Quick Look: Seattle Totems

by Manny Brizuela

The Seattle Totems were looking to shore up their blue line and get a better defensive group together this off-season.

They finished with 32 points good for 5th in the Northwest Division last season and have since made vast improvements to support the blue line. With 321 goals against in 2017-2018, the initiative to bolster the back end comes as priority.

The Totems will feature a new defensive presence this year and the WSHL can expect solid play from newly minted captain, Denis Kozev. 

“He definitely brings a lot of leadership,” Assistant Coach Chad Olson said. “He’s like our heart beat in the back end and brings a lot of grit and determination.”

Kozev is a native of Israel who played internationally for his country at the U20 World Junior Championships (D-III). He produced points (1-1-2) from the defense in five games played that saw Israel at the top of the round-robin tournament. The left-handed shooter will be looking to be a part of the new Seattle Totem’s identity.

“We will be a fast, skate-in-your-face kind of team, “ Olson said. “We have a lot of speed upfront and in the back. The group has already come together pretty close and is already becoming a family. Things are looking good.”

Olson also pointed to defender Jimmy Frey to mirror the quality of play shown by Kozev. Weather or not they become a top defensive pairing or play separate lines; signs of depth are becoming evident. Frey had four goals and fives assists from the defense in 47 games played.

(Mark Mauno Photo)

Coupled with the offensive production of key returning forward, Michael Shippee, the addition of Kozev could help to improve the team from a goal differential perspective. It’s the internal competition that Olson hopes will bolster the Totem’s level of play into the top half of the division.  

“He [Shippee] had 90 points last year,” Olson said. “We worked for him to have a break out season and we think he can definitely surpass that while also setting the pace for the team.”

Olson mentioned that one of the team goals this year is to be very involved with community service and helping others. In Olson’s eyes, helping the community is not only a team bonding experience, but also develops the ability to think of others before yourself—a fundamental aspect of teamwork.