By Joshua Boyd / USPHL.com
Patience is a virtue – and so is hard work and determination to make it to the next level. Seth Orozco has all of these, and they all go hand-in-hand with plenty of on ice hockey skills, all adding up to what Lake Forest College was looking for as they sought a defenseman to round out their 2023-24 team
Orozco, an ‘02 from Sylvania, Ohio, is a third-year USPHL Premier veteran defenseman who is in his second season with the Northern Cyclones. The Cyclones are getting set for their second playoff round this weekend, and this time with a return to the National Championship tournament on the line. Fully expect Orozco to be a part of any success they will have.
“I think some strengths of my game that I can bring to benefit at Lake Forest are that I am a defensive defenseman that has the ability to make offensive opportunities happen from the defensive side of the ice,” said Orozco. “I also have an offensive upside in my game. I can move the puck well in all situations with pressure on the ice, and make plays happen resulting in offense.”
He talks as well about the USPHL Premier experience over the last three seasons, and how it brought him to this point.
“I think the USPHL has done a great job of maturing me as a player. Coming into this league, I was a young 18-year-old, and now I am 20 years old getting the chance to play college hockey,” he said. “The league also did a great job of showcasing its players, including myself to multiple college coaches, and other opportunities. I thank the USPHL, and all its efforts to better me as a player, and allowing me to continue my hockey career.”
It wasn’t very long ago that Orozco connected with Lake Forest.
“I started talking with Lake Forest College coaching staff In early-to mid-February, and we started talking about a possible commitment there. Their coaching staff had been in contact with my Coach Bill Weiand prior to that though,” Orozco added.
Lake Forest College is located in Lake Forest, Ill., on the shores of Lake Michigan just about halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee. With a program that began in the mid-1960s, Lake Forest has qualified for the NCAA tournament twice, including as recently as 2019-20. They never got a chance to prove themselves that second time, however, as the 2020 tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“More than a few things interested me in Lake Forest College. The hockey obviously interested me the most. The team playing in a competitive division that has teams compete for the national championship regularly; the rink on campus which a lot of Division 3 schools don’t have; and the professionalism I felt when I talked with Coach [Sean] O’Malley.”
Orozco is excited to begin his pursuit of a Marketing major when he attends Lake Forest next year.
“The academic side of the school also interested me tremendously – with the school having my major, and having success moving students in that same major to real life jobs,” he said. “The location of the school was also a great interest of mine. With it being only 30 miles away from the city of Chicago, right on Lake Michigan, and closer to home, the choice was a no brainer to me.”
He has a history of making good decisions, especially as he looks back on his last two seasons with the Northern Cyclones. He played in 77 regular season games for the Hudson, N.H.-based team, and also played in nine games last year, including his second trip to the National Championships in as many years after previously playing for the Toledo Cherokee.
“Coming to the Northern Cyclones organization has been one of my best decisions I have made. The coaching staff has made me feel at home since the first day I stepped into the rink. I’ve also learned so much from the organization not only on the ice, but in life, learning many valuable lessons, and creating great new friendships with guys from all over the world along the way,” Orozco said. “The past two years I was fortunate to have two great teams. My first year consisted of a lot of older guys who were great to look up to, and model my game after, and really learn what it means to be a Cyclone.
“My second year I was fortunate to be named team Captain, and have continued success with core returners, and a great new group of hard-working guys,” Orozco added. “This couldn’t have been possible without my coaches, Coach Fred Hein, and especially Coach Bill Weiand. From the first day I came to the Cyclones I knew I wanted to succeed to play college in the future, and Coach Bill has a great track record of moving guys forward, and to college hockey. Coach Bill works just as hard as the players behind the scenes, helping players develop, and reaching a specific goal for each player. This [commitment] wouldn’t have been possible without him and the Northern Cyclones organization.”
Having their own rink helped Orozco and so many other players advance to the NCAA Division III level, with six NCAA Division III commitments from the 2022-23 team so far.
“The Cyclones offer many opportunities for a player to develop with their own rink by practicing and being on the ice everyday. The team also offers many off ice ways and facilities that help to improve as a player, which I have benefited from,” he added, also pointing out multiple gyms available to the players at their off-site facility and also at the team dorm, which also has a shooting station and full basketball court – not to mention the natural team-building that comes with living with your teammates.
The next step is, of course, a big one – from junior to NCAA hockey, and Orozco knows there’s a good-sized to do list so that he can be an impact player right from the start.
“I plan to sharpen my skills over the summer by staying on the ice, and also hitting the weight room to try and gain a few more pounds, and get stronger to be better prepared for college hockey,” he added.
The USPHL congratulates Seth Orozco, his family, the Northern Cyclones and Lake Forest College.