by Jashvina Shah
Playing prep hockey had been a dream of Alex Mozian’s since he was a kid. So when he was a junior at Greenwich High School, he was already starting his search.
“They were always the top, elite players that were always going go to college, were always going to play professional,” Mozian said. “I’ve always wanted to pursue that dream of Division I hockey and I knew that prep school would give me the best opportunity.”
But when Mozian skated back to his bench during an early-season game in December 2016, something wasn’t quite right. Someone told Mozian he was bleeding. Mozian said no, but someone else pointed out there was blood on his skate. So the trainer took it off.
“When the trainer took off my skate, he literally poured out my skate and blood was just gushing out,” Mozian said.
He was rushed to the emergency room. Upon arrival, doctors deemed Mozian only needed stitches and sent him home. But he was in severe pain all night and returned to the hospital, where they discovered his anterior tibial tendon in his right ankle was severed. He underwent surgery.
“To go through your first surgery, you’re very nervous and scared because you’ve never done it before and you don’t know how you’re going to recover,” Mozian said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Mozian spent a month in a cast, a month and a half in a walking boot and four months in physical therapy. He returned in March, just in time for nationals in Texas. But while there, Mozian suffered a knee-on-knee hit.
“To go through something like that, especially not at home, is actually very difficult, especially because I just came back from the other injury,” Mozian said. “I thought ‘I’m ready, I’m back, and nothing can stop me now.’”
Doctors repaired Mozian’s meniscus with a recovery time of six months. He enrolled in physical therapy, got on the slider board, squatted and worked with his doctor. He also kept telling himself that it would get better each month.
“I was absolutely devastated, but fortunately it wasn’t during the season, it wasn’t during a prime hockey time,” Mozian said. “I was more concerned about how much strength I would lose and if I was going to be ready for next season for my team. So, I really stayed focused with this injury.”
When he returned in August, Mozian promptly broke his wrist. He finally returned for an injury-free senior season at Greenwich High School. Still intent on playing prep hockey, Mozian reached out to schools and invited coaches to see him play.
“I would invite them to big games that we were playing against good teams, and if a coach was really interested, he would keep coming out or sending people to watch me play,” Mozian said. “He might talk to my coach, talk to my split season coaches. If a coach is interested and wants you really badly, [they] will make the effort to get you.”
Hotchkiss was one of the schools Mozian invited. Head coach Mike Traggio liked Mozian, and Mozian liked the school back. He especially appreciated Traggio’s belief that Mozian can play at a higher level.
“Make sure you like the coach and the school. If you have a coach that doesn’t put enough time and doesn’t see what you want him to see in you, then it may not be the right call. You have to find a coach that really wants you and will push you to the level of play that you want to get to,” Mozian said.
“Just stay focused. If you’re into a school, go to their games, talk to their coaches, put in the time. If you’re not willing to put in the time to look at that school, then the coach wouldn’t be able to put in the time to look at you as a player.”
Photo credit: Matt Dewkett