|Kevin & Becky Young – A Canadian Christmas|
I have written a lot of player profiles and player introductions for the blog over the years but there is little doubt one of the most memorable was with Kevin Young in the summer of 2014. Kevin was the first player announced by the Allen Americans for the 2014-15 season after playing for the Colorado Eagles in 2013-14.
What made that first interview so memorable? Here is what I wrote at the time (July 2014):
“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 were already familiar with Kevin when he signed to play with the Americans because he was a member of the Wichita Thunder during the 2012-13 season when Allen won their first championship in the most dramatic game in Allen history. He wasn’t on the ice for the game seven overtime goal by Todd Robinson but that goal is etched in his mind. In that 2012-13 season Kevin was named the Most Outstanding Defenseman in the Central Hockey League (CHL). He was the top scoring CHL defenseman during the regular season with 59 points (24 goals, 35 assists) and was also the top scoring defenseman in the playoffs with 17 points (4 goals 13 assists) in 15 games.
By the time Kevin arrived in Allen in the summer of 2014 he was a seasoned veteran starting his 10th professional season. His career included five years in Europe (Netherlands, England & Germany). He had already been to the championship finals five different times and won two championships. In 2005-06 he won the championship in the Netherlands and in 2010-11 he won the CHL championship playing for the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs. If you recall, the Mudbugs beat what might have been the best Allen team ever in the semifinals in five games and then beat Colorado in the finals.
How and why did Kevin sign in Allen? Here is what he said at the time, “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.”
Kevin was part of a dream season in 2014-15. Nobody gave any of the seven teams that joined the ECHL that season from the CHL a chance. When the Americans came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the Western Conference finals against the Ontario Reign everyone started to take notice. South Carolina was favored in the Kelly Cup final but Allen won the series in a game seven 6-1 blowout at the Allen Event Center.
Young had 44 points (8G, 36A) during the regular season and was part a prolific group of high scoring defensemen. Four defensemen were in the top 10 scorers for Allen that season. Aaron Gens (56 points), Kevin with 44 points, Justin Baker (39 points) and Tyler Ludwig (37 points).
In the Kelly Cup playoffs Kevin led all defensemen in assists (12) and plus/minus (+10).
|Kevin averaged .78 points per game in 503 games as a pro|
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 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.
Here is an update on Kevin in his own words:
Can you give us an update on you and your family?
I have been married to Becky for over three years now. After my hockey career we moved back to her hometown in Illinois. Becky is coaching gymnastics in the gym she attended when she was younger. I got my real estate license during my final playing year and tried to put that to use. I found it pretty hard to break into that market, especially not being from the area or having many contacts. Luckily for me our Maid of Honor put me in contact with her company my first year out here. I have now been with Sports Made Personal for almost two years and am their Director of Operations. We have multiple youth sports clubs in soccer and lacrosse and also two event companies who put on tournaments all over the Midwest. We were a top 500 fastest growing company in the USA last year and it has been an exciting ride so far. Becky and I visited my family in Vancouver over Christmas and are now planning on adopting two puppies and welcoming them into our brand new home. Things are going well for “The Youngs.”
What involvement do you have in hockey?
I have actually not touched the ice since my last professional shift even though our new neighbors are trying to get me out on the frozen pond in their back yard. Also, Becky has a pair of skates but has never used them, so we might have to remedy that.
What are your hobbies/interests now that you no longer play professional hockey?
My main hobby now is golf. During the summer I try and get out once a week. I am down to a nine handicap now but for gambling purposes I am a 13!
Can you share something about your experience playing in Allen?
I was recently talking about this with Becky and my sister Shawna. Playing in Allen was my favorite year of hockey in North America. The fans are among the best in the league, the city is second to none and the way players are treated is top notch. My memories consist mostly of the locker room and bus rides. That was the tightest group of players I’ve ever been part of and all of the time we spent together was a blast, from the kangaroo court almost weekly with Garrett Clarke to the live concerts on the bus trips from Uncle Schlitzy (Ian Schultz) and Aaron Gens.
What is your fondest memory of your time in Allen?
Plain and simple, my fondest memory was winning the 2015 Kelly Cup championship. Getting to share that moment with Becky and my teammates was the best moment in my playing career. I was lucky enough to win two other championships but this one was easily my favorite. Getting the Kelly Cup first after Captain Schaafsma was an honor for me that may go unnoticed by some, but for me, it was a very emotional moment.
|Kevin Raising the Kelly Cup|
Who was your favorite/closest teammate in Allen?
I have stayed in touch with a good number of guys from that championship team. Schaafsma, Gens, Costello, Greger, Spencer, The Ludwigs, Dyson, Rumpel, and Gill are probably the most frequent but I feel we could all pick up conversations with each other like we saw each other yesterday.
In closing, 2014-15 was quite the year for the guy that was known as Younger or KY in the locker room. He played one more season after his time in Allen and then retired. Kevin had an 11 year pro career and won a Dutch championship, a CHL championship and an ECHL championship. He was twice voted the Best Defenseman in his league (Netherlands and Central Hockey League). When you see quotes from his coaches along the way they frequently talk about Kevin’s high hockey IQ and that is what made him successful. Obviously Kevin’s hockey IQ and hockey sense was extremely high. His patience and poise with the puck was exceptional. He had great decision making skills and the biggest key to his success was how he could read plays.
Job well done!
|Becky & Kevin at Notre Dame attending the NHL Winter Classic|