Jozefek has a bright future in ice hockey

Jozefek has a bright future in ice hockey

News

Jozefek has a bright future in ice hockey

By

Mendham High School’s Grant Jozefek has a few major decisions to make concerning his ice hockey future in the coming months, but for now, the dynamic sophomore sniper may want to consider what he will do for an encore when he steps onto the ice for the Minutemen this winter.

Jozefek burst onto the New Jersey high school hockey scene in imposing style last season by recording 51 goals and adding 52 assists for a state-best 103 points as a freshman while leading Mendham to the Halvorsen Cup title.

A member of the Jersey Hitmen U-18 Tier I Junior A team, where he’s among the team scoring leaders this season, Jozefek also made his United States Hockey League debut back on Nov. 15 as a member of the Muskegon Lumberjacks. He was selected by the Lumberjacks in the first round, seventh overall, in the league’s draft in May and was offered a permanent spot on the roster after attending camp in late summer.

Instead, Jozefek will play one more season for Mendham in the Morris County Secondary Schools Interscholastic Ice Hockey League this winter before deciding where his hockey future will take him.

He could opt to go to the USHL full-time, and then perhaps onto college; or could change direction and decide to display his talents for the Plymouth Whalers (major junior) in the Ontario Hockey League, where he was also drafted and offered a chance to skate as a third or fourth line center. If Jozefek elects to make the move to the OHL, however, he loses his college eligibility.

“Right now, I’m just focused on having a really good year here at home for Mendham and the Hitmen,” Jozefek said. “We have a good team coming back (at Mendham) and my goal is to be even more successful this year and keep my play at a very high level. After the high school season is over, I’ll probably jump to the USHL full time but we’ll see what happens.”

Jozefek is expected to team with senior Paul Michura to form one of the more dynamic duos in the MCSSIHL this season. The pair played together last season and the chemistry was evident right from the drop of the puck.

“We should be even better as a line this year,” Jozefek said.

Jozefek will attempt to balance his high school schedule with that of the Hitmen. In addition, he will have one eye on Muskegon, where he is expected to play a second game with the Lumberjacks around the holidays. As an affiliated player, he is eligible to play in up to 10 games in the USHL this season.

“Words can’t explain getting the chance to play in my first USHL game, it was surreal,” Jozefek said. “The speed and physicality is unbelievable and the coaches telling me that I fit in well gave me a lot of confidence. It was the greatest hockey moment of my life.

“It looks like a lot to handle right now and I know I’m going to have to focus on my time management,” Jozefek said. “But there are some great opportunities for me and I want to be able to take advantage of them.”

Another opportunity that may come to fruition is the chance to play Division 1 collegiate hockey. Jozefek has already made some school visits and has several Ivy League schools interested in his talents.

Closer to home, Jozefek realizes that he will have a target on his back when he steps on the ice this winter for Mendham. He will have the opportunity to showcase his talents against the likes of Mennen Division powers Chatham, Kinnelon, and Morris Knolls.

“I welcome the challenge because I think it can only make me a better player,” he said. “I want to get bigger and stronger and lift my game to a higher level.”

Latest

More USA TODAY High School Sports