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Victoria's Noah Kosick has WHL, NCAA scouts galvanized

The 14-year-old is coming off a strong season for the Pacific Coast Hockey Academy Sea Devils U-18 team.
Noah Kosick put up 45 points in 32 games for the Pacific Coast Hockey Academy Sea Devils U-18 team. SUBMITTED

Noah Kosick of Victoria, listed by several ranking sites as the top player for this year’s ­Western Hockey League ­prospects draft, is skating into a potentially bright future.

He does so having the best of advice close at hand. Dad Mark Kosick not only coaches his son on the Langford-based Pacific Coast Hockey Academy Sea Devils U-18 squad, but the elder Kosick came out of the Victoria Salsa (now Grizzlies) of the B.C. Hockey League to play four years in the NCAA Big Ten for the University of Michigan Wolverines, winning the Frozen Four national championship in 1998, and going on to play 12 seasons of pro hockey in Germany.

“My dad has taught me everything I know about hockey,” said Noah Kosick.

“The biggest things are about attitude and work ethic.”

Talent will carry you. But only so far. Those are lessons absorbed from a lifetime in hockey.

“I’ve seen a lot and it’s the players who work hard and push themselves day in and day out who succeed. The ones who don’t are the ones who get passed over,” said the elder Kosick, 43, whose Salsa teammates included future NHLers Matt Pettinger and Greg Zanon and Anaheim Ducks draft pick Jesse Fibiger.

Mark Kosick’s journey took him from his NCAA years in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL and then to the Berlin Polar Bears, Kassel Huskies, Wolfsburg EHC, Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams, Herne EV and the Fischtown Penguins in a pro career in Germany that concluded in 2014-15.

It was in Kassel, Germany, where the younger Kosick was born and got his skating legs before moving to the family hometown of Victoria at age seven. Noah Kosick’s talent was evident from an early age to now where he played this season as a 14-year-old centre on the PCHA Sea Devils’ U-18 team with 10 goals and 35 assists for 45 points in 32 games against players up to four years older.

“I am so much younger but the guys brought me into the team and made it fun,” he said.

“Competing against 17- and 18-year olds has been unbelievable and has really pushed me.”

Against players more his own age, Kosick had 22 goals and 74 assists for 96 points in 29 games as a 13-year-old on the PCHA U-15 team in 2021-22.

Hockey begins the development process at the youngest age — some say too young — among the four main North American team sports. Noah Kosick is only five-foot-four and 107 pounds but already with the weight of expectation on those slender shoulders as he looks to possibly join past-decade Island lottery picks in the WHL draft Ollie Josephson of Victoria (fifth overall to the Red Deer Rebels in 2021) and Josh Anderson of Duncan (third overall to the Prince George Cougars in 2013).

“I don’t look on it as ­pressure to be handled,” said Noah Kosick, a composed young man.

“I notice the scouts and don’t pay any attention to them. I just go out there and play.”

What may lower Kosick’s rating among scouts for the WHL draft is that he is ­deciding between major-junior in the WHL and the U.S. collegiate route in the NCAA which would likely mean starting his ­junior career in the B.C. Hockey League.

“We are still discussing it as a family. I want to keep all my options open,” he said.

That will leave WHL teams to decide if it is worth the gamble to take Kosick with the first overall selection. But that’s their problem. This young person will not be rushed into a decision. He will choose what route is best for him on his own schedule, and not that of any league or team.

The younger Kosick has no doubt grown up on stories of his dad playing at historic Yost Arena and then the 1998 national champion Wolverines team returning to Ann Arbor for a reunion and leading the Michigan football team onto the field at the Big House before more than 100,000 fans. The campus life and atmosphere of NCAA hockey simply can’t be replicated in Canadian major-junior hockey, although the latter is still a staple and one-third of the three main routes to pro hockey along with the NCAA and Europe.

“It is solely Noah’s decision,” said Mark Kosick.

“We are going to leave all the options on the table and let him decide.”

There are a lot of WHL scouts and NCAA recruiters awaiting that eventual decision.

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