Levko Koper is a proven talent during playoffs with four goals and six assists in only nine games. While those stats hold up, the numbers are not the full story for this forward.
They do not mention the coach that still impacts the way Koper plays his game or why his mindset is the answer to his success. They certainly do not even begin to explain how the game of hockey is so intricately connected to Koper.
The forward's ability and work ethic stood strong through juniors getting him to an elite level, which is where he met the coach that changed everything.
This coach held the young Koper to a very high standard on the ice. From long film sessions to tough coaching, Koper grew immesely under his juniors coach. The then 15-year-old faced a single moment that would lead him on to the path he travels now. He was benched during a game because his coached could not trust him. Although simple, this one moment changed Koper for the better. It changed a young stubborn player to a coachable and adaptable player.
These are a few qualities that are natural and impossible to teach, but necessary for a long career in professional hockey. Now, what Koper does with them? That is easy, he never stops working. He “prides himself on doing little things right," which is essential for success at this ECHL level of play. This had stemmed from his juniors coach and created a trademark mindset: every skate on the ice is a try-out.
This makes the match of the Florida Everblades and Koper for the 2020-21 season an act of genius. After seeing the intense rise in his stats from last season, one should expect to see nothing short of focus and determination this season. Koper’s goals for 2020-21 hit right at home. When asked what he wants out of this season for himself, Koper expressed “improving on his finish [and] putting the puck on,” explaining that there are “one or two chances to score” and “you have to be ready for your chance, you can’t relax” indicating his overall want to “bear down.”
Once you reach the high level of play that Koper finds himself at, a question arises: how do you not only continue to evolve, but elevate your play? He notes he tries to be a “well-rounded” player by “seeing what others do different” and being “open-minded.” This inevitably erases the pedestal some professional players place themselves on. Due to this small piece of his training, Koper is not only providing himself with an edge, but setting a long run for success.