2009-10: A product of the Valley Junior Warriors youth program in Massachusetts, Sam Kurker skated for the varsity team at St. John’s Prep in Massachusetts as a sophomore.
2010-11: Kurker skated for the Junior Bruins AAA tournament team and was the third-leading scorer for St. John’s Prep as a junior. He scored 20 goals with 17 assists. In the Super 8 playoffs he scored 2 goals with 5 assists as St. John’s reached the Super 8 championship game, falling to Malden Catholic in overtime.
2011-12: Kurker was a team captain for St. John’s Prep as a senior after attending USA Hockey’s Select 17 Camp and representing the USA at the 2011 U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. In 24 games for St. John’s he scored 32 goals with 28 assists. In three games at the Ivan Hlinka tournament he was plus-1 with 4 penalty minutes. Kurker committed to playing college hockey at Boston University. He was invited to the NHL Draft Combine and ranked 36th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings prior to the 2012 NHL Draft.
2012-13: Kurker played 35 games for Boston University as a freshman. Skating much of the season on the third line with senior Ben Rosen and fellow freshman Matthew Lane, he scored 3 goals with 2 assists and was minus-10; finishing third on the Terriers with 61 penalty minutes. Boston University finished tied for third in Hockey East but did not receive an NCAA tournament bid despite falling to first-place Massachusetts-Lowell, 1-0, in the Hockey East Championship Game.
2013-14: Kurker played 12 games for Boston University as a sophomore — leaving school in January to play for Indiana in the USHL. He scored 1 goal and was minus-2 with 14 penalty minutes while skating for the Terriers. Kurker scored 6 goals with 8 assists and was plus-3 with 45 penalty minutes in 24 regular season games with the Ice. Indiana finished first in the Eastern Conference and won the USHL’s Clark Cup; defeating Western Conference champ Waterloo in the finals. Kurker scored 3 goals with 3 assists and was plus-4 with 6 penalty minutes in 12 playoff games. Indiana suspended operations following the season and Kurker signed with Sioux City for the 2014-15 season in May 2014.
2014-15: Kurker played for the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers as a 20-year-old. He scored 24 goals with 25 assists in 56 games and had an even plus/minus, finishing third on the Musketeers with 86 penalty minutes. Sioux City finished first in the Western Conference, falling to eventual Clark Cup champion Sioux Falls in a first-round playoff series. Kurker had 2 assists and was -3 with 18 penalty minutes in five playoff games.
2015-16: Kurker returned to college hockey, skating for Hockey East champion Northeastern University. In 41 games he scored 6 goals with 12 assists and was +1 with 50 penalty minutes. The Huskies started the year 1-11-2 before turning things around, finishing sixth in the regular season and then winning the Hockey East tournament to earn an NCAA berth. Northeastern defeated Massachusetts-Lowell, 3-2, in the Hockey East championship game before falling to eventual National champion North Dakota, 6-2, in the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals.
Kurker is a power forward-type player with a bit of offensive ability and some grit to his game. He doesn't create offense with skill but rather more via his size and hustle. After being overwhelmed a bit in making the jump directly from prep school to college hockey, Kurker has been scoring consistently at the USHL level as a 20-year-old. He will have an opportunity to prove he can compete at a higher level when he skates for Northeastern University in 2015-16.
Kurker returned to college hockey in 2015-16, skating for Northeastern University. Playing in a lower line role and chipping in offensively at times for a balanced Huskies team that reached the NCAA tournament, he has not displayed the consistent scoring expected of a former second-round pick but plays a strong two-way game. He has one year of NCAA eligibility left and is expected to return to Northeastern. His progress to this point suggests he can be a sound, lower line forward.