What do the Temple University Hockey Team and the Klein College of Media and Communication Communication Studies Program have in common? Both can claim sophomore Rob Pilarski as an active member. 

We interviewed Pilarski to learn more about the incredible season the hockey team is having as well as how he balances his athletics and academics. 


How are the Temple Owls doing this season in hockey?

We have a really, really good team this year. When we started the season, we were 5-1 in our league. Our league consists of a lot of schools around the Philly area and New Jersey. We are currently second in our division. You get points based on how many games you win. If you win in regulation, you get three points, if you win in overtime you get two points, things like that. We currently have matched our total in Temple Hockey history for points in a season and we're only halfway through the year so we're doing pretty good right now. We're happy.


What has the season been like so far because of the pandemic?

We were all really excited to play just because last year the entire season was cancelled. Everyone was taking all the necessary steps to get back and ready to play. We've had one or two guys test positive, but they were isolated cases. It sucks because you're missing a defenseman or a forward for a week. It kind of tosses off the team but we've gotten through it so far.


What brought you to Temple University?

My sister graduated from Temple recently and she was like, "Well you know, Temple has a [hockey] team. You should reach out," so I reached out to Coach Pat and started talking to him. It was really random how it all worked. That weekend I had a tournament in Maryland and he came and looked at me and really liked what he saw. From there, it was just a few more meetings and then I committed to play hockey. Once it all happened, there really wasn't any other decision for me [but] to go to Temple. Obviously, I knew from my sister that Temple was a great school, and it had a program that I was really looking at. 


What made you choose Klein?

I really like to talk to people and I thought I was a really good writer. I was kind of looking at something where I could talk to people and interact and that kind of led me to comm. As I started to look more and more into it, I started to get more interested in the organizational side of things like PR updates, things like that. It really seemed like Klein had a really strong program for just anything. It was really broad. I could do whatever. Other schools I looked at didn't have that. It really seemed like the best and most intriguing to me, and I haven't regretted it. I'm really glad that I decided to come to comm.


How have you balanced this incredible season with demands from school?

It's definitely been a lot more of a challenge. Last year I decided to come and just focus on my studies even though we weren't playing. This year, I knew it was going to be more of an adjustment so I felt like I was mentally prepared. You have to make sacrifices. There's times, you know, after practice we get home at 11:30 and I have an assignment due and I will stay up working 'til 2 or 3. You have to manage your time.

Hockey takes up most of my time right now. I've been trying to get more involved in comm studies. Dr. Gratson has been trying to get me more involved. I've joined open houses talking to potential students. I think that next year, as I feel more comfortable with the workload, I can adjust and everything, I'll try to get more involved in other clubs, but right now it's just been all hockey.


How has Klein supported your academic and athletic pursuits?

Dr. Gratson has been so awesome. I remember last year he would call me and just ask me "How's hockey going?" and "Do you need anything" and "Is there anything [I] could do for the team?" It really just means so much because I know that I have support from the department when the head is taking time out of his day to call me and ask me if I need anything. To have the resources in Klein, there's always someone there to help me if I need something. The advising at Klein has been phenomenal in really helping me adjust with hockey. If I have to miss a class or we're traveling, they're also flexible with it. It's been so awesome being in Klein and being in comm studies. I feel like I'm getting the most out of the major.


What are your post-graduation goals?

I've been thinking about staying for a fifth year, maybe even grad school, and continuing to play because I will still have eligibility. I'll be in a leadership position on the team next year and then hopefully I'll move up the leadership ladder. In terms of jobs and academics, I really am interested in the organizational side of things, so I'd like to represent an organization out towards the public. Marketing strategies, brand strategies, communication strategies. How do you make your organization appear better in the eye of the public? That's what I want to go into and that's probably going to start with consulting and then move into, like, communications director. This could change next week, but that's kind of where I'm at right now. And then hockey. Just trying to play as long as I can and continue our success as a team.


Responses were edited slightly for length and clarity.