Read the best interviews in the world of professional hockey. Spanning from the future stars of the game to NHL standouts, The Sports Court provides you with information you can't find anywhere else!
Read our latest interview with Coventry Blaze star, Justin Hamonic!
Trevor Gorsuch is an American hockey goaltender currently playing for the Kalamazoo Wings. Gorsuch played collegiate hockey at Western Michigan before signing his first pro contract with the Toledo Walleye. Since them, Gorsuch has played for teams such as the Reading Royals, Utah Grizzlies, and Fort Wayne Komets. Read the interview below to find out more about Gorsuch's path to pro.
1) Growing up in Missouri, what was your youth hockey career like?
Growing up in Missouri my early playing days were tough because we only had one AAA team in the St. Louis area. So unfortunately we were never the strongest of teams because St. Louis wasn’t a major hockey city like it is growing to become.
2) What made you decide to be a goaltender rather than a skater?
I think what made me become a goalie was initially the gear. But what made me stick with it was I truly enjoyed that feeling of robbing a shooter when they thought they had an easy goal. I grew up watching guys like Brodeur, Roy and Hasek so those highlight reel saves really stuck with me.
3) You spent your collegiate career at Western Michigan University, how was the transition from juniors to college?
The transition from juniors to college was challenging but in a good way. I’ve always been the kind of person who loves a challenge so I loved battling against adversity because that makes achieving my goals even sweeter. It was more so the academics that was the biggest challenge as it had been four years since I had been in school.
4) What’s the toughest part about balancing both athletics and school?
As I said before, academics is the hardest part about being a college athlete. Being an athlete requires a lot of sacrifice just by itself so now adding school on top made a social life very limited. But you really learn to manage and balance hockey, school and life after a little while and that balance makes all three of those much easier.
5) What was your favorite on ice collegiate memory?
It’s really hard to pinpoint one moment, however there are two that come to mind above the rest. The first is my first ever college start at Lawson against Miami of Ohio. The rush of hearing your name called and the Lawson Lunatics going wild is a feeling words can’t do justice. The second would be my senior season and sweeping North Dakota in North Dakota including a shutout. That whole weekend was an amazing memory that I will cherish forever.
6) How did you feel after signing your first professional contract with the Toledo Walleye?
When I first signed with Toledo, everything happened so fast that emotions were almost nonexistent. It was like riding shotgun in a car going a million miles an hour haha. However, once I returned to WMU to finish my senior year I was able to reflect and realize just how amazing that time was and how excited I was for the future.
7) Throughout your time since going pro, you’ve played for quite a few teams and have traveled to quite a few cities. What’s your favorite city you’ve been to?
Yeah I have definitely put some miles on my car but it’s been worth it. Each place I go and each game I play is another opportunity and story. But I would have to say the two best cities I have been so far are Salt Lake City, UT and Toledo. Both are unique in their own ways but both hold special places in my heart.
8) The past two seasons have been very tough for every sport, especially hockey, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. How has COVID impacted you and your professional journey?
)During this pandemic my journey has been interesting to say the least haha as you alluded earlier, I ended up playing for four different teams this season due to the COVID crazy season. Teams were constantly bringing in and shipping out guys to fill out rosters and compete. So in that respect I was very fortunate to be able to play and have those opportunities. But I would also say it was an amazing experience to travel across the country and play with some many new teammates and against new teams.
9) You’re now with the Kalamazoo Wings, what are your expectations on both an individual and team level heading into the new season?
Signing with the Kalamazoo Wings was as close to a no-brainer as possible. The opportunity to play is high and it’s in a city I am very familiar with. I think my own individual goals are the same goals I’ve had for myself my entire career: win more games than I lose, have a solid GAA and save %, and be a good teammate. For the team, I want to be a championship contender and make something special happen in Kalamazoo.
10) What’s your why?
My why, that’s an interesting question. I guess you could say that athletics and sport runs in my family as my dad played pro tennis back in the 70’s, his uncle won Wimbledon in 1963, and my grandpa was the all service boxing champ and had a couple of pro fights. But if I dig deeper I believe it is because I truly love playing hockey and it has been my passion since I was a little boy. I always dream of playing pro hockey and that dream has helped me get where I am today but I still want more.
11) Who’s the best player you’ve ever played against?
The best player I’ve played against is again a tough question as I played against a lot of great players while I was growing up, in juniors and especially in college.
12) Who’s your biggest role model and why?
My biggest role model is my dad. Being a former pro athlete he taught me from a young age what challenges I had ahead of me and helped shape me into the man I am today. My dad also became very successful as a financial advisor after his playing days were over but all his hard work for his job never interfered with time with his family. He is a true family man who puts his family first and that is what I aspire to be when my playing days are over.
13) If you could say one thing to your 10 year old self, what would it be?
If I could go back and say something to a 10 year old me it would be this; be open-minded. For so long I thought I was good enough and didn’t need to change or adapt my game but I was wrong. Change is a natural thing and a lot of people tried to help me see that through the years and my stubbornness blinded me to that.
14) Any last words for the readers?
My final thoughts to the readers, always be yourself and never give less than 100% everyday in everything you do. Those are ideas I try to live my life by and I think they’ve done me well so far!
Big thanks to Trevor for the amazing interview! Truly an awesome guy and amazing player. Best of luck with the season ahead!
