The process

Every high school athlete dreams about making it to the next level. This is the reason why they get up early to go to practice, or stay late. They want to be better. They want to have the chance to prove themselves against some of the best players in the country.

To do that, however, they need to put in the work. They need to put in the time it takes to be not just to be good – but great.

St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute’s CJ Goss had options – which is a dangerous thing. A standout on the ice for the hockey team, and with a stick for the lacrosse team, Goss could have went Division I in either sport.

With hockey being the number one sport in Western New York, you would think Goss would have chosen the ice. But, you would be wrong. While he loves the ice, and the puck at his skates. It was the lacrosse stick that he chose.

And, it turned out to be a wise decision.

Goss recently committed to Canisius College for lacrosse. The fact that a St. Joe’s lacrosse player is playing Division I lax goes to show what a tremendous job coach Pete Hudecki and his staff have done to transform that program.

That program was a laughing stock when lax was first introduced at the school. Hudecki has turned it into a powerhouse over the past couple of season and his players are reaping the benefits.

“Coach Hudecki has really been a big help to me in lacrosse. Going into St. Joe’s I was a short stick midfielder and he really put the idea of having me with a long pole in my head, and my father’s head, and he has helped me with learning different types of defenses, ways to play offense with the long pole and some fundamentals of defense,” stated Goss. “It’s been great to be a part of team that has gone on a run in the MMA and WNY. We’ve had a lot of great players these past couple years that have really helped the team and the program be known as one of the top teams in WNY.”

What makes his signing at Canisius even more interesting is that until his sophomore year Goss was still giving everything he had to hockey. While he loved lacrosse, thanks in large part to his dad, hockey was his passion.

Goss believed that Division I hockey was in his future. And he even chose to go the route of the Buffalo Junior Sabres to make that dream a reality.

“Yes, up till my sophomore year of high school I was still trying to pursue a future in hockey,” explained Goss. “My freshman and sophomore year of high school I was playing for the Jr. Sabres in one of the highest leagues that one could play for that age group.”

In the end lacrosse won out. But, hockey is still a big part of what Goss does. He plays on the St. Joe’s Federation team, and is a big part of the team with the leadership role he took on. Coming back and playing for his high school, Goss knew he was going to have to earn the trust back of his teammates.

By doing so, he wanted to make sure he took on a bigger role in the leadership department. His leadership on the ice, also transferred over to being a leader on the a lacrosse field. Hudecki instills in all his players to be accountable for their actions, and he expects his leaders to lead by example.

“Being a leader on this St. Joe’s lacrosse team is great. We have a great group of guys that hates losing as much as I do and will do anything in their power to help the team win,” stated Goss. “My leadership skills over the years have improved from me just being a leader of example on the field into a dynamic vocal leader and a leader by example of the field.”

That’s one thing that drew Canisius to Goss. They have had recent success with St. Joe’s lacrosse players, and adding another one to the stable is just icing on the cake. Not like it was an easy choice for Goss. The recruiting process in its self is a bear.

But, Goss would gladly go through it again.

“What drew me to Canisius was the atmosphere surrounding it. I felt like walking around campus everyone knew who everyone was. Also the Alumni Connection’s coming out of Canisius is huge in Buffalo. That goes with the courses that they offer, they have a really good business program that I would like to enroll in,” stated Goss. “It’s going to be great to go to Canisius with a teammate, Trevor Folsom, and I have great chemistry when it comes to our play on the field. And to be playing with my old teammates Carter Stefaniak and Drew House is a great feeling. The recruiting process was a long and tough process because in order to be seen by the top colleges you have to attend many tournaments in the off season, go to all the prospect days at those colleges and make connections with the college coaches through your club/high school coach. I would definitely go through it again if I had the opportunity.”