Kyler Kovich had a busy offseason, spending his time training on and off the ice in his hometown of Coquitlam. He also received the honour of being named captain of the Nanaimo Clippers for the 2020-21 season.
After putting up 14 points his rookie year and another 39 last year, the 18-year-old is looking to make the jump to an elite BCHL player in his third year in the league.
He also comes into the 2020 NHL Draft ranked as the 168th North American skater by NHL Central Scouting.
We talked to Kovich about all that and more.
BCHL: What was your reaction to being named team captain over the summer?
Kovich: It’s amazing. There are some big shoes to follow. We’ve had many great captains come through Nanaimo and I just want to fill those shoes and be a great person in the community and with the team. I want to be someone that my teammates can look up to. I want to show the younger guys the ropes. I take the responsibility of being captain very seriously. I’m honoured the coaches would choose me and I definitely won’t disappoint.
BCHL: You’re heading into your third year in the league and have played on some veteran teams. What did you learn from those older guys, especially when it comes to leadership?
Kovich: I learned a lot from those guys – the way they acted outside and inside the rink. They were really inclusive with the young guys and that’s the kind of thing I want to do and leave my footprint on the team. Being a good guy and someone people can look up to, those are the traits that I took from those older guys the last couple years. No matter what happens, they kept a smile on their faces and they were positive anytime they were at the rink.
BCHL: You’re one of four BCHL players ranked by NHL Central Scouting ahead of the 2020 draft. How are you handling the leadup to that day?
Kovich: I’ve been in touch with a few teams, but I’m just thinking about my team here in Nanaimo. That’s all I can really do. I’m not too focused on the draft or anything, but I am looking forward to seeing what happens. It’s an amazing time. I’m happy for all the rest of the guys in the BCHL that got drafted and, to have a chance, it would be a great experience.
BCHL: I know you must have some friends and former teammates that have the potential to get chosen. Have you had those conversations with some of your peers?
Kovich: A couple of my buddies are ranked up there. A lot of them don’t like to talk about it. There are a lot of humble guys out there that aren’t trying to brag about getting drafted or anything like that. A lot of them are just super excited to be on that list and scouted by NHL teams. All we can really do is be excited for each other and hopefully watch one of our friends see his name get called.
BCHL: If you were to describe yourself as a player to an NHL team that was interested in selecting you, what would you say?
Kovich: I feel like my style would translate great for those teams out east. I’ve got great skill and everything, but I’m not scared to go in those corners and do those jobs that no one else will do. I’m a 200-foot player and you don’t see those a lot in junior, college or the NHL. I can be versatile, so that’s why I can see myself fitting in on any team, any line and any position.
You can watch Kovich and the rest of the Clippers all year long on HockeyTV. Visit your favourite team’s social media or website for a discount code to get $80 off a yearly subscription.
The BCHL’s 2020 NHL Draft coverage is brought to you by Chevrolet.