Fox Valley Hawks senior forward Matt Koske aspires to a future in film over hockey, but still is eager to keep his focus on the team through the end of the season. A Batavia senior, Koske centers a line that includes fellow Bulldog Nathan Podraza and St. Charles North junior Santino Salamone on the wings. With the Hawks – a collection of players from seven schools – concluding their holiday break this week, Kane County Chronicle sports reporter Kevin Druley spoke with Koske for the latest edition of the Weekend Chit-chat. The following is an edited transcript.
The team is off to an 8-7-1 start. What’s the outlook for the rest of the season?
You know, at the beginning we were a brand new team. No one really knew each other, really. After we started playing with each other and got to know each other as teammates, we were starting to connect as teammates, which I think can only help us for the rest of the season and playoffs. I think it’s going pretty well.
Guys have talked about reconnecting with teammates who they might have played with in youth hockey. But did anyone have any ties to your goalie [Jonathon Durrbeck of Wheaton Warrenville South]?
We don’t think so. I personally did not know him. I had no idea where he was from, but he’s definitely gotten to know everyone.
Is the co-op route looking to be the norm in high school hockey?
The high school part of hockey, it’s not where it used to be. For instance, two years ago, my sophomore year, we had a Batavia team with guys from some other schools. … The high school level has gone down with the number of players as a lot of teams and kids go to travel and not playing high school.
Are there many hockey players walking the Batavia halls who don’t play for the Hawks but are part of other teams?
There’s a couple that I know, but there’s just not that many hockey players around, either. My first three years, there seemed like a lot of kids who were players and just didn’t play high school. As a senior now, though, I gather there aren’t that many kids playing from Batavia.
Between playing Cyclones as a kid and being with the Hawks now, do you know every corner of Fox Valley Ice Arena?
Oh, yeah. I’ve been in and out of that place so many times. Every locker room. All the faculty there I’ve seen around. I know and talk with some of them. I see them all the time.
Where do you get your TV hockey fix with the NHL locked out?
The world juniors have been on at some crazy times [this week]. I think USA played Canada at like 3 in the morning [Thursday]. I do want to watch them, but I wind up catching the recaps. ... I do miss the hockey and the NHL.
Do you catch many of the “Classic Series” or “A Day That Changed the Game” retrospectives the NHL Network broadcasts since there’s no live hockey?
I’ve seen a lot of that. I do spend a lot of time watching that. I’ve even been on YouTube to catch up on some of those documentaries. ... It’s cool, especially the 48-hour stuff, seeing what it’s like the life in the day of an NHL player.
That works since you’re looking to go to film school. Are you hoping to pursue hockey after high school, too?
I’m looking to just play intramurals. I think this is my last team year, or just being on a team. ... In college, I feel like I just need to focus on my studies. I never want to hang up my skates, but I would not play as much as I am now.