SIMMONS: Next stop for Ho-Sang’s magical mystery tour — Leafs camp

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The decision got here in a single night time in 2012 from a member of the family saying ‘we’ve bought to go see this child play, he’s unbelievable.’


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And so we went to observe the AAA Marlies — and on the finish of the night time on the drive residence, my brother-in-law requested me what I believed.

I stated I used to be surprised by the expertise stage, and absolutely the velocity of the participant we’d gone to witness — after which I indicated that I preferred him, however I actually preferred that different child higher.

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The opposite child was Connor McDavid.

The child we went to observe: Joshua Ho-Sang.

There wasn’t plenty of distinction between McDavid and Ho-Sang within the winter of 2012. They each had breathtaking velocity. They each had strikes that belied their age and expertise stage. They each had the flexibility to take a group sport and make it about a person in a matter of seconds, at nearly any time within the sport.

McDavid is now one of the best participant in hockey, with none actual argument as to his place within the sport.


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However the magical thriller tour that has been Ho-Sang’s skilled hockey profession begins anew on Thursday, because the Maple Leafs open coaching camp for actual on ice. He has no contract with the Leafs. He’s assured nothing however a tryout. This may very well be the final cease for a 25-year-old who appears to have every part however a job.

There has by no means been a lot doubt about Ho-Sang’s expertise.

“You’ll be able to’t educate what he has,” a former coach stated. “It’s ridiculous how a lot expertise he has. It’s wild, actually. Hopefully, this time he will get it proper. This time he figures it out.

“Sincere, it has without end puzzled me simply because it has puzzled others how this child hasn’t made it huge.”

There has at all times been a gaggle pulling for Ho-Sang to search out his method, not simply to make the NHL however to make it huge. There was no larger cheerleader than his former agent, Ian Pulver. However those that have had him — in junior, within the minor leagues — nonetheless marvel what wasn’t gone proper.


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“I used to inform my gamers, getting the primary contract is simple,” stated Bob Boughner, the San Jose Sharks coach who had Ho-Sang for elements of three OHL seasons in Windsor. “Getting the second is tough.”

Ho-Sang has but to determine precisely who he’s, and what he may very well be as an NHL participant.

He was drafted within the first spherical by the New York Islanders in 2014 — the identical draft that despatched Leon Draisaitl to Edmonton and noticed his former minor hockey teammate, Sam Bennett, taken together with William Nylander, David Pastrnak, and the newly signed Leaf Nick Ritchie who’ve wound up within the NHL.

As soon as, after a prolonged interview, Ho-Sang advised me he can be one of the best participant in his draft class. Presently, he’s the Forty eighth-leading scorer from his class after simply 53 video games performed with the Islanders.


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Actually, this may very well be his final shot at an NHL job after barely taking part in the previous two seasons, one within the American Hockey League, the opposite in Sweden.

However some within the sport determine that the Leafs could be the right risk for Ho-Sang. Final 12 months, in mid-season, the Leafs picked up Alex Galchenyuk — who had misplaced his method as an NHL contributor — they usually assigned their improvement employees to work with Galchenyuk and see if there was something left in him.

It was a profitable short-term proposition for the Leafs, who wished to re-sign Galchenyuk this season.

Now the Leafs may be capable of make the most of an analogous path to see if there may be any salvaging to be carried out with the generally singular Ho-Sang.

The truth that Ho-Sang is from Toronto means he received’t be on his personal and left to his personal misgivings. He can have assist round him. His dad, Wayne, a neighborhood tennis professional, is a lifelong Leafs fan. It could actually be a dream come true to have his son taking part in for the group he loves.


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“I believe he’s a modified man,” his dad stated Tuesday.

It was about all he stated.

The Leafs don’t need Ho-Sang doing any interviews till camp has begun and perhaps not till he has secured a spot with the franchise. His agent, the little-known Patrick Bedell, didn’t return a telephone message Tuesday. Phrase is, he desires this tryout to be as low-key as potential.

Ho-Sang has at all times been an authentic thinker, which at instances has been to his hockey detriment.

As soon as in a abilities competitors as a junior, he received the quickest participant award. When he was requested what it meant to him, he stated it was somewhat meaningless as a result of who skates on the skin in circles throughout a sport, and pylons, he identified, don’t verify.

“It’s important to perceive, he’s not a nasty individual,” a hockey man near Ho-Sang stated. “He simply thinks in another way than you and I do. And hockey’s not meant for many who suppose in another way … If there’s a group that may get him, it could be the Leafs.

“Josh has an excellent soul. I’m actually hoping that is his time.”



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