Patava Answers Army's Call
Kyle Patava watched an Army game on CBS Sports Network and he was hooked. Everything he saw, from the campus at West Point to the style of play of the Black Knights, convinced him that it was the place for him.
In the fall of 2015, it will be.
Patava, a 16-year-old junior playing for Omaha in the NAPHL, committed to Army in mid-December.
“It’s great to have a commitment to such a great school and an honor to know that I will be part of the tradition at West Point,” Patava said. “Especially from my parents’ point of view, knowing that we are not going to have to pay for college feels great.”
Patava was drawn to the commitment and approach at Army.
“I love how it’s based on hard work,” he said. “It’s all for the team, not the individual, and that’s the type of player I try to be. I saw that game on TV and I knew I could see myself there.”
Patava grew up in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa, and was introduced to hockey by the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers. A stop in the USHL is likely next on his hockey path before he gets to West Point.
Patava is one of four Iowans on the Omaha team this year, a group that moved from home to further their hockey careers. Patava shrugs off the sacrifices he has had to make to play. He drove 6.5 hours to Chicago for a College Hockey, Inc. summit in the summer of 2011 and said he “didn’t think twice about it, because I knew college hockey was the path I wanted to take.”
Initiative in Recruiting
He showed similar initiative in the recruiting process, contacting the Army coaching staff during his sophomore year in high school to see how he could get in front of them. He ended up meeting with Army assistant coach Trevor Large this fall at a High Performance Hockey League showcase and made his commitment.
Patava will make his first visit to the West Point campus this summer, but has a sense of what to expect from TV coverage, a presentation by Large and word of mouth. NHLer Jed Ortmeyer – an Omaha native and Michigan grad whose brother, Jake, helps coach Patava’s team – gave Patava his impressions.
“When Jake was with the Minnesota Wild they went to West Point to train,” Patava said. “He said they were in awe of the place. Coach Large said that when NHL teams come through they have more questions for the cadets than the other way around. It’s a pretty unique environment.”
Unique, certainly, and an important part of Patava’s future.