116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The first thing on Trevin Kozlowski’s agenda after this weekend is to fill out some paperwork.
The Iowa Heartlanders goaltender is a West Point graduate who was allowed to pursue professional hockey this season and put off his post-grad, five-year military commitment under a directive from the Department of Defense.
The season for the Heartlanders ends Saturday night. Once the team gets back to town, Kozlowski will put together a portfolio of sorts to show this DOD directive to allow military academy grads to play pro sports is a good thing.
“Just taking different news articles or pictures on stuff that I’ve done for the Army to try and promote them,” Kozlowski said. “That this is a good way to kind of show to them that, hey, even though I’m playing professional hockey, I’m not currently in active duty, I’m still promoting the Army and talking to people and letting them know that the option to serve your country and play professional sports is a real possibility and it works for both worlds.
“I’m very fortunate to be in this position. If, at the end of the day they say, hey, we gave you a year and we’re going to call you back, I’m totally at peace with that. I’m honored to go serve my country when the time comes.”
Kozlowski was awarded Friday with the ECHL’s 2021-22 Community Service Award. The 24-year-old helped create a program called “Trevin’s Tickets,” in which he donated two tickets to each of Iowa’s home games to a current or former military member.
He also did work with the Iowa City VA Medical Center and the local non-profit Salute to the Fallen, whose mission is to “bring awareness and financial assistance to multiple military causes, including Gold Star Families, veteran suicide, PTSD, homelessness, and much more,” according to a release from the Heartlanders.
“It’s very special to me,” he said. “Definitely wouldn’t be possible without (head coach) Gerry Fleming and (team president) Mr. (Brian) McKenna and all the people who work in the front office, Jordan Cue specifically, our community relations coordinator.
“I always wanted to do something to help current military members or veterans, anything like that, just given my background. Jordan and I got together and kind of brainstormed a little bit, and this was what we landed on.”
Kozlowski signed a one-year contract with the American Hockey League’s Iowa Wild last offseason. That deal obviously expires after this weekend, and the California native said he had no immediate plans for next season, if he’s allowed to have one.
“This is my first season playing pro, and I’ve learned a lot,” he said. “I’m not too sure. Just going to kind of take things as they come. Do my best to try and end on a high note. Continue working hard and be a good teammate, then whatever comes my way, comes my way.”
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