Playing for a purpose: Austin grad plays in memorial tournament after making college commitment

Published 9:10 pm Monday, August 19, 2019

Kory Potach is well aware that life doesn’t always turn out the way it is planned, but that doesn’t mean you give up.

Kory, who recently committed to play college hockey at Grand Canyon University, was one of the many golfers playing in the 22nd Karl Potach Memorial Golf Tournament at Austin Country Club Monday.

The tournament raises funds to improve the life of current and future pediatric cancer patients, while working towards a cure and it honors Kory’s brother Karl, who passed away after a three-year battle with cancer at the age of four.

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Kory was not born in time to meet his older brother, but Karl certainly left a lasting impact on Kory and the entire community of Austin.

“I’ve heard plenty of stories, but I never actually got to meet him. From my perspective, it sounds like he was a pretty cool little boy,” Kory said. “I would’ve loved to have met him and everyone talks pretty highly of him. Obviously losing him wasn’t want we wanted, but the four years that my family and everybody else had with him sounded pretty great.”

Kory has now golfed in the Karl Potach Tournament at least six times and he said it is always humbling to see the community support for the tournament, which has raised more than one million dollars in its history.

Kory Potach of Austin eyes the greens on hole No. 11 at the 22nd Annual Karl Potach Tournament in Austin Country Club Monday. Rocky Hulne/

“Everybody comes from near and far to play golf with us and raise money,” Kory said. “This event means a lot for me and my family. It’s a huge event and raising tons of money for cancer research is always awesome. Seeing other people come out and support us is just a good sight.”

Kory was able to breathe a little easier at the tournament than he has in year’s past as he has finally been able to lock up his college future. He recently committed to play hockey at ACHA Division I Grand Canyon University with an academic scholarship.

Kory’s journey to Arizona featured stops with the Steele County Blades, where he had 23 points in 44 games in 2017-2018 and with the Rochester Grizzlies, where he compiled nine points in 35 games after fighting off a broken ankle.

“I kind of knew that there was hopefully something ahead, but to keep going late in the season without any offers was a battle. But it all worked out,” Kory said. “(My commitment) happened kind of late, but it’s going to be fun. I’m excited to have at least four more years of hockey. Hopefully I can stay injury free.”

Kory has worked at Austin Country Club over the past few summers and he golfs whenever he gets the opportunity. Even for the greatest players, golf can be unforgiving, frustrating game that pushes players to the brink.

Kory also had his own frustration when he wasn’t able to play hockey at his first choice of schools — Bethel University — but he was able to keep grinding until he found a place to play.

“The biggest thing was probably my love of the game. I never lost interest in it, and I wanted to play in college,” Kory said.

Kory Potach of Austin chips a shot at Austin Country Club Monday. Rocky Hulne/