Yowler Player Profile: #9, Center Markus Levy
In this edition of YPP, we take a look at current Yowlers' leading scorer, assistant captain Markus Levy.
Although team captain Sparky Clemons is the one player most easily idetifiable with the franchise, it is perhaps center Markus Levy that has been the franchise's most recognizable and controversial player. Levy entered the MLD a virtual unknown in the professional hockey world, as did most all of the players recruited to form the new league. He soon had people taking notice, however, as he utterly dominated the MLD scoring charts the first 3/4 of the inaugural season, scoring well over a goal-per-game.
Somewhere after the 3/4 mark however, something started to go wrong with Markus. "There were some off-ice issues. I can't really talk about it too much. Family stuff," the all-star center apologized when contacted. "It made it really tough to bring my best to the ice every night. You know, unfortunately, sometimes real life gets to be too tough to ingore. It was a really tough time in my life." Levy finished the season with 81 goals, still good enough to tie for tops in the league. In the playoffs, his production was noticeably lowered, and it was the excellent all-around play of the team that carried it to the inaugural MLD championship, with Levy really only coming allive for the finals. Despite his difficult season, however, Levy still captured the Hart, Clancy, Richard, and Masterton trophies - an amazing feat.
His performance ultimately convinced his older brother Bates to make himself eligible for the MLD draft, going to the Henderson Hornits (where he is a star in his own right, with over 100 points in his first two seasons).
Season 2 started with much more difficulty for Levy. "It was terrible. I couldn't shoot, couldn't score, couldn't get my mind into the game at all. About 1/3 of the way through the season, I was about ready to just pack it all up and go home." Instead, Levy wound up being traded to the powerhouse Roswell Aliens for goal-scorer Russell Moorhead and a first-round pick. "I had a meeting with coach yog, and after a lot of talking, and a lot of tears, we agreed that a trade would probably work out best for everybody. I hated leaving, but at that time, I felt that a fresh start would be best for me."
Things wouldn't work out quite the way he hoped, however. "Things just never worked in Roswell. At all. I was still a bit of a mess, mentally, and those guys just didn't know what to do with me. Russ had been a pretty popular guy, and I think they viewed me as being an outsider. I just couldn't seem to find my place. I even managed to miss my very first game because I couldn't find the arena... I got there halfway through the 2nd, so of course, I had to be scratched at the last minute. That pretty much summed up my stay in New Mexico, I think." At one point, Aliens' coach rammers even had Levy playing defense. "Yeah. That's how bad it got." Levy only scored 3 goals in 31 games in Roswell. "Including 2 in my very last game! At that point, I knew I was being traded again, and who knows why... but it was by far and away by best game in Roswell!"
Levy wound up being dealt after the game back to Yorba Linda. "I'm incredibly glad coach yog was able to get me back. Things were much better. I had time to kind of get my head together in the desert, and I came back feeling much refreshed." Levy finished with 19 goals on the season, but the Yowlers struggled in the playoffs and were crushed in 6 games, with Levy putting up only 2 points and a -4.
Season 3 began, then, with Levy coming into camp as a total unknown. Would he be the dominant player he was for the first three-fourths of season one? Or would he be the disorganized, sometimes brilliant, sometimes awful player he was for the next 1¼ seasons?
Turns out, Levy came in with a steely determination to completely re-vamp his game. "I was NOT going to have a season 3 like I did season 2. I worked harder in the offseason than I ever have, by far and away. If you looked at the progression in the league overall from season 1 all the way up to the present, you could see how important defence was becoming. I was determined to be the best player I could be in that environment." And he certainly did - the dominant goal scorer became the dominant defensive center in the league, capturing the Selke Trophy, while still managing over 40 points. In the playoffs, the Yowlers once again struggled, although Levy was one of the few bright spots, scoring 6 goals in 11 games.
Thus far in season 4, Levy has continued his excellent two-way play, with 7 points in 10 games and a +4. Yowler fans have come to depend on his consistant play, usually paired with the very man he was once traded for, Russell Moorehead. "I tell you what, I would trade every one of those trophies in for another championship, though. That's all I want for this season. Hang all the individual awards... it's championship or bust. That's really the attitude we have in this locker room right now. You look at how active management has been in trying to aquire top talent, and it gives you a lot of confidence."
Indeed. Thanks to Markus, coach yog, and the Yowlers' organization for their assistance in this article.
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