Demons’ Kotz invited to play on state hockey team at national invite tourney in May

Glenwood Demons' senior hockey player Ryan Kotz, upright, in action against Summit earlier this season.

Glenwood Springs Demons hockey senior forward Ryan Kotz has been invited to join Team Colorado in the preps National Invitational Tournament scheduled to be played in Minnesota in early May.

Last year, the Coal Ridge High School student played on the second-tier team and attended America’s showcase in St. Louis. This year, he was evaluated during the CHSAA season, during which Kotz scored 23 goals and had 23 assists.

His Demons’ team finished 12-6-3 in just their second season of CHSAA varsity play, advancing to the second round of the single-classification state hockey tournament.

Kotz’s standout year led to him being chosen for the top team, joining Colorado’s best players in the NIT tournament.

Team Colorado is scheduled to compete in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) in Minneapolis from April 29 – May 3 — barring any lingering sports and travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic at that time.

If the tournament proceeds, the Colorado team will play against the best high school players from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota and Massachusetts. 

This is the first year ever that Colorado has been invited to compete in the NIT, according to Glenwood hockey coach Tim Cota.

“This prestigious and highly competitive event receives huge exposure from the NHL, NCAA and Junior A scouts and has changed the future for many of the players that have participated,” Cota said. “Team Colorado will compete against players who are moving on to Junior A, are committed to NCAA Division I and III schools and some who will be drafted in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft next June.”

Kotz is known to his coaches and teammates as “Pony.”

“Pony had the type of senior year that he needed to have to be selected for this type of team,” Cota said. “He plays at both ends of the ice very well and is always around the puck. He’s going to be an asset to this team and will represent the Western Slope very well on Team Colorado.” 

Ryan earned Peak League All-Conference honors along with his front line teammate Colter Strautman, who also earned All-State honors, and league honorable mention pick Sean Mooney.

“Demon hockey in general had the type of year where many of our players got noticed on the Front Range and beyond,” Cota said. “This just goes to show that Grizzly Hockey as a youth program and Demon Hockey as a high school program can compete with the larger Front Range teams and programs.” 

He added that Kotz’s work ethic on the ice embodies that.

“I’ve been coaching for 28 years now and haven’t had many players that have had the type of work ethic on the ice that Ryan has,” Cota said.

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