Friday, July 4, 2014

Player Introduction - Kevin Young, Including Engagement News

Kevin & Becky got engaged on Tuesday (nice ring)

Had the opportunity to sit down with Kevin Young last Sunday just before he was headed to Illinois for a short vacation. It has been quite a month for Kevin as he has moved from Colorado (where he played last year) after being the first player signed by the Americans for the 2014-2015 season. After quickly getting settled in Allen, Kevin and his girlfriend Becky Geyer (who is from Illinois) headed to Illinois for a short trip over the fourth of July. To my surprise Kevin said to me, "If you write this story after Tuesday you can say I am engaged as I am going to ask Becky to marry me while we are in Illinois." And what is an indication of his dry sense of humor Kevin also said, "I will text you to let you know if she says yes." True to his word I got a text from Kevin Tuesday at 10:00 am saying, "I am now engaged." Congrats to Kevin & Becky! They met when Kevin was playing in Wichita and Becky worked as the Director, Fan Relations/Ticket Operations for the Thunder.

Allen fans will remember Kevin as a member of the Wichita Thunder during the 2012-2013 season when he was named the Most Outstanding Defenseman in the Central Hockey League. He was the top scoring defenseman in the league with 59 points (24 goal, 35 assists) during the regular season and was also the top scoring defenseman in the playoffs with 17 points (4 goals 13 assists) in 15 games.

This will be Kevin's tenth year of professional hockey which includes five years in Europe (Netherlands, England & Germany). He has been to the championship finals five different times and won two championships. In 2005-2006 he won the championship in the Netherlands playing for the Nijimegen Emperors. One of Kevin's teammates that year was CHL referee Jake Brenk. Interestingly, Jamie Schaafsma was also playing in the Netherlands that year for the Geleen Smoke Eaters. Kevin also won the CHL championship in the 2010-2011 season playing for the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs.  If you recall, the Mudbugs beat what might have been the best Allen team ever (97 points in the regular season) in the semifinals in five games and then beat Colorado in the finals.

Kevin is from White Rock, British Columbia. White Rock is located on the ocean in the southwest corner of British Columbia, 30 miles south of Vancouver and is flanked on the south by the US/Canadian border and Blaine, Washington. And yes the name comes from a 400 ton white rock that is on the beach in the town center. Kevin describes White Rock as the perfect place to live that is never too hot, never too cold, with mountains and the ocean.

Kevin's dad (Bruce) is a retired businessman who owned a bowling alley in Vancouver for many years.  His mom, Lynne, passed away four years ago and Kevin now wears #43 in honor of his mom who was born in 1943. Kevin is the youngest of three children. He has a brother (Daryl) who was a green beret and is now a policeman in Abbotsford, BC and a sister (Shawna) who is a fraud investigator for the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.

Here are Kevin's answers to some get to know you questions:

Nickname: Younger or KY

Hockey Hero: Nicklas Lidstrom

Earliest Hockey Memory: I remember a jamboree game when I was around eight where we played a game and it was videotaped. After the game we went upstairs in the arena and had a meal and they showed the game on the big screen.

Age You Started Skating: I started when I was about four as my dad took me to an open skating session and threw skates on me to see if I would like it. At first I fell down a lot and didn't like it but he brought me back and I was soon enjoying skating. I got involved in organized hockey about a year later. I was a good backwards skater so I played defense right from the start.

How Would You Describe Your Style Of Play: I am methodical and more of a thinker rather than a high speed guy. I try to be positioned well all of the time. With my professional experience I have learned when to take chances and when to stay back and am pretty good at reading the game.

Favorite Actor: Ed Norton & Leonardo DiCaprio

Favorite Actress: Jennifer Lawrence

Favorite Type Of Music: I like a wide variety of music from country to hard rock and don't stick to one.

Favorite Singer or Group: I have been enjoying the group Shinedown recently.

One Thing People Would Be Surprised to Learn About You: I play the piano.

What Chore Do You Hate To Do: Laundry

What Do You Have That Is Great Value To You But Little Value To Others: My golf clubs.

