Mendham's Jozefek is All Daily Record Ice Hockey Player of the Year

Mendham's Jozefek is All Daily Record Ice Hockey Player of the Year


Mendham's Jozefek is All Daily Record Ice Hockey Player of the Year


When Mendham’s Grant Jozefek became the first freshman in more than 13 years to break the 100-point plateau and lead the state in scoring, many skeptics wondered if he could repeat the feat this season with the bar set a bit higher and a target clearly drawn on his back.

The speedy sophomore was only happy to oblige.

Jozefek equaled his performance of a year ago, recording 103 points for the second consecutive season on 45 goals and 58 assists to again lead the state while guiding Mendham to its second straight Halvorsen Cup championship and a trip to the NJSIAA Public B semifinals. Prior to his team’s shutout loss to Ramsey in the state semifinals, Jozefek had recorded at least one point in 51 straight games.

Jozefek, who has already verbally committed to Northeastern University with two years of high school eligibility remaining, is the 2014 All Daily Record Ice Hockey Player of the Year.

“I wanted to prove the people wrong who said I would never do it again this year,” Jozefek said. “I used that for motivation during the season and just tried to progress as a player and get better every day.”

Jozefek combined with fellow senior Paul Michura to form one of the top scoring duos in the state. This season, they combined for 178 points to help lead the Minutemen to the Halvorsen Cup and a state semifinal berth before losing to Ramsey.

“It was hard to be upset with the season that we had,” said Jozefek. “I think we deserved to be in the semifinals against Ramsey, but it just didn’t go the way we wanted it to go. We wanted to repeat as Halvorsen Cup champions and make a deep run in the states. I was proud of what we accomplished.”

Jozefek, who is finishing up an Atlantic Youth Hockey League schedule with the Long Island Gulls, has also played for the Jersey Hitmen U-18 Tier 1 Junior A team and has been drafted by the Plymouth Whalers (major junior) in the Ontario Hockey League. He also played one game this past winter for the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the United States Hockey League.

Where he will end up next year is still up in the air, but chances are that he will not return to the Morris County Hockey League and the red and blue of the Mendham Minutemen.

“It’s a little too early to tell what’s going to happen next, but there is a chance I could end up back at Mendham next year,” Jozefek said. “I’d really like to make the USHL team and experience the grind of a 62-game season at that level. We’ll wait to see how it pans out and make the decision that’s best for my career going forward.”

A stint in the USHL would likely fit best as a bridge to a collegiate career at Division I Northeastern University, where Jozefek has already been told that he would skate as a true freshman if his game stays on track over the next few years.

“The want me to play a lot of minutes and get time both on the penalty kill and the power play,” Jozefek said. “When I get there, they want me to be prepared to play as a true freshman and a top six forward. It’s a great challenge.”

Mendham coach John Kovacs, who has mentored his share of Division 1 prospects over his nearly 20 years behind the bench at both Morris Knolls and now Mendham for the past 17 seasons, believes Jozefek possesses all the tools necessary to become an outstanding collegiate and professional player.

“As good as Grant was as a freshman he elevated his game to another level this year,” Kovacs said. “To achieve the success he did this season while playing under a microscope every shift is a testament to the quality player and person he it. With all of the success he’s already had, it’s just the beginning of what will be an amazing career.”

With Division 1 collegiate hockey or junior hockey right around the corner, the whispers of a potential National Hockey League career for Jozefek have already begun. His draft eligibility year for the NHL will be 2016, when he dreams of his name being called by one of the current 30 NHL franchises.

“I know a lot of guys don’t like to think that far ahead but I like to use (the NHL) as a motivational tool,” Jozefek said. “It’s there to remind me that having my name mentioned with the NHL is a privilege and that I have to continue to work hard and progress. I try to work on all aspects of my game. I want to be a complete, two-way player because that’s what’s needed to compete at a higher level.”


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