If you’ve ever decided to jump on Elite Prospects and type in the search bar the name Grant Jozefek after this past weekend, don’t think you’re alone in the process. Head Coach Pete MacArthur said this past weekend that the Adirondack Thunder’s motto is “Opportunity Knocks” and that’s exactly what 25 year old, Chester, NJ native Grant Jozefek has done in the four games his been apart of the Thunder family.
“I kinda just got the call, I actually started the year with Savannah with the Ghost Pirates so I was actually just trying to make that team, unfortunately I was released but I just spent like two-three weeks just skating and working out, back home and just waiting, talking to my agent just waiting for a call to see if I can get somewhere and i’m just so lucky to be given the opportunity here and make the most of it of it right now, It just feels so good to win a couple of games and you know hopefully we can get on a little heater now”.
When it came to play in front of 4,000 plus back to back nights this weekend Jozefek made it a point to take time for some reflection.
“Oh it was unbelievable, I thought the fans were in it right from puck drop and I thought that we (Thunder) played in all around great game. I thought they were in it (the fans) the entire time. They kinda gave us that energy when we went two, (referring to Friday night), nobody really panicked, i think that was a testament to our guys and the fans just stayed in the game”.
When you take a look at Grant Jozefek, You won’t see an NHL Draft Pick, any AHL experience or the fact that he was cut from the Savanna Ghost Pirates before the ECHL season began but you won’t find that either. What you will find is that he was an NCAA (Hockey East) Champion in 2018-2019. While one of his best friends in Tanner Laczynski is currently in the Philadelphia Flyers organization and has lived his dream of being in the National Hockey League, Jozefek’s Journey is far from over. In my eyes he reminds me Ryan Lomberg. Lomberg, a dude who got his start in the ECHL and is now in the NHL with the Florida Panthers.
“I think the whole coaching staff is super supportive, since I got here (to Adirondack), I feel like that allows you to play especially being a new guy so he doesn’t really say anything (referring to Pete MacArthur), but you do something well he’s always giving you a tap letting you know so it’s definitely great to have that support from everyone and the staff”.
In professional hockey, most fans with recognize the leagues of FHL, SPHL, ECHL, AHL and ECHL. In-between the five leagues over 12,000 professional athletes this season will shuffle in-between the five leagues with a forever revolving door, wherever that may be, injures, cuts, guys put on reserve, promotions, demotions. The one thing that these leagues all have in common is it’s truly a small world. Regardless of the sport, many professional athletes had fascinating paths that led them from their local sporting facilities to the bright lights of competing in front of tens of thousands of screaming spectators.
“It’s honestly a joy for me, I grew up, three hours here from Jersey so, my family’s a huge Devils fans so, being in the organization is super cool for me and super cool for my family, so to play here (for the Thunder) it’s such a treat and such a privilege”.
Jozefek has played with the likes of Nolan Valleau, Garrett Cecere, Garret Cockerill, Adam Gaudette, Peyton Jones, Brendan van Riemsdyk, Jake Theut, Tanner Laczynski and Myles McGurty all who are familiar to the Thunder faithful.
“We just have a great group of guys in there and I honestly it feels like family already and honestly i’m just super happy to be playing with them, it’s time that we make a statement to the league that we aren’t going to be pushed around and I think that we have a good team here and I think we’re gonna go far”.
Jozefek got his first taste of moving away from hockey in his home state of New Jersey after suiting up for one game with the Muskegon Lumberjacks but then spending the next two years with the Lincoln Stars in the USHL, before he decided to commit to D1 hockey and attend at the University of Northeastern in Boston, MA.
It was much required during that time in the United States Hockey League was much needed for me to get a lock at D1 school like Northeastern University. In the USHL, Jozefek recorded 79 points in two full seasons in 108 games. While serving as an alternative captain in his senior season before COVID-19 shut everything down. He recorded 7 points in 134 games before turning professional and signing with the Worcester Railers the summer of 2021.
Jozefek struggled during his stint in Worcester, recording four points in 14 games, where he was released right before the ECHL’s holiday break due to injuries. It wouldn’t be until Savannah’s coach Rick Bennett picked up his phone in September of 2022, nine months after his release by the Railers that another look was given to the 25 year old for another shot in the ECHL. Jozefek made an impact immediately scoring the game winning goal on Friday against his former team.
“Oh, it definitely felt good, getting the game winner, I got hurt last early December, so these have been my first regular season games in almost a full year, it’s been tough but I’ve been getting acclimated pretty fast, it’s super great for the confidence and I think all the boys we’re fired up too so it’s awesome”.
Whatever the future holds for Grant Jozefek, he still has quite the hockey journey in front of him and it’s off to a great start.