FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2022
JUICE BOX JOURNEYS, GORSUCH SOARS AGAIN IN KALAMAZOO
From Bronco to traveling backup, Trevor Gorsuch emerges with K-Wings in second-half.
By Pam Shebest for the K-Wings - @KalamzooWings / KWings.com
KALAMAZOO, MI - Trevor Gorsuch loves being a goalie so much, he used to trade his juice boxes with his mini-mites teammates just so he could be in net.
“My dad would come in and be like ‘Dude. What are you doing? You’re not playing goalie,’” Gorsuch said. “I’d be like, ‘Yeah I am. He said he didn’t want to play.’”
That love of the game continues for the goaltender who has found his niche with the Kalamazoo Wings.
After graduating with honors from Western Michigan University in 2019, Gorsuch is thrilled to be back in Kalamazoo.
But the journey took two seasons of being bounced around two leagues as a “fill-in,” posting a 12-5-2 record.
Although he played four games with the Toledo Walleye at the end of his senior year at WMU, he started his first pro season with the Reading Royals, seeing action in just one game.
Next stop was the SPHL Fayetteville Marksmen (3 games) and then back with Toledo (1 game).
Last season, Gorsuch started with the Utah Grizzlies (6 games), then the Macon Mayhem (SPHL, 2 games) and, finally, the Fort Wayne Komets (3 games).
Once their regular goalies were healthy or sent back from their AHL affiliates, he was cut loose.
Thus with under-25 total games played coming into this season, Gorsuch still held the rookie tag.
When K-Wings coach Nick Bootland and assistant Joel Martin learned he was a free agent, they contacted him over the summer.
“I was like, ‘Done. You want me to come to Kalamazoo? I love Kalamazoo. Let me know when,’” Gorsuch said.
Starting the season as backup to Jet Greaves, he took over the staring job when Greaves was called up by the K-Wings AHL affiliate, the Cleveland Monsters, in early January.
Although Bootland expected to have an affiliated goalie on the team all season, he has not been disappointed in Gorsuch.
“We’ve been relying on him heavily, much more than we had expected,” he said. “He’s done a good job.”
Having an assistant coach who was also a goalie is a bonus, Gorsuch said.
“It’s been unbelievable,” he said. “That’s another reason I couldn’t say yes fast enough.
“It’s been great to have an assistant coach that was such a tremendous goalie, and an even better person, in the coaching world.”
Martin said the young goalie brings a lot of energy to the team.
“The guy never stops,” Martin said. “He’s got a ton of energy, both in practice and in the game. His personality is just larger than life, and his big saves ignite the team.
“You don’t have to be a hero every night; you just have to give your team a chance to win.”
Raised to be competitive
Growing up in St. Louis with parents who had season tickets to the NHL St. Louis Blues, Gorsuch was raised on hockey.
When he was 7 years old, he went to a hockey camp in Minnesota where he met former NHL goaltender Curtis Joseph, who gave the youngster some sage advice.
“He told me the next year to play half the season as a player and the second half as a goalie,” Gorsuch said. “If you still want to play goalie, the next year play the whole season as goalie.
“If I didn’t like it, I was only a year removed from being a player. I haven’t looked back since.”
In those younger days, being in net was just fun.
“As I got older, I found it way more enjoyable to steal that joy of scoring a goal from a forward or a defenseman than actually putting the puck in the net,” Gorsuch said.
And that competitive fire Gorsuch fed off of at a young age came easy, as it ran in the family.
“We hate to lose at tic tac toe, hate to lose at rock, paper, scissors, hate to lose at monopoly. Hate to lose,” he said.
“That’s just the way I was raised. You love something, you go do it. You give everything you have, every single time, every day until you don’t love it any more.”
He learned a lot of wisdom from his father, Jack Gorsuch, Jr., who was a professional tennis player and, as a junior, competed in the USTA Boys 18-16 National Championships at Kalamazoo College’s Stowe Stadium in the mid-1970s.
Gorsuch, who also excelled at baseball, said his dad’s advice led him to hockey.
“He said, ‘Don’t choose the one you think you’re better at, choose the one you love because every day will be easy,’” Gorsuch said.
“I love everything about hockey. I could go out with just my skates on and just skate around and listen to the crack of the ice underneath my blades and the cold air on my skin and I love it.”
Regular season winding down
With five games left in the regular season, Gorsuch has compiled a 22-21-0-0 record so far. Three of those games are at Wings Event Center, a bonus, Gorsuch said.
“I hear (the crowd),” he said. “It’s infectious. When things start clicking in the locker room, it’s infectious.
“You build off that energy, and you build off that roar. Then you make a big save, or someone makes a great block and you score. You feed off it. It’s an unbelievable feeling when you do something like that.”
Gorsuch said the team also hears the fans when the team is in a slump, such as the eight-game skid from Feb. 16 to March 4.
“Those eight games were annoyingly frustrating,” he said. “Stuff just wasn’t going our way; pucks were bouncing left, right and center. It was hair-pulling for us.
“I’m my own harshest critic."
The winless streak forced Gorsuch to dig deeper, and he responded in March with a 9-3 record, a 2.43 goals-against average, a .931 save percentage, and one shutout.
March goes in the books as career best month, and slotted Gorsuch as the ECHLs top goaltender over that span.
For now, “Things have been clicking,” he said. “The boys are playing well, which allows me to flourish. It’s contagious.”
Once he loses his love for the game, which he doesn’t expect to happen in the near future, he can always fall back on his Western Michigan degree in sports management with a general business minor.
Never one at a loss for words and with a quick wit, Gorsuch quipped, “Besides getting hit in the head every day, I still have a brain up there and it works.”
The Kalamazoo Wings are a professional hockey team located in southwest Michigan that has been a staple in the Kalamazoo, MI professional sports landscape since 1974. The K-Wings compete in the ECHL and are the AA affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets and American Hockey League’s Cleveland Monsters. Kalamazoo plays their 36 regular season home games at Wings Event Center from October through April.