Where Is The Most Interesting Place You Have Ever Visited: Amsterdam

If You Could Live In Another Country For Two Years Where Would You Live: Sweden

If You Could Be Anything Besides a Pro Hockey Player What Would You Be: Pro Golfer

Any Pregame Rituals Or Superstitions: I like to play two touch. (Two touch is the game you see the players playing with a soccer ball as part of their pregame warmup).

Who Is Your Number One Fan: That would be my mom and dad. They both sacrificed a lot for me to play hockey and they never missed a game while I was growing up. My dad will come to Allen sometime during the season to visit and watch me play. He will study the schedule as soon as it comes out and will know way more than I do about the schedule.

What Do You Like To Do To Kill Time On The Bus: I do a lot of reading and prefer the actual books rather than a Kindle.

What Do You Like To Do Away From The Rink: I really enjoy golf. I am about a ten handicap and it has been coming down.

Any Good Bus Stories: Nothing I can tell without throwing somebody under the bus. When I was in Wichita we did spend the night along the side of the road in New Mexico when the bus broke down.

Favorite Saying or Motto: On that rings true for me is "Win Your Last Game"

Is There a Coach That Has Had a Big Impact On You: Lawrence Sacharuk ran hockey schools and coached me in the summer when I was young. He played in the NHL as an offensive defensemen. I think he was the third defenseman in the NHL to score 20 goals in a season. He was friends of my parents and taught me a lot about hockey and about life. He eventually became a coach in Holland and was the one that brought me to Europe and we won a championship. I still talk to him throughout the year but not always about hockey as he is a good friend.

Favorite TV Show: Modern Family & Lockup

You may wonder how Kevin ended up in Allen. Here is how it happened in his own words. "Steve Martinson reached out to me to play for the Americans. It is pretty flattering to have a team such as Allen want you to play for them. Knowing their championship tradition you want to be on a team that will do what it takes to win. It is a great team to play for at this point in my career."

Here are some other quotes about Kevin:

- Young is a tremendous player that is solid on both ends of the ice.

- He makes us better on the power play and he helps on the offensive side of things without giving up anything on the defensive side of things.

- Obviously Kevin's hockey IQ and hockey sense is extremely high. And his patience and poise with the puck is exceptional.

- Kevin has got great decision making skills and the biggest key to his success is how he reads plays.

Finally here are the details courtesy of Hockeydb:

Kevin Young

Defense -- shoots R
Born Jul 16 1982 -- White Rock, BC
[31 yrs. ago]
Height 6.02 -- Weight 200
Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
1998-99 Medicine Hat Tigers WHL 58 1 13 14 19 -17 ----------
1999-00 Portland Winter Hawks WHL 51 4 21 25 60 -34 ----------
2000-01 Portland Winter Hawks WHL 57 4 20 24 108 10 14 1 4 5 24
2001-02 Kelowna Rockets WHL 37 9 19 28 66 6 ----------
2002-03 Brampton Battalion OHL 47 13 30 43 34 33 11 0 10 10 6
2003-04 U. of New Brunswick AUS 28 14 15 29 16 19

2004-05 U. of New Brunswick AUS 12 6 2 8 26 3

2005-06 Nijmegen Emperors Hlnd 40 15 29 44 62

2006-07 Hull Stingrays EIHL 30 6 8 14 55 ----------
2007-08 Landsberg 2000 EV 2.GBun 17 8 5 13 56 4 1 6 7 2
2008-09 Lausitzer Foxes 2.GBun 41 7 17 24 80 10 3 7 10 6
2009-10 Crimmitschau ETC 2.GBun 38 5 16 21 42 ----------
2010-11 Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs CHL 8 0 6 6 4 2 16 0 2 2 4
2010-11 Eindhoven Kemphanen Hlnd 38 16 45 61 50

2011-12 Wichita Thunder CHL 8 2 2 4 4 016 3 6 9 4
2012-13 Wichita Thunder CHL 66 24 35 59 65 16 15 4 13 17 4
2013-14 Colorado Eagles ECHL 56 6 29 35 36 25 6 1 3 4 2

Kevin & Becky met when they were both working for the Wichita Thunder

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