Jack Kocur, 18, Died Early Monday in a Firework Accident at a Brooklyn Park Park
Jack Kocur, 18, died early Monday in Brooklyn Park park following a fireworks accident. Police and North Memorial paramedics responded after receiving reports about an injured party using fireworks.
Kocur, an NCAA All-American and member of Pepperdine’s 1997 national championship squad, was widely known for his explosive scoring prowess as an offensive threat during his prep career at Royal High School in Simi Valley, California, totalling 372 goals during that time period.
Early Life and Education
Jack Kocur was a two-time All-American water polo player who led his high school, Highlanders, to an undefeated season and set its career goal record. Later he competed on Pepperdine University’s 1997 national championship team as well as appearing in over 125 international matches as part of the U.S men’s national team.
Kocur was killed July 4 at Brooklyn Park’s Willows of Aspen Park due to an accidental fireworks misfire, according to Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office. Police, firefighters, North Memorial paramedics responded shortly before 1:30 a.m. upon hearing reports of injuries due to fireworks use.
He leaves behind his parents Kent and Shelly Kocur, sister Judith Kocur Mencke, cousins Kurt (Diane), Jan Kocur and Matt Ellefson; as well as many friends. A memorial service will take place shortly for family and friends of James.
Jack Kocur was a legendary Detroit Red Wings defenseman renowned for his powerful right-hand punch that often cracked players’ helmets or knocked out their teeth. Additionally, he was considered an enforcer.
Graduate of Oaks Christian High School in Westlake Village, California where he played water polo under Pepperdine All-American and former U.S. National Team Coach Jim Toring.
Kocur’s playing career continued after college as he competed on the United States Men’s National Team and won numerous tournaments. Since 2008, he has served as head coach of Pepperdine Men’s Water Polo Team, eventually being recognized with MPSF co-coaching status after leading them to 21-7 record and No.2 national ranking; additionally he spent one season as assistant coach at University of Pacific.
Achievement and Honors
Kocur previously held positions as both video scout coach for the US men’s national team as well as Pepperdine Water Polo coach – leading them to three consecutive NCAA national championships with an overall 95-78 record over six seasons.
He was recognized with the MPSF co-coach of the year honor in 2008 after leading his team to a 21-7 mark and No. 2 national ranking. Additionally, during college he represented both U.S. national team competition as well as participating in over 125 international matches for his university team.
At present, Kocur serves as full-time assistant coach of the USA Water Polo senior men’s team under Head Coach Dejan Udovicic and as coach at Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village, California. In addition, he founded and owns manufacturer’s rep firm Kocur Enterprises.
Friends and teammates of 18-year-old Jack Kocur are in mourning after his sudden death at Brooklyn Park’s Central Park, after an accidental firework explosion injured him on Monday morning. Police and North Memorial paramedics responded immediately after receiving the accident report to provide medical aid.
Royal High and Pepperdine water polo players were widely recognized as having produced some of the premier talent from Ventura County. He earned first-team All-America recognition as co-captain of Pepperdine’s 1997 national championship team, then played over 125 international matches with Team USA.
As Pacific assistant coach, he was honored as co-coach of the year by MPSF in 2008 when the Waves went 21-7 and earned their No. 2 national ranking. Additionally, he worked at USAWP age group level coaching, winning three separate national championships during that period.
At his right wrist, from middle knuckle to wrist, an uneven three-inch scar carves a crooked line that resembles the map of his native Saskatchewan with Kelvington being represented by one bump and Nut Mountain with another knob.
Kocur has amassed eight goals and six assists across 38 games for Adirondack Red Wings this season, amassing 171 penalty minutes along the way.
Kocur is one of the NHL’s fiercest fighters and often refers to himself as “Knucklehead.” His mother Rita watches his games from Kelvington, Saskatchewan on television; when his fights start she often closes her eyes in order to protect her son. Not only is Kocur a formidable opponent; he has also scored an impressive 68 goals throughout his career and been selected twice by New York Rangers over five years.