Turning the corner or taking the next step is vital for any player’s success.
Experience, skill, confidence, dedication and a relentless will to compete continue to fuel Jake Rozzi’s path to the QMJHL.
Rozzi is looking to build off the momentum of an outstanding 2019-2020 season south of the border for the South Kent Selects Academy in hopes of becoming a difference maker for the rebuilding Moncton Wildcats.
The Kirkland, Quebec product is a kid of very few words.
Rozzi does all his talking on the ice.
The highly skilled dynamic scoring forward is eager to get things started with the Cats.
“It was an honour to be selected by Moncton,” Rozzi said.
“I’m super excited to get started.”
Super exciting, that’s what most people say after watching Rozzi play the game he loves.
Speed, creativity, tremendous hockey sense and knack for finding the open man and the net perfectly describe Rozzi.
How could a player like that end up in the 3rd round?
The Moncton Wildcats selected Rozzi 41st overall.
Can you say draft day steal?
Where does Rozzi see himself fitting in at the Q level?
“I see myself fitting in well at the next level.”
“I’m a player that can adapt well in a short period of time,” the sixteen year old said confidently.
Jake Rozzi grew up idolizing the best in the world while dreaming of some day playing under the bright lights of the NHL.
Like so many other young players across this country, Rozzi honed his skills on the backyard rink under the watchful eyes of his parents.
“My earliest recollection of the game is playing hockey in my backyard with my dad when I was two years old,” said a reflective Rozzi.
Frozen hands and numb feet never derailed Rozzi’s passion and love for the game, if anything it only strengthen his dream.
“Growing up around the game my parents and coaches were my mentors.”
“They helped me get better throughout my minor hockey career,” explained the soft spoken scoring threat.
The dream to play professionally may have started in his backyard, but Rozzi’s unrelenting drive and natural offensive instincts definitely set him apart.
“I always wanted to become a professional hockey player, but when I was around 12 years old that’s when I really wanted to pursue hockey as a career.”
Rozzi looked up to arguably the best player in the game.
“My favourite player growing up was Sidney Crosby.”
“I don’t really think I play like him that much. I think my game is pretty similar to Patrick Kane because we both have great hands, good hockey IQ and can score goals,” Rozzi said confidently.
Rozzi and his family made the decision to leave Quebec in favour of heading south of the border for his QMJHL draft year.
Some would say that decision is incredibly difficult to make.
That certainly wasn’t the case for Rozzi and his family.
For them it was all about trusting the process and getting prepared to take the next step.
“I chose Selects Academy because I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to get better.”
“I had a really good experience.The program was one of the best in the States, it helped me to get better,” Rozzi added.
Rozzi’s incredible numbers speak for themselves.
In 64 games this season, Rozzi lite the lamp an astonishing 59 times while adding 58 helpers.
In this era of the game many young players are concerned about the pressure, high expectations or exposure during their draft year.
Many young players struggle with that, obviously that couldn’t be farther from the truth for the offensively gifted kid from Kirkland.
“Last year wasn’t that nerve wracking at all,” admitted Rozzi.
“I tried not to think of it too much and just focus on playing hockey.”
What would he have changed if anything about his draft year?
“I wouldn’t have changed much really.”
“I thought I played pretty well.”
“The only thing I wish that would’ve happen was that our team could of been able to play in the Nationals this year, but it got canceled, which really sucked,” explained Rozzi.
Focused, driven and highly skilled, exactly what the rebuilding Wildcats need for their new young core group.
Rozzi understands the physical rigours and high expectations that will confront him when he arrives in the QMJHL.
It’s a challenge he’s willing to overcome every time he steps on the ice.
“I worked on getting stronger and faster because that’s what it takes to play at the next level,” Rozzi said.
It’s one thing to be tremendously skilled, it’s another to be willing to put the work in and continue to improve becoming a full 200ft player.
It’s clear the Wildcats have found both of those invaluable qualities in this years 3rd round selection.
The sacrifices it has taken to get to this point of his career isn’t lost on the young scoring phenom.
“My family has made a lot of sacrifices for me to play hockey.”
“My parents have spent their money to give me the chance to play. They also spend a lot of their time driving me everywhere from rink to rink, which has allowed me to get better.”
It would appear the Moncton Wildcats have found an offensive force and critical piece for their rebuild.