Following his junior season that saw him score 13 goals and dish out eight assists for a team-high 21 points, Glenwood Springs hockey’s own Ryan Kotz, a Coal Ridge High School student, earned a spot on Team Colorado last weekend after trying out at the state’s prestigous hockey camp.
By landing on Team Colorado, Kotz will represent the state and the Glenwood hockey program at America’s Showcase April 11-15 in St. Louis. The showcase is one of the top tournaments in the United States for high school juniors and seniors. According to Glenwood head coach Tim Cota, it’s a tournament that gets the best players looked at by college programs and junior hockey teams.
According to the events website, the four-day tournament was founded in 1985 to “provide the nation’s premier high school players an opportunity to be scouted by high-level programs so those players may further their hockey careers in prep school, juniors, college, and beyond.”
This year, the five-day tournament consists of boys and girls divisions represented by at least 24 boys teams and eight girls teams that compete in over 50 competitive hockey games that gives the scouts on-hand — as well as those watching online — plenty of opportunities to recruit from the plethora of talent on the ice.
“I was honestly surprised, more than anything, when I heard that I made the team,” Kotz said. “There were so many great players there, so just to be able to make the team was really surprising to me, but I’m happy I get this opportunity.”
For the first time, the five-day tournament will be held in what is deemed, The “Heartland of Hockey”, St. Louis, according to the event’s website.
Throughout the 2018-19 season, the first one for the Demons at the varsity level, Kotz made an impact nearly every game at both ends of the ice. Work ethic and the sheer want-to from the junior rubbed off of teammates and left a lasting impression on opposing coaches and players as well. But getting a player from the valley that represents not only Glenwood Springs varsity hockey, but also the Glenwood Grizzlies’ club program is a huge boost for Garfield County’s hockey hotbed.
“It’s great,” Cota said. Ryan deserves this recognition. I always say when we go onto the ice no matter who we play, there isn’t one who works harder than him. He might not have the most skill, but nobody works harder. He earns it. He plays both ends of the ice. Usually when we’re done with the game, I have people coming up asking who number 5 is, because people notice how hard he works. His work ethic is something you just can’t coach.”
The Coal Ridge junior said he hopes to work hard, have fun and get some eyes on him from schools at the five-day tournament.
Kotz will head to St. Louis in mid-April, causing him to likely miss some varsity baseball time with the Coal Ridge Titans.