Former Wildcat Justin Florek helps Bruins knockout Red Wings in Playoffs

Ray Bressette

Former Wildcat and Marquette native Justin Florek got his first experience in the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs when he was recalled from the Providence Bruins of the AHL on Tuesday, April 15 to join the Boston Bruins.

Florek, a Marquette native who played for NMU from 2008-11, scored 53 goals with 63 assists, earning 116 points in 157 games for the Wildcats. (NW file photo)
Florek, a Marquette native who played for NMU from 2008-11, scored 53 goals with 63 assists, earning 116 points in 157 games for the Wildcats. (NW file photo)

In six playoff appearances with the Boston, Florek tallied his first NHL postseason goal in a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday, April 20 in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Florek said his first Stanley Cup playoff goal was even better coming against Detroit.

“Words can’t really describe how awesome it was,” Florek said. “It’s every kid’s dream to score in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and to do it against the Red Wings on top of that was just really special. I was really lucky to have my family there for the game as well, so it really was an amazing experience.”

The Bruins defeated the Red Wings in five games in the best of seven series on Saturday, April 26.

NMU head coach Walt Kyle said Florek is a great representation of NMU’s hockey program.

“Northern Michigan, along with most schools, doesn’t really get a lot of first round draft picks to come to their schools,” Kyle said. “Justin’s a guy that went through the draft twice, and finally got selected after his time here. The one statement that this makes for our program is we’re developing guys that NHL teams initially doubted had NHL talent, but when they come in here, they see we have the ability to form them to that next level moving forward.”

In the regular season, Florek earned two points with Boston, scoring one goal and adding one assist in four games.

Florek is a native of Marquette, Mich. where he and his family reside in the offseason.

Florek said he appreciates the fan support he’s getting from his hometown.

“I can’t thank everyone in Marquette enough,” Florek said. “It’s been unbelievable hearing of all the support I’ve been getting from the fans who get out to watch every game. It was really special being from Marquette and playing for NMU. Everyone had watched me the whole way growing up on every level and they all continue to support me today. It’s really a great community all around and I’m always thankful for that.”

Florek said he believes NMU has the personnel to form players for the professional level.

“I think it’s huge seeing our guys moving on to the professional level,” Florek said. “It pays dividends having the tremendous coaching staff from Walt (Kyle), to John (Kyle) and (Joe) Shawhan. I’m really grateful to come from Northern Michigan University.”