Tyler Kolarik was taken by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the fifth round of the 2000 Entry Draft. He spent four years at Harvard University where he posted a career 49 goals and 57 assists in 128 games. The now 24-year-old centerman is a rookie with the Dayton Bombers in the ECHL where he currently has 14 goals and 13 assists in 42 games.
Hockey’s Future recently caught up with the Philadelphia native before the ECHL All-Star game in Reading, PA where he was part of the National Conference team that won 6-2.
HF: How did you enjoy your time at Harvard? What made you choose to go there?
TK: I had several options to choose from but when it came down to it athletically and academically it was a pretty good fit for me. I really enjoyed playing there. I had one of the best times of my life there.
HF: What was your major?
TK: I was a psychology major.
HF: What was your favorite time playing at Harvard?
TK: Winning the two ECAC championships. Those were some great moments for me. I will never forget them.
HF: Talk about getting drafted by an expansion team. Would you have preferred getting drafted by an established team like the Red Wings or the Flyers than with an expansion team?
TK: I realize that with an expansion team there isn’t that type of excitement that it brings like being with a team like the Flyers, but it’s still pretty exciting getting drafted. In some ways you feel like you have a better shot to make it in the league since you don’t have a lot of older veterans ahead of you. I knew a couple of people who were involved in the Blue Jackets organization so that helped out a lot.
HF: You were drafted in the fifth round. Were you a little surprised by where you were taken in the draft?
TK: I seem to remember I was rated right around 100 by CSB. By the end of the season I was rated something like 62nd. I really didn’t know where that would put me but I didn’t know a whole lot about the draft. Obviously you’ve got to go out and compete with all the other potential draft picks. It didn’t really matter to me, in the end I was just so happy to get drafted.
HF: What have the Blue Jackets talked to you about your development and where they’d like to see you at the end of the season?
TK: I guess they’ve been pretty happy with me. I finally got called up to Syracuse. Hopefully I will be going up there again soon. As far as my development, they’ve just stressed for me to continue to work hard and keep working on being a role player. That’s where they see my future.
HF: How did you enjoy your brief time up in Syracuse?
TK: It was awesome. The guys were great. We won a couple of games while I was there. The game is so much faster. Hopefully I will get back there soon. It’s where I’d like to be.
HF: After having a taste of the AHL have you given it some thought when you’d like to see yourself in the NHL?
TK: It’s hard to take it one season at a time. You’re always looking at the big picture I guess. I’m just trying to enjoy the ride right now and take it day by day.
HF: Do you consider yourself a two-way player or a goal scorer?
TK: Oh I’m definitely not a scorer (laughing). I’ve had some success scoring some goals during the first half of the year though. The puck kind of bounced my way for a while there. I know that I’m never going to be a goal scorer but I’m going to chip in a few here and there.
HF: With the first half of the season gone, how has it gone so far?
TK: Well the team has struggled so far, but we’re improving. No one likes to lose games, but we’re working hard and I think we will turn it around. Winning is fun so I hope we can get more wins under our belt.
HF: What type of leader are you?
TK: Oh I’m definitely more of a vocal kind of guy. I’ve always been that way. It gets me more involved into the game when I’m vocal. I’m always trying to pick up my teammates. I like to keep them motivated. I was captain my senior year at Harvard so I guess that made me a leader (laughing).
HF: What do you consider your strengths?
TK: My speed, my forechecking, and playing defense. Doing the little things. I’m not a flashy player.
HF: How old were you when you got into hockey?
TK: I was 5 years old. My dad owned a hockey rink so for me it was a no-brainer.
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