PHOTO: Jack Murray
Hockey has taken Carson Kosobud to many places in his life, whether it be living in Arizona for 10 years or moving back to a hockey rich state in Minnesota for his high school career. The Moorhead, Minnesota native played three seasons for his hometown school at Moorhead High, playing in the US High School League, which Minnesotans are very proud of.
“It was pretty cool to get to play for Moorhead,” Kosobud mentioned, “We had the whole town behind us and it was a similar atmosphere to the one in Penticton. We had a lot of fans coming to the games and it was good to play with all of my buddies and go to school with them at the same time.”
“After living in Arizona for 10 years and moving back up here in Grade 8,” Kosobud continued, “I’ve noticed in Minnesota, and especially in Moorhead, the people here take a lot of pride in their hockey. It’s like nowhere else in the country how they do it here and I wasn’t accustomed to having 20,000 people watching me play at the Xcel Energy Center so it was pretty crazy and one of the best hockey experiences of my life.”
Moving on from his high school hockey, Kosobud played with the Brookings Blizzard of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) for the 2017/18 season, playing in 34 games and amassing 61 penalty minutes. The transition from playing in high school compared to junior was a big adjustment for the 6’0″, 190-pound defenseman to make.
“There was definitely a learning curve and I couldn’t play the same game in junior as I did in high school,” Kosobud said, “I think I adjusted reasonably well, there are always things you can improve upon but it was interesting to play with older guys and I enjoyed it and now I’m one of the older guys so I’m using that knowledge of what I felt like when I was a younger player and try and help guys coming into their first seasons.”
Kosobud began last season in Central Illinois with the Flying Aces in the United States Hockey League before finding his way to the South Okanagan and Penticton, “I got lucky after being in Central Illinois to come to Penticton and play,” Kosobud recalled, “I think it’s the best spot in all of Canada to be at. I love the town, the fans and the atmosphere is something that I’ve never been apart of before so it’s a great place to be and I think it’s the perfect spot for me.”
Being in Canada to play for the first time and moving from the USHL to the BCHL can be a big transition for players but Kosobud was alerted that he was heading to a good place to play, “There was a bit of nervousness coming into Penticton last season,” said Kosobud, “I actually played with Ethan Martini in Central Illinois and he told me about BC and how beautiful the province was and how the league was. I’ve heard it from plenty of people that Penticton is the spot to be at so I was pretty excited when I found out I was going and I felt pretty privileged.”
The Moorhead, Minnesota native got into 31 games with the Vees a season ago, posting two goals and ten assists for twelve points and is looking forward to another season in the Peach City, “I miss getting to see my buddies every day and I can’t wait to see them again,” Kosobud said, “I miss the town and the fans, walking into places and being recognized and everyone knows who you are is pretty special.”
“Going to schools and seeing the kids faces light up as we walk in and playing floor hockey at the schools and handing out jerseys and books is really cool as well,” Kosobud continued, “It was really good being a strong influence on those kids and it was like being a big brother in a way.”
Securing a spot to play in the collegiate rankings was an easy decision for Kosobud as the defender will head to Arizona State after his final season of junior hockey, “I feel lucky and privileged to be committed there,” Kosobud explained, “I want to be a part of making a tradition along with teams like the University of North Dakota and University of Minnesota. I love the coaches at ASU and, living there for 10 years, it’s kind of like my second home so it was an easy choice for me and it’s kind of been where I’ve wanted to go every since they move to Division I.”
Gearing up for his final season of junior hockey, Kosobud has been hitting the gym and working on getting into the best shape he can be for playing, “I had a lot of areas I needed to improve and I think I’ve done a very good job on that and building a lot of muscle in the gym,” Kosobud said, “I also like to hunt and fish a lot and usually end up at the lake every weekend; a lot of outdoorsy kind of stuff and it’s been a great offseason.”
Kosobud and the rest of the Vees are set to hit the ice in August 19th ahead of the 2019/20 season with the first game of the exhibition schedule taking place on Wednesday, August 21st in West Kelowna against the Warriors. Season tickets are on sale now and are available by contacting Laura Carleton at (250) 493-8337 ext. 4.