Photo via https://www.oursportscentral.com/graphics/pictures/lg20210116-624599.jpg
Founder, The Sports Court
Justin Hamonic is a Canadian professional hockey player currently playing for the Coventry Blaze in England. Growing up in Canada, Hamonic played for Team Manitoba during his youth days. He has since played for the likes of the Alaska Aces, San Antonio Rampage, Fort Wayne Komets, and has even played pro hockey in France! A tough player on the ice, Hamonic is a great person off of it! Read below to find out more!
The Justin Hamonic Interview
2. In 2009, you played for Team Manitoba, representing your city and playing against Canada’s best talent. How was your experience with Manitoba at the Canadian Winter Games?
That was a fun experience. It was one of the first opportunities I had to play against some of the top players from other provinces and the first time I represented Manitoba. Having that opportunity opened my eyes to how many good players there are in Canada. I remember We really came together as a team and surprised many people with our performance. It was a good feeling to be the underdog and finish second in the tournament.
3. You played junior hockey with the Tri-City Americans for four sessions, captaining then in your last two. What did it mean for you to be captain of a top junior team?
It was a great honour to captain Tri-City in my time there. We had many worthy leaders on the team that could have been named captain. They all made my job easier as the captain. I learned a lot as a player and leader in that opportunity. Altogether my time as an American was fantastic.
4. What’s the toughest part about junior hockey?
The toughest part about playing junior hockey especially in the WHL would be the travel aspect. We had many long road trips where we were away from home for a couple weeks at a time. There were many hours spent on busses which took a toll on you as the season wore on. Those road trips weren’t all bad though. That’s where we would become close as a team. We had tons of fun on the bus, in hotels, and in different cities.
5. In the 2014-2015 seasons, you played with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL, making your first pro appearance. Describe the difference in terms of level of play from junior hockey to ECHL?
To me, one of the biggest differences was the positioning and intelligence of the players. There is much less room in pro than junior, partially because guys are bigger but also because they are much better with their positioning. That was something I noticed immediately. Teams consistently executed their system better in pro.
6. What’s the biggest thing you learned in your first pro stint with the Aces?
The biggest thing I learnt was the business side of hockey. Regardless of who you were or how long you had been around, if you were not performing you would not play. There was pressure on everyone to do their job or they would be replaced. I quickly learnt that guys were there to earn a living and move up in their careers. Every night you need to be at your best to stay in the lineup.
7. After leaving the Aces to go to the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL, you moved again, this time to the Fort Wayne Komets, and excelled. Playing 50 games, and 14 in the postseason! How did you enjoy your time on the ice in Fort Wayne?
I loved playing in Fort Wayne. The Komets are a first class organization and treated us very well. The fans were top notch and always filled the rink to support us. We had a good team which made it even better. Most importantly though, my teammates were all great guys. We really came together as a team which translated on the ice.
8. Throughout the ECHL, which city is your favorite to travel to?
I would say Charleston, South Carolina is my favourite city to travel to. The restaurants are great, the weather is usually nice, and I have family friends that live nearby. I really enjoy the southern culture, it’s different from what I’ve lived in.
9. From ‘16 - ‘18 you played with Rampage, Comets, Eagles, and Raiders. And then you moved to France. How was your transition to France on and off of the ice?
It was a bit of a challenge to transition to France. I didn’t really know what to expect before getting there. Off the ice I found the language barrier the most difficult transition and it took a bit of time to adjust to the lifestyle. On the ice, it was a fairly quick transition. The style of game was different but I enjoy the new aspects and learning how to change my game.
10. When I look up ‘Justin Hamonic’ on YT, I see many of your fights. What’s your favorite fight that you’ve been in so far?
I don’t know if I can pinpoint one specific fight as my favourite. I guess I could say my favourites are the ones I haven’t lost. Haha.
11. Compared to America/Canada,, what is the level of play overseas like?
I would say it’s not as physical overseas but the pace is a little higher than the ECHL. I found the style in the Uk more similar than that in France. As far as level of play it’s all fairly comparable.
12. You’re now in Coventry, England, with the Coventry Blaze. How did this opportunity come about?
I connected with the coach in Coventry through a player who knew someone on the team the year before my first in Coventry.
13. England is known for soccer, and Coventry has a pro team in town. Have you been to any soccer games in England?
I have not been to a soccer game yet, although it is high on my list of things to do once we get back there. It’s hard not to take a liking to the sport while living in England.
14. Who’s your biggest role model and why?
I’ve always looked up to my parents. They are the ones who instilled all my values and traits in me.
15. In three words, describe yourself.
Dedicated, energetic, determined.
16. Do you have any other hobbies off the ice. If so, what are they?
I enjoy golfing in the summer. Lately I’ve been tackling quite a few projects around the house too.
17. Best player you’ve played against?
It’s hard to single out just one player but I would say the best player I’ve played against consistently would be Leon Draisiatl. Shea Theodore was great too.
18. Advice for young players working to go pro?
Enjoy every minute and have fun. Don’t think about the end goal, just think about improving everyday.
Huge thanks to Justin for the amazing interview! All the best with everything going forward! Stay healthy! Cheers!
Photo via https://www.juniorhockey.com
Founder, The Sports Court. Loves to read, learn, and share stories about the top 1%
A huge hockey fan who loves to learn all about the game and players from around the globe!
THE SPORTS COURT - BY CHRIS DAILEY