California’s and Nevada’s Authoritative Voice of Ice and Inline Hockey

Road less traveled works fine for Kozlowski

 

TrevinKozlowski

When you want something bad enough, you’ll do just about anything to get there.

Trevin Kozlowski is committed to becoming a first-rate hockey player. He’s accomplished a level of excellence that’s caught the attention of some NHL scouts.

Kozlowski, a 6-foot-4, butterfly goaltender, was pegged 24th among North American goaltenders on NHL Central Scouting’s midterm rankings of 2015 draft-eligibles.

The Valencia native will be the first to admit his developmental path is anything but ordinary. He moved to The Gunnery in the New England Prep League in the summer of 2013, usurping the conventional route of playing junior hockey.

“I know a lot of California kids growing up hear about the (United States Hockey League, North American Hockey League and Western Hockey League),” Kozlowski said. “It’s kind of what coaches push out there.”

The 17-year-old junior took the leap to boarding school largely because it could offer an elite education to go with a high level of play. Kozlowski’s discipline and focus is apparent in his unwavering stance on his long-term goals.

Despite the interest that he’s drawing from NHL scouts, Kozlowski plans to enter the collegiate ranks after his senior year.

“To play (NCAA) Division I is my ultimate goal. To get a great education, nothing in the world compares to that,” he said. “If that leads me to the NHL, then great.

“I’ve talked to a pretty good amount of Division I schools, but for goaltenders it’s hard because they have to be 100 percent sure about you.”

With their son’s mind made up, Kozlowski’s parents are supporting his decision to continue his schooling.

“That’s a decision that, as parents, we’re very proud of,” his father, Darrin, said. “He realizes the importance of a college education. He realizes the reality of needing his education to help his future.”

The Gunnery had five Division I commits last season and two more this season entering February. And defenseman McKay Flanagan joined Kozlowski on the NHL midterm list.

Entering February, the team was 16-5, and Kozlowski had started 20 of those 21 games.

The spoils of his on-ice success are things that he tries to keep off his mind.

Peter Torsson, who was Kozlowski’s Midget 16U AAA coach with the California Titans, admires the professionalism his former player has brought to the rink.

“We’d talk about how to control yourself in terms of the externalities,” Torsson said. “When you end up playing in professional hockey, you’re going to be hired for a specific asset.

“Make sure you put the sport first; don’t get too caught up in money or the media. I think he’s a smart kid.”

Torsson added Kozlowski is a meticulous worker, saying, “He’s one of those kids who always puts the work in.”

Kozlowski took his training to new heights this past summer. He returned home to Valencia when he received a phone call from an old friend from his Bantam days. It was Boston Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller, who invited Kozlowski to join some training sessions at Ice Station-Valencia.

The Gunnery prospect took part in intense practices twice a week with some very talented players. Along with Miller, Kozlowski skated with American Hockey League talents Shane Harper (Chicago Wolves) and Sena Acolatse (Adirondack Flames).

The training helped to reinforce the mentality that serious players don’t take drills off.

There appears to be little chance Kozlowski will ease up in the pursuit of his goals.

– Andrew Turner

California’s 2015 NHL Draft Prospects

Two California players were recognized on the NHL Central Scouting Bureau’s midterm rankings of 2015 draft-eligibles, joining three others who had appeared in the early season rankings.

G – Trevin Kozlowski, 24th-ranked North American goalie
Current team: The Gunnery Prep (Washington, Conn.)
California teams: Valencia Express, Los Angeles Jr. Kings, LA Selects, California Titans
Height/Weight: 6-4, 186
Did you know? One of just five goalies in the draft rankings playing New England Prep hockey, Kozlowski had a goals-against average of 1.96 and a save percentage of .925 through 22 games.

C – Ty Comrie, 169th-ranked N.A. skater
Current team: Tri-City Americans, Western Hockey League
California teams: LA Selects, Jr. Kings
Height/Weight: 6-0, 170
Did you know? His 16 points through 51 games were nearly double his output of a season ago.

C – Robby Jackson (C rating in September and November)
Current team: Chicago Steel, United States Hockey League
California teams: Santa Clara Blackhawks, LA Selects, Jr. Kings
Height/Weight: 5-10, 183
Did you know? One season after setting a USHL record for 16-year-olds with 28 goals, the St. Cloud State commit was felled by injury, which kept him out nearly all of December and January.

D – Keoni Texeira (C rating in September and November)
Current team: Portland Winterhawks, WHL
California teams: LA Selects, Jr. Kings
Height/Weight: 6-0, 203
Did you know? Through 52 games he had surpassed his point total from a season ago. His 21 were third-best among Winterhawks blue liners and his plus-17 was second-best.

RW – Evan Weinger (C rating in November)
Current team: Portland, WHL
California teams: LA Selects, Jr. Kings
Height/Weight: 6-0, 184
Did you know? He has 13 points through 42 games with limited ice time on another loaded Portland team, whose roster includes three other Californians.

– Compiled by Chris Bayee