Atlanta has surprised many observers with its constant display of exceptional youth hockey players. It is evident whenever Atlanta youth hockey players compete in out of state tournaments surprising many Northern opponents.
After the Atlanta Thrashers departure several years ago, a lot of people surmised that youth hockey would be severely damaged in Atlanta.
Not only has that not happened, but several youth hockey players also have proven their talent in other areas besides on the ice.
One of those youth players is Kobe Kitagawa. In recent years, he has taken up golf, and other non-hockey pursuits.
Kobe started skating at age 3 and took lessons with Debbie Prachar and Al Blevins (now the GM at the Ice Forum in Duluth). He was in the first graduating class of the now defunct Atlanta Thrashers’ Cross-Ice program (under Misha Donskov and Chris Uber-formerly with the Thrashers organization), and played a season of house league hockey at the Cooler at age five.
In the fall of 2005, Kobe made the Marietta Ice Center’s Mite Minor team, coached by Marty Lysaght, and has played travel hockey each year since. Currently he plays on the Bantam Major squad where he has played center and right wing.
Kobe’s father Coach Tim Kitagawa is a native of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has played competitive hockey since the age of 7 and has competed at all amateur levels. He has over 15 years of experience as a referee, instructor and coach.
Coach Kitigawa emphasizes the development of necessary fundamental skills in young players, both on and off the ice. He manages the elite development of both athlete and student and is considered one of the best coaches in the entire South.
Kitagawa is a certified Level 4 coach and those coaching disciplines and his demand for excellence have probably made their way into Kobe’s other interests.
Kobe has consistently been good student at Hightower Trail Middle School and regularly competes for straight A’s. He has previously won the school science award and the Husky award (hardest worker in class) a couple of times each.
In addition to Kobe playing hockey, he also started playing guitar in September 2008, after attending the Wilco concert in June of the same year (he was inspired). He has interest in artists like Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, and AC/DC.
He has played in public a few times and has played in a rock band made up of fellow students organized by Imagine Arts, the outfit from which he takes guitar lessons.
I think it’s a little more difficult for a coach’s child. He and I talk about it before every season. If I’m going to coach, Kobe will be held to a higher standard for behavior off the ice, and for effort and conduct on the ice. While I confess that I don’t entirely manage it perfectly, I think we do it fairly well. But you should probably talk to the parents from our team – they might, of course, have a different understanding. But I also think they will tell you that he doesn’t get preferential treatment. said Coach Kitigawa.