Tower stands tall on Res Christian’s defense
Typically, a position change from forward to defenseman signals the end of a hockey player’s days as a regular scorer.
For John Tower, it’s been quite the opposite.
The Resurrection Christian standout made the switch to defense last year and, in addition to receiving some prestigious postseason recognition, watched his offensive numbers dramatically ramp up.
“It was an easy transition,” Tower said. “I’ve played defense before in the past, and when Jake gave me that opportunity, I took it and ran with it.”
Jake is Resurrection Christian coach Jake Pence, who holds Tower in high regard as one of three players who’ve been with the Cougars since the hockey team’s inception in 2011-12.
A forward his first two seasons, Tower received his first significant playing time as a sophomore and notched a respectable six goals and eight assists.
Those totals ballooned to 10 goals and 15 assists after his move to defense – glitzy numbers for a player also fiercely adept at doing his job on the blue line.
“John is just an offensive-minded, super athletic kid where you could put him in any situation and he’d excel,” Pence said. “He’s just one of those types of kids.”
The gaudy scoring numbers weren’t the product of a player who occasionally moved from defense to forward. He was strictly a defenseman – a “great puck-handling, good-skating defenseman,” according to Pence.
As the 2014-15 season commences, Tower joins forward Zach Lish and defenseman Brayden Dawson as the lone players to compete with the Cougars in all four seasons.
Lish has a chance to become the first player in program annals to reach the 100-point plateau this season, and all three figure to be four-year letter winners.
Tower was anointed a second-teamer on the CHSAANow.com All-State Team after his junior season and received honorable mention on The Denver Post’s All-Colorado Team, which isn’t too shabby for a baseball player.
Like many on northern Colorado’s lone high school team, Tower comes from a different school. He travels to RCS from nearby Loveland High, where he’s a standout outfielder for the Indians. He batted .452 with two home runs as a junior in Class 5A – the big-school classification.
As of now, his thought is that it’ll be more realistic to pursue baseball in college rather than hockey.
Tower downplays his newfound offensive prowess on the ice, saying: “With our forecheck, our offense is pretty good and it involves the defense a lot. That’s where I get most of my points. It’s all my forwards; it’s not really blasts from the blue line.”
Tower plays club hockey for Northern Colorado Youth Hockey, where he’s on the Jr. Eagles’ Midget Major AA squad. He’s relished his time on both hockey teams and is particularly fond of the success of the high school club.
Resurrection Christian has qualified for the playoffs all three of its seasons, including trips to the state semifinals the initial two.
“I’ve never been on a team that’s had winning records, so it’s awesome for me,” Tower said. “It’s a chance to be in the state playoffs every year and an opportunity to win a state championship.”
Tower said the Cougars have more depth than ever this season, and it’s something they should enjoy while it lasts. Starting the 2016-17 season, Fort Collins-based Poudre High School will add the area’s second hockey program, which will cut into some of the Cougars’ territory.
But Tower won’t have to worry about that because he’ll be a sophomore in college by then. And even if not, he’s proven he’s adaptable to change.
“When we moved him to D, he just exploded,” Pence said. “It’s just a place where he can showcase his talent so much more.”
– Paul Willis