10 Questions with Chris Pronchik
Chris Pronchik has had a full experience here at Penn State. He is a member of the Penn State men’s hockey team, scoring seven goals in 23 games this year. He is also an active participant in THON. For the second straight year, Pronchik serves as a THON captain. Onward State got a chance to talk to Pronchik while he balances life in the middle of both hockey and THON season.
Onward State: What originally brought you to Penn State and Penn State hockey?
Chris Pronchik: I think it was the atmosphere and the opportunity to wear a Penn State jersey and play at a school like this. I came up here and I loved it from the start. I love the atmosphere here and people are really excited about the hockey program. It’s really cool what’s going on right now. I know I’m getting out of here this year, but it will be awesome to come back as the program moves to NCAA. There was a lot more opportunity than just coming up here and playing hockey at a school like this.
OS: How would you rate the season so far as a team?
CP: I’d say we’ve had a really inconsistent season. We’ve had a lot of opportunities that we’ve missed out on. As we move into these next couple weeks, we’ve just gotta move that past us…These next couple of weekends are going to define our season. We have to win out…we can’t afford to lose any more. We have to get away from that inconsistency that we’ve been showing throughout the season…We still have an opportunity to go into nationals in full stride.
OS: How would you rate your individual season so far?
CP: I’m happy with how I’m playing. I consider myself a role player on the team, and I get things done that I need to get done. I contribute in ways that I need to. As long as I’m out there doing those things, that’s really what it’s all about.
OS: What are your plans for the future? What are you heading into?
CP: I’ve been talking to a lot of NHL teams. Probably, I’m thinking about playing for the Philadelphia Flyers next year and getting into the farm program maybe.
CP: Nah…I actually took a job with [Mayor Michael] Bloomberg in New York City. I’ll be doing an analytics training problem. I’m excited about moving there in June. It will be a good time.
OS: When did you get started with THON?
CP: My freshman year, I had the opportunity to participate in the athlete hour and the pep really. It was a really neat experience…I really enjoyed and I wanted to find out how I could get more involved. It really branched out from there. I started on a committee my sophomore year, and then I took on a captain position my junior year…It’s something that has really branched out from that first experience. It started with hockey, but I’ve really enjoyed the experience outside the rink.
OS: What do you do exactly within THON?
CP: This year I work with independent dancers. I’m a liaison to about 35 independent dancer couples. I help them with their fundraising throughout the year. I provide them support throughout the year to answer any questions they have and to make sure that they are on the right track. It can be very overwhelming to be an independent dancer couple because you are raising money without the guarantee that they are going to dance. They always enjoy the support…It’s a really nice relationship I build with them.
OS: What is your most memorable moment from THON?
CP: My sophomore year, we got to do the pep rally and we did the Happy Feet penguin dance on stage. It was a blast. We’re always talking about it and it’s something we are always going to remember.
OS: Is there a certain set of skills that transfers over from hockey to THON?
CP: I think a lot of it is just understanding that leadership is really about building the people around you. The best hockey teams that I’ve been a part of–especially the ones here–are built and made up of many leaders. Everyone has their own leadership roles…I think the ability to understand that in both atmospheres really helps. Working with 35 other people in these committees–they’re all great leaders too. I think that transfers…the best years are the ones where everyone has leadership and is building off of each other.
OS: You attended high school with our editor-in-chief, Davis Shaver. Do you think he could make it on the hockey team?
CP: (Long pause). Let me think…I’m trying to think of Davis and sports. I don’t think they ever mixed too well in high school. I’m sure he could hang out on the ice though…I could see Davis being more of a coach or player-coach. That’s really where I could see him!