he is the best goalie in the league and a fantastic locker room guy. Thankfully, with the latest CBA I don’t have to worry about contract negotiations until June. I’ll reserve any other compliments until after that. 

 Ok, now just some quick hitters to finish up: 
 Favorite FHL player: Buddy Doyle 
Favorite FHL team: I mean, come on. The Mighty Moose of Munhall 
Toughest player to play against: Tom Simpson 
Toughest goalie to play against: Jamie Zelena Favorite 
NHL player: Sidney Crosby Favorite sports teams: Pens, Steelers, Pirates, Panthers

About FHL: Franklin Hockey League

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