TISDALE — While Landon Kosior has hockey options ahead of him, this coming winter he will be firmly focused on helping the Tisdale Trojans be successful.
The 16-year-old’s rights are held by teams in three different junior leagues – including at the major junior level. Last season the defenceman from Regina exceeded expectations as a rookie with the Trojans in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. This time around Kosior will be counted on to do even more.
“He is going to be a big, solid D-man in our league” said Darrell Mann, Tisdale Trojans head coach. “He definitely has a bright future in the world of hockey.”
This is an exciting season for the Trojans as the perennially strong club is hosting the Telus Cup West Regional. The top teams from Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northwestern Ontario will battle for spots in the Telus Cup national midget AAA championships in Thunder Bay. When Kosior was asked what excites him the most about the upcoming season, he said:
“I am most excited about hosting the Telus Cup Western Regional this season. I feel that it is a great opportunity for our team to showcase our skills and we should have a great chance of winning it and moving on to the Telus Cup. I am also excited to meet the new players that make the team and create new friendships.”
Kosior will be one of many familiar faces on the Trojans this coming season. The team is expected to return 10 players from last season. Three newcomers played a number of games as affiliate players. The Tisdale team is also adding three athletes who played elsewhere in the league last season. After icing a young, talented crew in 2017-18, the Trojans will look to use the experience they gained to their advantage.
“We shouldn’t be in awe of anybody,” Mann said. “We should be ready to roll right from the get go.”
Kosior will be part of a veteran blue line corps that also returns standouts Luke Arndt and Dylan Ashe.
“We think our D-core will be as good as it has ever been here in Tisdale,” Mann said.
Last season young players were given the opportunity to contribute in various roles. For example, as a rookie Kosior earned a spot on a power-play unit.
“He was thrown into the fire. He responded very well,” said Mann, who noted that last season’s experience will certainly benefit all of the returning players.
Kosior ended up 20 points in 41 games. Kosior and Carter Lake tied for most points by a Tisdale defenceman. But his contributions are not limited only to one end of the ice.
“Landon can kind of do it all,” Mann said. “He brings a good defensive game. He can also contribute offensively.”
In 2017, Kosior was selected by the Melville Millionaires in the second round of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Draft after being overlooked in that spring’s Western Hockey League Bantam Draft. During last season Kosior turned heads and was listed by the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders. In May, he was selected by the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League. In that junior league’s draft for 2002-born players, only Kosior and his good friend Stanley Cooley of the Notre Dame Hounds were tabbed from Saskatchewan. Kosior’s father reported his son is on the protected list for both the Lancers and the Raiders. The WHL is known for producing pro prospects and has a scholarship program, while going to the SJHL or USHL keeps players’ eligibility alive for possible NCAA offers in the United States.
“It is nice for me to have three great future options in hockey with Melville, Prince Albert and Omaha,” Kosior said. “All three are high-end organizations and I would be honoured to play for them.”
He has already had the opportunity to compete in camps with all three.
“The biggest difference that I noticed is the speed and intelligence of the players,” Kosior said of going form midget AAA to the junior level. “They skate faster, pass harder, and make quicker decisions.”
The defenceman, who said it was an honour to be picked in the USHL Draft and that it was nice to see his hard work pay off, praised his Tisdale team for helping his development.
“Since I have been playing in Tisdale, I have developed a winning mentality and have become better in all aspects of my game,” Kosior said.
His hard work has continued over the summer. Mann said that Kosior has added some size. The youngster reported he has been working out three times a week and skating five or more times a week in White City. He is hoping to make some more memories in Tisdale this season.
“The best part of playing for the Trojans is the amount of fan support that we get,” Kosior said. “It is like no other in our league. It really gives us that extra energy late in the games.”