Absorbing, applying information leads Oceanside’s Taylor to Clarkson commit
Whenever opportunity knocked, Kaelan Taylor has been determined to learn everything he can from it.
Whether it was with the San Diego Jr. Gulls and L.A. Jr. Kings, in the NAHL or now for Dubuque in the USHL, the defenseman is gleaning whatever he can.
That, combined with his hockey talent, is why he finds himself committed to NCAA Division I Clarkson University (ECAC Hockey), where he’ll enroll in 2020.
“For me, it was such a great school,” the 1999 birth year said. “The academics there, which are my priority, are exceptional. The hockey team is successful, and they have a great tradition.”
Taylor played for the Jr. Gulls through his first season of 16U, then made the drive from Oceanside up to El Segundo the next two seasons to play for the Jr. Kings.
“A lot of guys like to go the prep school route, but staying home and developing worked for me,” Taylor said. “Every year playing in California for a different coach taught me something.
“When I was younger, Noah Babin was one. I took so many lessons from him, and it really helped my skating, which gave me a step up. When I went to the Kings, Jack Bowkus and Barry Dreger played big roles. Jack taught me a lot about the game. Barry taught me how to play ‘D’ the right way, to be a solid defender. I owe a lot of credit to them.”
He carried those lessons to the NAHL.
“It was nice playing in the NAHL, where a lot of guys were older,” Taylor said. “I had to keep it simple. I learned a more mature game. When I came (to Dubuque), it was a little easier and I could use more of my skills.”
In the eyes of his coach, California native Oliver David, Taylor’s transition has been rather seamless for a few reasons.
“He is a steady player who leads through his actions,” David said. “Kaelan’s analytical and has the discipline and desire to develop well, which will allow him to step in at Clarkson.
“Discipline and desire are not a given. I’ll take a kid like Kaelan every day of the week.”
The commitment to the Golden Knights comes with an added bonus.
“I know Potsdam because my dad grew up about 30 minutes away,” Taylor said. “He attended there. My family would be able to come to my games. It all lined up pretty well.”
— Chris Bayee
(Feb. 1, 2019)