The Michigan Warriors have announced that goaltender Robert Tadazak, who played in the North American 3 Hockey League with the Dubuque Thunderbirds and Flint Jr. Generals, has committed to the United States Military Academy and will attend and play hockey for Army starting this fall.
Tadazak, a 20-year-old native of Lapeer, Mich., went on an official visit three weeks ago and made his commitment known to Black Knights head coach Brian Riley on Monday.
"What a great opportunity for Robert," Warriors head coach Moe Mantha said. "Going into the Army is a long-term commitment and while I know Robert would like to play pro hockey someday, serving your country while still playing hockey was something he couldn't turn down. He has made the entire Warriors organization proud with this decision."
“I chose Army because it's such a great opportunity, both in hockey and education,” said Tadazak. “Every year, they are ranked in the top five in education. I also know that with a West Point education, I come out debt-free because everything gets paid for and I come out with a guaranteed job so I can support my family right away. How many college grads can say that?”
Tadazak also said that he expects his life to change and for the better by going to West Point.
“When I went on my visit, everyone was in uniform and clean-shaven, nothing was out of place and in the classroom, everyone was focused,” said Tadazak. “This will definitely be a challenge, but it will help with my character and make me a better student and person.”
Once he graduates, Tadazak will have to serve five years in the service. That’s another aspect of going to Army that Tadazak saw as a positive situation.
“After my five years, I can either stay in the military or go to the civilian life and get a job, but who knows, I may like the military life,” said Tadazak. “The great thing about getting a degree from West Point is that businesses will be trying to persuade me to work there once they see my resume, not me trying to persuade them.
“I am definitely looking forward to this opportunity and have to thank Coach Mantha, (assistant) coach (Kevin) Carlile, my teammates, the whole organization of the Warriors and most of all, my family for always believing in me and giving me the chance to further my education and my hockey career.”
Tadazak is 15-6-3 this season in 28 games with a 2.11 goals-against average and an NAHL-best .936 save percentage to go along with four shutouts.
Two other Warriors have committed to Division I programs as defenseman Mike Szuma committed earlier this season to the University of Michigan (CCHA) and forward Andrew Kolb will be off to Michigan Tech University (WCHA) this fall.
Army is a member of the Atlantic Hockey Association and the Academy is located in West Point, N.Y.