BOSTON, MA -- To commemorate the Eastern Hockey League's (EHL) 10-year anniversary, each month we will highlight an Alumni player who excelled in the league, and then used the EHL as a pathway to further hockey success.
For the month of August, we look back on Markuss Komuls, a 1998 birth year defenseman from Latvia, who spent two seasons with the Vermont Lumberjacks, before embarking on a long career in North American hockey.
His journey began in the 2014-15 season, when he suited up for the Lumberjacks' squad in the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League, (a precursor to the EHL Premier), where he was selected as an all-league player based off his 55 points in 43 contests. He followed that standout season as one of the youngest players in the EHL, recording 37 points from the blueline in 39 games for Vermont’s top team back in the 2015-16 season.
“The EHL was great for my development both as a hockey player and as a person,” commented Komuls. "I had a great experience in Vermont and had a great billet family, teammates, coaches; and it helped me later on in my hockey career because I gained experience of playing North American style hockey."
Those next steps included stops with Latvia’s U18 and U20 entries in the World Junior Championships, and then in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) with the now defunct Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights and later with Kenai River Brown Bears.
“After playing in the EHL I moved on to playing in the NAHL," added Komuls. "I was fortunate to start in the EHL and move up the ladder and get noticed by NCAA teams. At first I was not good enough to play in the NAHL, but the EHL allowed me to gain the right experience and become a better player, which eventually helped me get noticed by more schools."
Overall, Komuls played in 166 regular season games in the NAHL, and his exposure in Alaska with Kenai (where he was an alternate captain for two years) earned him a commitment to the NCAA Division I University of Alaska-Fairbanks.
He would be a regular for 4 seasons with the Nanooks, culminating in an outstanding 2022-23 season that saw Alaska-Fairbanks knock off ranked opponents Notre Dame and Denver, and defeating Alaska-Anchorage 4-3 in OT to claim the Governors Cup. During his senior season Komuls would record 11 points in 34 games, and his +8 rating was near the top for all blueliners on his squad. He also, upon the conclusion of that year, would get an opportunity to dress in 11 ECHL games with the Trois-Rivieres Lions, where he would record three assists, and earn a contract for the 2023-24 campaign.
Looking back, Komuls provided these words of advice for prospective Junior hockey players, “my advice to players playing in the EHL would be to work hard towards their goal while having fun with it and enjoying their time with teammates.”
The EHL takes great pride in players such as Markuss Komuls for helping them reach their goals and fulfilling our league motto -- With every player comes a different path and next step. Whether it's college hockey or climbing the junior ranks, the EHL and the EHLP provide all of our players with the resources to improve their game and keep climbing in their respective journeys.
Every story is different, and we're ready to help you write the next chapter in yours.
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