The Heart & Soul of Seamus Kotyk

By Shane Walsh

For Seamus Kotyk, who backstopped the Ottawa 67′s to the Memorial Cup Championship in 1999, working hard may not always payoff. The Wayne Gretzky award winner as the most valuable player of the 2001 OHL Playoffs has yet to agree to terms with the Boston Bruins on a contract for next season. The 5th choice, 147th overall by the Boston Bruins in 1999 has 24 hours left to agree on a contract, or be fed to the Wolves on the free agent market. Because of his 1980 birth year, Kotyk does not qualify to re-enter the NHL draft this June.

“I would love to pull the Black & Gold jersey over my head,” said Kotyk in an exclusive interview with hockeysfuture.com. “If things work out for me, I’ll be the 4th goalie on the depth chart. That’s where I’d like to be right now. It would be great to get some experience in the AHL next year and perhaps get an opportunity to play a few games with the big club. The goalies in Providence were all given a chance to play last year and that’s something that I’m still thinking about. Andrew Raycroft stepped right into the NHL from Kingston of the OHL and I thought he did a great job. It’s really good to know that the opportunities are there.”

For those who remember, it was just over a year ago that Kotyk was facing the possibility of never playing hockey again. After struggling with mysterious respiratory problems during training camp, Kotyk was eventually diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmia and had surgery to correct the problem.

That first surgery was just the start of the merry go round year he had.

Kotyk had a second scare when he fainted during one of his junior games with Ottawa. The incident was diagnosed as dehydration, but not before his doctors decided to open him up and investigative to rule out any other complications.

While none were found, Kotyk developed a nerve problem in his right leg where the surgeons made their entry for the second heart procedure. With that, his season was done.

After spending most of last summer doing intensive training, Kotyk’s clean bill of health got his career back on track. Posting a 24-20-7 record with an outstanding .902 save percentage and 2 shutouts, Kotyk was the elite netminder in the OHL Playoffs.

“I still go for checkups every 8 months to make sure that everything is ok. The reoccurrence rate is very low after the procedure, but it’s still better to be safe.”

Waiting patiently at home by the phone, Kotyk is keeping his fingers crossed that a deal will get done.

“We’re fairly close from what I was told. We’re not that far away in terms of the money. The contract is for 3 years, which is standard because I’m a rookie. I don’t think it would be a good idea to really comment on the inefficiencies until something happens.”

“I’d really like to be a Boston Bruin. They were the team that took a chance on me in the beginning, and they’re the ones I’d like to sign with in the end.”

If Bruins scout Bob Tindall’s recommendation is heeded, however, Kotyk will soon be under contract to them. He’s already attended two Boston camps.

“He’s a very level-headed kid,” Tindall said. “I’m definitely going to recommend we sign him.”

We will know by 5:00 P.M. tomorrow!

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