Alabama is the last place a Trail junior hockey player anticipated his career heading but after leaving the Smokies mid-season last year, anything was possible.
Silver City native, Steven Koshey, played over two seasons with the Trail Smoke Eaters, compiling 66 points in 126 games. The diminutive but mobile defenseman requested a trade last year and was dealt to the Surrey Eagles in late October.
At the time, Koshey was hoping for a scholarship and thought a change of scenery would increase his chances.
“When I did go to Surrey, I talked to a few places there and definitely had a lot more exposure so I’m pretty sure that helped out quite a bit,” said Koshey from his Trail home on Saturday.
The University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH), recruiting staff contacted Koshey at the end of the season, and has committed him to their 2011-12 roster.
The 20-year-old is uncertain whether an offer would have been available to him in Trail, as it did seven other players from last year’s team.
But he says the move helped him relax away from the scrutiny of playing for his hometown team and he can understand the same motivation also may have led Travis St. Denis to move.
“There’s lots of pressure obviously, and being under the spotlight things are kind of magnified if something happens, so it was nice to get out, that’s for sure.”
In considering his junior career, Koshey set his sights on a scholarship rather than jumping to the next level and playing Major Junior. With education a priority, it wasn’t long before he had his offer.
“It’s what I’ve dreamed of, it’s what I’ve been playing for, and trying to achieve for the last couple of years, so to get that out of the way it’s huge and I’m super excited to go to school and further my hockey career.”
Koshey will study business at Alabama and plans on visiting the school this summer.
He’ll join his good friend, another ex-Smoke Eater, defenseman Graeme Strukoff at the UAH in September. Trail traded Strukoff to the Victoria Grizzles at the same time Koshey was dealt.
The University of Alabama Chargers play NCAA Division 1 hockey in the Collegiate Hockey Association against top-ranked powerhouses Michigan #4, Miami (Ohio) #5, and Notre Dame #10, and considering last years 4-26-2 record, the team can use a couple good D-men.
“If you would have told me a couple years ago I would be going to Alabama to play hockey, I wouldn’t agree with you, but it’s cool – I’m super excited.”