On The Defensive: Prospect Finds Future With Devils, Coyotes

By Gabrielle Mercer

Arizona State hockey and the Arizona Coyotes already have more in common than the potential of a shared future arena.

Ontario native and future Sun Devil Patrick Kudla was recently drafted by the Coyotes in the sixth-round of the NHL draft. ASU Head Coach Greg Powers recruited Kudla out of Toronto while he was playing for the Ontario Blades in the Ontario Junior Hockey League.

Proving to be a vital asset to the team, the defenseman Kudla put up 13 goals and 66 points last season with the Blades.

Kudla committed before Powers even got on a plane back to Arizona.

“His talent obviously is what piqued our interest but when I first spoke to him on the phone is when I really fell in love with him,” Powers told Sports360AZ.com in a recent interview. “He has an infectious attitude.”

Kudla said he chose ASU because of the unique experience it will provide him – he will be a part of the first few seasons of the program competing in Division I.

“It wasn’t too hard of a decision,” Kudla said to Sports306AZ.com. “Overall I just believed that it was a perfect fit for me and sooner rather than later I believe that our program will be a powerhouse at the NCAA.”

Powers said the 20-year-old forward is incredibly mature and will not only fit into the Sun Devil culture, but enhance it.

“He is off the charts offensively gifted and sees the ice better than anyone I’ve seen in a while,” Powers said. “I think a year in the USHL will really help polish up his defensive abilities and habits and get him ready to step right in and help ASU right away.”