In a lot of ways, this hockey season is similar to all the others for David Warsofsky: another year of the professional grind, another year bouncing between the NHL and AHL, another year of his ever-devoted parents traveling to watch him play.
But in one major way, it’s completely different: For the first time since he was 17, Warsofsky is playing away from home.
The 25-year-old Marshfield native and Boston University product is in the Penguins organization now, splitting time with the parent club in Pittsburgh and its AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pa. He signed with the Penguins in the offseason, leaving the Bruins after spending parts of five seasons in Boston and Providence.
The geographical change is a welcome one.
“It’s kind of nice to get away for a bit,” Warsofsky said via phone from Southern California, where Pittsburgh played this week.
“When you play that close and you live that close, the pressure of the family and friends coming to all the games and stuff — for me, I think it’s been a good opportunity to get away from that and focus on hockey a little bit more.”
Before this, the only other season Warsofsky played outside the Boston/Providence area was his senior year of high school, when he joined the US national development program in Ann Arbor, Mich. Other than that — through his time at Marshfield High (freshman year), Cushing Academy (sophomore and junior years), BU (three years of college), and then with the Bruins — it’s been all local.
Joining the Penguins meant temporarily leaving behind an extensive Bay State family, including his parents, Mark and Dawn, who Warsofsky noted have still made it to some of his AHL games this year, plus brothers Adam (Northborough) and Jarod (Braintree). Another brother, Ryan, is an assistant coach for the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL.
Warsofsky carries with him many memories of his New England years. There are all of his many professional firsts with the Bruins; winning a national championship with the Terriers in 2009, a game in which he had an assist on BU’s first goal; scoring in the Beanpot championship game against Northeastern as a freshman; and playing with brother Ryan at Marshfield High.
David’s lone season with the Rams was an especially noteworthy one for the Warsofskys. It was the only time David, the youngest of the four brothers, and Ryan, three years older, played on the same team.
“Just driving to school with him every day and then being able to drive to the rink every day, that was pretty special,” David said. “You always want to play on the same team as your brother, but the age difference never allowed us to.”
And now it’s on to Pennsylvania. Warsofsky, a 5-foot-9-inch, 170-pound defenseman, has had trouble cracking the Pittsburgh lineup, but that’s what he expected.
“I was fortunate enough in Boston that when I got called up, I was playing every night,” Warsofsky said. “But I knew that wasn’t going to be the case here. It’s one of those things where you want to keep working hard in practice and stay ready for when your name is called.”Tim Healey can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @timbhealey.