Jackson Kyrkostas knows what it is like to be a winner. He went down to the USPHL Midget Championships in York, Pa., and his team faced tough opposition all the way through - but in the end, it was Jackson and his teammates holding the Championship banner for the USPHL 16U Division.
He’s hoping that he can bring that championship-winning magic in the future to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, as he has committed to RPI for NCAA Division I hockey. He started talking to RPI last season while with the Islanders' USPHL 16U squad, coached by his father Tim Kyrkostas, who is also the Islanders’ NCDC Head Coach.
“I began talking to RPI back in the early months of 2021. The coaches liked a lot about my game, thought I was a great playmaker with good IQ and skill, and that I loved to have the puck,” said Jackson, a 2004-born native of Windham, N.H. “What interested me a lot about RPI was getting the opportunity to play for such a passionate hockey program and getting a great education at the same time. I heard lots about the culture and atmosphere in RPI both in the rink and around campus.”
Kyrkostas just recently toured RPI on Jan. 24.
“I toured RPI three days before I officially committed. What sold me really was just the relationship with the coaches and how much they believe in me as both a player and a person,” Kyrkostas said. “I felt like it was the best place to help me get to the next level and become a better person and I’m super excited for the future!”
The 2020-21 season was limited due to COVID, but Kyrkostas made the most of the seven regular season games he played, posting a 4-11-15 line. He also had four points in his four Championship series games.
He had a combined nine points in 11 USPHL 16U games in 2019-20, and also played for the Islanders’ USPHL 15U team in 2018-19, posting a 3-2-5 line in five games. That is just the USPHL portion of his Islanders career, though.
“The Islanders program has been a huge part of my life as I’ve played with them ever since I was 11,” said Kyrkostas. “I loved all the coaches, teammates and friends I met along the way as they helped me so much. I loved the variety of different players I got to play with. Everyone was so good and fun to be around. Winning the USPHL championship was another great achievement for us last year.”
The Islanders and the USPHL gave Kyrkostas the opportunity to craft a time management plan that worked extremely well for his development.
“I feel like the Islanders really helped me develop my game big time. We were on a schedule during the season which maximized time on ice, in the weight room, and learning the game,” said Jackson. “Also playing with great players and learning different things from new coaches helped me add new things to my game which has been crucial. I feel like my confidence has improved so much and I feel, overall, a more balanced player.”
There’s still more time to get ready for NCAA hockey. Kyrkostas is able to work together with the RPI coaches to determine what year he’ll get on to campus.
“I’m certainly working on getting stronger, whether it’s in my shot, acceleration, or overall body strength,” said Kyrkostas. “I feel like getting stronger and continuing to develop my 200-foot game will help me prepare and become a big impact player at the college level.”
Although RPI is known as an engineering school, Kyrkostas is more interested in their business and sports marketing programs, though he has plenty of time to figure it out.
“I don’t believe I’m fit for the engineering aspect, unfortunately [laughs],” said Kyrkostas. “But I’m interested in business or sports management at RPI. Talking with the coaches, they talked about how they have a great business program and that was exciting to hear.”
The USPHL congratulates Jackson Kyrkostas, his family, the Islanders Hockey Club and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for his commitment.