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