STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Mike Zalewski to Comets fans: "Thank you for all your support, I'll never forget"

The question was, "what is your final message to Comets' fans who have embraced you over the past three years?" After a few seconds, the first words out of Mike Zalewski's mouth were, "Just to say thank you."

Posted: Nov 8, 2017 2:33 PM
Updated: Nov 8, 2017 2:41 PM

(July 20, 2017)

Utica, N.Y. - New Hartford native and former Utica Comets forward, Mike Zalewski, took a long pause to think about what he wanted to say as he stood in the parking lot of the New Hartford Recreation Center, where he grew up playing ice hockey as a kid, Tuesday.

The question was, "what is your final message to Comets fans who have embraced you over the past three years?"

After a few seconds, the first words out of his mouth were, "Just to say thank you."

It seems like the most obvious answer considering the fact that he had the opportunity to play professional hockey in his hometown, living out a dream in front of the very people he grew up around. But to him, it wasn't that simple.

He continued his message to the fans of the Comets, who have become some of the most loyal and rowdy fans in the AHL over the past four years, telling them what it meant to him to step on the ice, night in and night out with them cheering him on in the stands.

"It's been really special to play here in Utica and wear the Comets jersey," he said. "Being from here and knowing the direction the city is going, and knowing the direction this whole area's going, knowing that the Comets have been a big part of that and that I've been able to be part of that. The support that I've gotten and that the team's gotten, I just want to say thank you to all the fans."


Zalewski signed a deal with the Straubing Tigers of the DEL in Germany on Monday, where he will join his older brother, Steve, who will be heading into his third season with the team.

He said that having his brother there brings more of a comfort factor and will help his transition into life overseas, but also said that it will be really tough to leave a place that he loves, and a team that he loved to play for.

In three seasons with the Comets, the soon-to-be 25-year-old appeared in 167 games, where he scored 24 goals and 39 assists for 63 points. He also tallied 100 penalty minutes and a +21 rating. His best season came in 2015-16 when he scored career highs with 16 goals and 17 assists for 33 points.

This past season, an injury kept him sidelined for a good portion of the year, and when he came back, he said that it was tough for him to find his game again. He felt that he couldn't figure out his place on the team, and that it just didn't click the remainder of the year.

Now, his next challenge awaits in one of Europe's top leagues, and while he's not sure exactly what to expect out there, he said he is excited for the opportunity.
S
till, as a kid growing up in New Hartford dreaming of playing professional hockey, he pauses again to realize just how lucky he has been to realize that dream, right here, where he spent most of his life preparing for that chance.

"It's been an amazing three years and three that I'll never forget and I just want to say thank you to everyone for their support and their help along the way."

To hear more from Zalewski, check out the full 20-minute interview by clicking here.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2382450

Reported Deaths: 54983
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings31801110729
Queens30525510139
Suffolk2271813515
Nassau2063723251
Bronx2016276692
New York1612914603
Westchester1406262328
Erie988711881
Richmond855581903
Monroe778961155
Orange54422887
Rockland50818768
Onondaga45732713
Dutchess33716484
Albany28365368
Oneida25714546
Niagara22094382
Broome21664385
Saratoga18388187
Ulster16310271
Schenectady15251215
Rensselaer13276154
Putnam1180896
Chautauqua10909156
Oswego9588101
Chemung9021145
St. Lawrence8864115
Ontario850797
Steuben8342157
Cayuga7907100
Sullivan778781
Jefferson744271
Wayne693978
Cattaraugus671096
Genesee6045129
Herkimer5989117
Tompkins592659
Clinton565534
Madison538697
Fulton529897
Livingston516366
Montgomery5076133
Cortland481170
Warren468476
Columbia4632108
Tioga438567
Chenango416886
Otsego416251
Allegany400092
Greene393883
Washington392662
Wyoming390154
Orleans361184
Franklin351216
Lewis317736
Delaware305640
Seneca246759
Schoharie207220
Essex193429
Yates139626
Schuyler127716
Hamilton4073
Unassigned13436
Out of NY0288
Utica
Mostly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 70°
Oneonta
Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 68°
Herkimer
Partly Cloudy
71° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 71°
Old Forge
Partly Cloudy
71° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 71°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
NEW Game Day Deals each week
Follow the 2021 Go the Distance Team - sponsored by Gilroy Kernan & Gilroy
Chapter Photofacial Therapy Giveaway
Looking for work or looking to hire? Check out the WKTV Job Fair!
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve