Ryan Sidorski is UND's new Wall Street-bound defenseman

Oct. 13—GRAND FORKS — Ryan Sidorski had only been to New York City once in his life before this summer.

Then, on June 6, he loaded up a U-Haul and made his way from his home near Buffalo, N.Y., to Rubin Hall, a Manhattan dormitory on New York University’s campus, where he was set to live for the summer.

“I had to drive that U-Haul through Manhattan,” Sidorski said. “I refuse to drive in New York City ever again. That was torture. I almost got out of the car and left it right there. I was like, ‘I can’t do this.’ I was getting honked at, screamed at. . . that was my ‘Welcome-to-New York’ moment.”

Sidorski had a summer like few college hockey players.

While most of his UND teammates were skating in Grand Forks and training for the upcoming season, Sidorski was working on Wall Street.

To be specific, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound defenseman had an internship with RBC Capital Markets. His office was located in Lower Manhattan. His 12th-story window overlooked the old World Trade Center site. Sidorski handled financial analysis for corporations looking to take out loans.

Sidorski spent four years at Union, where he graduated with degrees in both economics and neuroscience. As an undergrad, Sidorski thought about going pre-medicine, but later opted for the financial side. He was far enough along with his neuroscience degree that he finished it.

On the ice, he anchored the blue line for Union, playing in 97 games during three seasons (Union canceled its 2020-21 season due to the coronavirus pandemic). The stay-at-home defenseman had one goal and five points.

Sidorski wanted to use his last season of eligibility elsewhere, so he went in the transfer portal. UND, needing a replacement for Brady Ferner, watched Sidorski’s shifts, talked to people who knew him and offered him a spot on the team.

“He’s a very smart defenseman,” UND coach Brad Berry said. “He’s a bigger body. . . a right-handed shot. . . all things we needed in our group this year. He has very good ability, good feet and he defends very well. The other box he checks for us is experience. He played a lot at Union.”

Sidorski committed to the Fighting Hawks in the spring. When Berry mentioned that players are voluntarily working out on campus beginning in July, Sidorski told him about the internship.

“I think he felt bad about it,” Berry said. “But he worked out every day and I thought he came here in very good shape.”

There were eight other people who interned with Sidorski. It just so happened that one was a college hockey player in a similar situation — Northeastern senior forward Alex Mella.

They were able to train together for much of the summer, but it wasn’t easy.

Sidorski set his alarm for 6 a.m. most mornings. He’d take the subway from Washington Park to Chambers Street, then walk from that stop to his gym. He’d work out until 8:15 a.m., then walk to his office and settle in for the day. He usually finished up between 5:30-6 p.m.

Two or three days a week, he’d skate after work. Ice time was usually scheduled at 7 or 7:30 p.m., so it was an adventure to get there on time.

“I’d rush from work to Alex’s apartment, get changed into street clothes, grab my bag I left at his apartment and Uber to the rink,” Sidorski said. “It was stressful getting there.”

Sidorski and Mella joined a group of former college hockey players at Chelsea Piers, located along the Hudson River.

“We skated with a bunch of retired ECAC hockey players — a lot of Yale and Harvard guys,” Sidorski said. “It was cool. They still had it. So it was kind of fun.”

On the last day of his internship, Sidorski was called into a conference room and offered a full-time job. He plans to start next summer.

“It reminded me of hockey,” Sidorski said of the internship. “It’s fast-paced, always changing. You’ve got to be on your toes. I really enjoyed it.”

For now, it’s one last year of college hockey. Sidorski will still be going to school, aiming at a masters in applied economics and predictive analysis. He’ll also fill a depth spot on the blue line for the No. 3 Fighting Hawks.

Sidorski is not expected to start the season in the top six — that currently is Tyler Kleven, Ethan Frisch, Chris Jandric, Cooper Moore, Ty Farmer and Brent Johnson. But if recent years are any indication, Sidorski will still be getting in plenty of games. He already played in his first one, skating 13:38 last Friday against Holy Cross.

“He’s an outstanding young man,” Berry said. “He has a focus. He’s mature. He’s an outstanding person and his character is impeccable.”

Sidorski’s time at Union was up-and-down. The Dutchmen went 20-13-6 his freshman year, 8-25-4 his sophomore year, canceled his junior year and 14-19-4 his senior year.

At UND, expectations will be high for a team aiming at a fourth-straight Penrose Cup as National Collegiate Hockey Conference champions. The Fighting Hawks also have hopes of reaching the NCAA Frozen Four in Tampa.

“I’m definitely grateful for the opportunity there under (coaches) Rick Bennett and John Ronan,” Sidorski said. “I learned a lot about myself as a human being and a hockey player. I got to grow a lot in both aspects. I’ll forever love Union.

“Here, it’s a different level at North Dakota. The facilities are not even a comparison. There are different coaching styles. I think Bubs (Brad Berry) runs a very tight ship here. From what I’ve gathered, everyone wants to get better here. Everyone is working toward a common goal. There’s a good culture here and a good, tight group of guys.”

When: 7:07 p.m. Friday, 6:07 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Records: Quinnipiac 1-0-1; UND 2-0.

TV: Midco Sports (GF Ch. 27/622 HD).

Radio: The Fox (96.1 FM).

Stream: NCHChockey.com.

Of note: UND defenseman Ryan Sidorski and Quinnipiac forward Collin Graf were teammates last season at Union.

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