KALAMAZOO, MI - The Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association (KOHA) has made another exciting addition to its Skills Team for the 2017/18 season by tapping K-Wings veteran center, Justin Taylor.
Taylor was a sixth-round draft pick by the Washington Capitals in the 2007 draft, and has played primarily in Kalamazoo since the 2010 season amassing an impressive offensive career that has landed him at the top of the team's scoring list as the K-Wings All-time ECHL points and goal leader.
"I am excited to work with KOHA's players this coming season; I look forward to a new challenge. I have experienced a lot in my hockey career, learning lessons from playing at the highest levels in hockey, that I think have value for the next generation of players," said Taylor. "I was never the best player, but I was always the hardest working. My message for the young player: every decision you make gets you closer or further away from your dream. Every step includes a ton of smaller battles to overcome and bumps along the road; the key is to continue to work hard, invest in yourself and MAKE your dream come true."
KOHA's Interim Hockey Director, Matt Kakabeeke, has been busy making additions to KOHA's Skills Team for the 2017/18 season, "Skill development will continue to be our focus, and Justin brings some terrific experience that will benefit our players' growth and coaches effectiveness on the ice. It's a win-win for us for sure because Justin is not only a great player, but his passion for the game is infectious."
Taylor - a new dad - agrees that it's important to get some time away from the rink, even at his level. The down time allows for new hobbies (his current favorite summer activity is Petosky stone hunting on Lake Michigan) and a chance to reignite the passion for the game. Taylor credits his wife, Kelsey, for her continued support and keeping him level-headed thus far in his career "never getting too high or too low. It's important to have a strong support cast around you."
Taylor, his wife, their son and two dogs currently reside in Kalamazoo, which Taylor finds "neat, because I was born on Manitoulin Island, in Canada. It's a fun fact the kids can look up since it's not far from Michigan (only a lake divides us!)."
When asked what he'd be doing if he wasn't playing hockey, Taylor said, "I am asked that often, and I think I change my answer every time. I swear I'm a little kid when it comes to what I want to be when I grow up. I've always done things with my hands, I'd love to pick up a trade. Although, I am enjoying being a dad, so maybe stay-at-home dad will be just fine and I can 'Tim the Tool Man' my house and make it a home. This - of course - pending my wife's approval to let me use power tools unsupervised!"

Previous Skills Team updates:
ECHL Defenseman Added to 17/18 Skills Team
WMU Hockey Alum to Join 17/18 Skills Team

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