Kevin Gursoy Ends Major Junior Career With Career Highs
Gursoy notched 24 goals and 56 points in 65 games this season split between the Charlottetown Islanders and the Halifax Mooseheads.
Playing in the QMJHL wasn’t the plan originally for Gursoy, but it became his path, and a successful one at that. Like most Ontario born players, the LaSalle product grew up dreaming of playing in the OHL.
“Growing up it was always a dream of mine to play in the OHL and I tried my very best to make that a reality, but unfortunately it didn’t happen,” said Gursoy, who played his Major Midget season the Windsor Jr. Spitfires ‘AAA’ system.
“I remember watching the entire OHL draft in my living room hoping to see my name, but that never came obviously, so I kind of carried a bit of a chip on my shoulder after that. I remember thinking because I wasn’t drafted that I had to shift my focus to trying the NCAA route which I did. I ended up playing a year of minor midget in Windsor and had a blast with that group of guys who I’m still very close with to this day. The following year I ended up getting my rights traded to Chatham from the LaSalle Vipers and wasn’t really sure what to think of it. I almost stayed back to play Junior C, but decided to give the Maroons a chance. Thankfully I chose that option because I don’t think I would be where I am today if it wasn’t for that season.”
Gursoy spent the 2016-2017 season with the Chatham Maroons, and had a big campaign compiling 30 goals and 62 points in only 50 games.
“After that year I had some interest from various OHL teams and they were all saying similar things,” Gursoy explained, saying the OHL teams wanted him to attend tryouts, but with no guarantees.
“I was offered a contract with Saint John during the summer, so for me it was the safe option to head out East and play there. It was a pretty big change of pace playing in the CHL, but over the years I got increasingly comfortable playing in the league and my confidence grew with it, which ultimately made me a better player.”
Gursoy started his QMJHL career playing for the Saint John Sea Dogs, before suiting up for the Charlottetown Islanders, and eventually the Halifax Mooseheads. In total, he appeared in 187 QMJHL games, scoring 114 points.
Despite putting up good numbers, this season came with the uncertainty of being an overage player, with teams limited in how many 20-year-olds they can carry.
“This year was a bit of question mark for me going into camp as an overage player and I really didn’t know if I would be in the league or not. I had confidence in my game, but with the limited room for 20 year olds in the CHL you can never be too sure,” Gursoy explained.
“I think I kept that in my head a lot during the summer when I was training and skating, just trying to build my game as much as possible. That work helped my game a lot in general and I think is a big part of my production.”
His big summer led to big numbers, which also made Gursoy an attractive trade target.
“Being traded from Charlottetown was extremely difficult for me because of all the relationships I built with not only my teammates, but other people in the city of Charlottetown, including my billets and so many other great billet families of my teammates. We were a very tight knit group in PEI and the news of me being moved was really tough to digest. That being said, once I had been moved to Halifax I had a sigh of relief because I knew how great the franchise is and how lucky I was to move to yet another great spot within the CHL. Once I got to Halifax I was lucky enough to step into a pretty big role and I think the playing time helped me a lot as far as producing.”
Despite his most successful season to date, things didn’t end as planned as the CHL cancelled all playoff games, with Quebec being one of the hardest hit locations in Canada.
“The COVID-19 outbreak is really weird, I remember hearing about it in its early stages, but I don’t think anyone really thought it would be as bad as it is today and as for it ending our season, it definitely was a tough pill to swallow,” said Gursoy.
“We were just coming off a big win and had playoff hopes, but things like this are completely out of our control, so we had to take the cards we were dealt and now it’s just up to us to try to slow the outbreak of this terrible disease.”
With so much hockey behind him, and undoubtedly another chapter still ahead for Gursoy, the talented forward still looks back at his time in a Chatham Maroons jersey fondly.
“Looking back at Chatham I think of some of the best hockey memories I’ve ever had. Whether It was the Christmas Parade, team meals after our Sunday games, our team get togethers or just us hanging out in the dressing room, we just had so many characters on that team, from our 16 year olds all the way up to our 20s. It was just such a weird dynamic but somehow we just all meshed so well together.”