Skip to main content

Unknown Canadian: Brandon Kozun

Toronto Maple Leafs fans may remember this 2018 Canadian Olympian.

Brandon Kozun is one of three former Leafs on the team, joined by Mason Raymond and Ben Scrivens.

Kozun was born in Los Angeles, but he was a dual citizen thanks to his Canadian mother. The family moved to Calgary when Kozun was 10 years old, partly because of his burgeoning hockey ability.

Kozun committed to playing for Canada internationally when he skated for Canada's silver medal winning team at the 2010 World Junior championships. Kozun reportedly turned down a guaranteed spot on the American team, and tried out for the deeper Team Canada. Kozun scored the shootout winner against Team USA in the round robin, but the Americans got the better of Team Canada in the gold medal game.

The pint-sized right winger was scoring sensation with the WHL's Calgary Hitmen. He developed a reputation as a tireless worker and great skater, but nothing ever came easy for Kozun. He went undrafted in 2008, and was a late round pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 2009.

Kozun would play four seasons for the Kings' AHL farm team, but never got a sniff at the NHL despite some impressive play.

Kozun joined the Toronto Maple Leafs organization in 2013. He would get a 20 game look the Leafs in 2014-15, impressing in training camp and making the team at the start of the year. A bad knee injury derailed his progress.

Kozun read the writing on the wall. He knew he was destined to be return to the buses of the minor leagues, so he jumped at the larger paychecks over in Europe. After a year in Finland he suited up for KHL Yaroslavl where he became a top scorer.

This season Kozun has actually been snake-bitten in that the offense has not always come easy for Kozun. But he was so determined to do anything to make the Canadian Olympic team, and it won over coach Willie Desjardins.

“I look at a Brandon Kozun. He was a top five player last two years in the KHL – a leading guy – and we thought for sure he’d be on the team, and he comes in and things don’t go well the first tournament. He’s supposed to be a scorer, and he’s not scoring…What’s he do? He finds another way to make the team.”

“We had to name him just because how hard he worked. He wouldn’t accept not making it.”

Sounds like Canada's inspirational leader might just hail from Los Angeles.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M