When we spoke with Calgary Flames prospect Demetrios Koumontzis at 2018’s development camp, he was headed into the unknown. Not only was he embarking on his freshman season in the NCAA, but he was joining a little-known program at Arizona State University.
A year later, Koumontzis is a more confident player after being part of one of the coolest stories in all of sports in 2018-19 as the unheralded Sun Devils forced their way into the NCAA’s Frozen Four tournament – the first independent team to make it into the dance in decades.
The key to the Sun Devils success, according to Koumontzis: buy-in from the whole team from day one.
“I think that’s why we had so much success, because from day one we all believed in each other,” said Koumontzis at Flames development camp.
Reflecting on his freshman season, the communications major had a lot of positive things to say about his first college campaign. He also has an eye on the future, looking to help build on the Sun Devils’ breakout season.
“Our coaches, they coach me better than I’ve ever been coached before,” said Koumontzis. “We’ve got another good freshman class coming in, that’ll be awesome for us. Some good goalies that will have to step up. Got a good goalie in [Justin Robbins] there and another one transferring over [Max Prawzdik].”
What’s the key to the Sun Devils getting back to the Frozen Four?
“Just [doing] the same thing,” said Koumontzis. “Once we get there come july 20, when the team’s back together, we’ve just got to believe in each other and that’ll help us get everything done.”
Koumontzis had a respectable freshman season, putting up 20 points over 35 games for the Sun Devils. Arizona State relied more a team attack than a particular set of scorers – aside from forward Johnny Walker – so Koumontzis’ production put him a stone’s throw from the team’s offensive leaders. He doesn’t have a particular timetable in place for moving up to the pro level.
“I’m just taking it one day at a time,” said Koumontzis. “Right now I’m focusing on being at Calgary’s camp, giving a good impression, learning things, learning to develop. And once I get to Arizona State, it’s focusing on the Sun Devils. And after that, it’s focusing on this camp again. So kinda just day-by-day, taking it that way, and after one year, another year of college, look at how I’ve developed, see if I’m ready.”
Koumontzis has one more camp to attend this summer, as he’ll be suiting up for Team USA at USA Hockey’s Summer Showcase – a precursor event to the World Juniors.