Tyler Bozak, Denver’s Gopher killer, signs with Toronto

Brian Deutsch

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who dislikes having college hockey players leave school early for the pros more than Minnesota’s Don Lucia.

 

But one of this year’s early departures has to have Lucia feeling a little better.
 
 
Denver’s Tyler Bozak joined the list of leavers yesterday when the sophomore forward signed a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs –foregoing his final two years of eligibility with the Pioneers.
Bozak found consistent success against the Gophers, who Denver was 5-1-1 against during the sophomore’s tenure.
 
 
The Maple Leafs newest prospect tallied nine goals and two assists against Minnesota in his two years with the team.  
 
 
“I think based on last year he’d like to play 35 games against us. He might have had 50 goals,” Lucia said last November before the Gophers split a pair of games at Denver.
 
 
Pioneers coach George Gwozdecky had similar praise for his now former skater.
 
 
“In his two years as a student-athlete at the University of Denver, his contributions helped secure our status as one of college hockey’s top programs. His personality, toughness, leadership and character will be missed on the ice as well as in our University community,” Gwozdecky said in a release.
“I know that it has been his dream to someday play in the NHL and next September that dream will become reality. We are very proud of Tyler and wish him all the best."
 
 
In two years at Denver, Bozak recorded 26 goals and 31 assists in 60 games. He had 23 points this year before a torn meniscus forced Bozak to miss 21 games in the second half.
 
 
The forward returned to the lineup for the NCAA tournament when he tallied a goal and an assist in the Pioneers 4-2 loss to Miami (Ohio) on March 27
 
 

“He is a young man that was coveted by a large number of teams in our league and it’s our goal to help him reach his potential with our organization,” Toronto General Manager Brian Burke said. “He’s a responsible player at both ends of the ice and he has shown the ability to put points on the board with his quickness at the collegiate level.”