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Cyclones at Komets
Faceoff: 7 p.m.
Radio: WOWO, 1190-AM
For the last few weeks, Mike Embach has been a little bit bored with his time away from the hockey rink. After 21 months of study, the Komets forward recently completed his master's degree in management and organizational behavior.
"We don't live too hard of a lifestyle, so I've got to find something to do,'' he said after practice one day. "Right now I'm lost because this is my first week without things to do. I'm like, now what? Maybe I'll take French or something.''
On practice days, players spend at most four hours at the rink or the gym. That leaves a lot of dead time to kill, and Embach uses his to better his education. He's now looking at taking online classes to get certifications either in human relations or for his long-term goal of becoming a player agent. He majored in sports marketing at Ferris State.
"I usually go home, make lunch and spend three hours a day doing it,'' Embach said. "On the road, it's tough, but you just have to use time management and have your stuff done before. You have to be able to manage your classload. You have to get into a routine with it.''
He was able to give most of his papers and project a sports theme, which he said most of his instructors seemed to enjoy.
It's not that uncommon for players to use their free time to study. Former Komet Bobby Phillips worked on his nursing degree at IPFW. ECHL leading scorer Brandon Marino completed his master's degree in exercise physiology last month, and he's studying for a certified strength and conditioning specialist exam.
It's almost foolish for them not to take advantage of the free time and plan for the future.
"My whole goal was to make sure I have a plan B,'' Embach said. "Obviously, you can't play forever. I never had student loans until now, and that's frustrating.''
When he's not studying or playing, Embach and roommate Nathan Martine love talking to students at local schools.
"Education can take you anywhere,'' Embach said. "You can change your life by what work you are willing to do and what you are willing to put into it.''