PHOTO: Jack Murray
With the 2019/20 season coming to a close, we will take a look at each of the six 20-year-olds on the Vees roster and look back on their junior hockey careers. Next up: defenseman Carson Kosobud.
Coming into his final season of Junior hockey as one of the six players returning from the 2018/19 campaign, Carson Kosobud was excited as to what his 20-year-old year could hold. The Vees came together quickly to start the season, earning victories in each of their six preseason contests, including a pair of tilts against the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Brooks Bandits. Following a strong exhibition season, Penticton earned victories in each of their first eleven games to open the season.
“It was like something I had never really been apart of before where we were consistently winning from the very start,” said the Vees blueliner, “For us to sweep Brooks, knowing how good of a season they had had the year before, and starting the season on an 11-game winning streak, it was something that not a lot of teams do and, looking back on it now, it was surreal how it happened and it was awesome to be apart of.”
Coming from behind, late game heroics and overtime victories were all involved in a special season for the Vees, something in which Kosobud thinks really helped the team’s ability down the stretch, “I think we showed really good resilience,” Kosobud mentioned, “The attitude in the dressing room, after the holiday break, was just really emphasized that this was the group of guys we were going to have and we were happy with the team we had.”
“We all looked around the room and knew this team was capable of something special,” Kosobud continued, “I think we put our nose to the grindstone, buckled up and bought into the process and went to work for the rest of the season and left it all out there.”
Finishing the season with 44 wins and the franchise’s 9th straight Interior Division pennant, the Vees regular season was one to remember. “As a team, I thought we did unbelievable,” Kosobud recalls of the season, “I think we were the best team in the league and we played so hard, overcame plenty of different obstacles throughout the season and I wouldn’t have done it with any other group of guys.”
“Obviously the season didn’t end the way we wanted it to and was cut short,” continued the Vees rearguard, “But I feel like if we had continued playing and with how good of a team we had, we would have won the whole thing. As disappointing as it is, I’m glad that I got to be apart of this team and be with the group of guys that we had.”
Not many players get the opportunity to finish their career with a game winning goal in overtime to win a playoff series but, with the unfortunate state of events, it was the final goal of the Vees season and of Kosobud’s junior hockey career. The Moorhead, Minnesota native says it was something that is going to stick with him for the rest of his life.
“That was the biggest point of my hockey career as of now,” Kosobud said, “It’s something I am going to carry with me for the rest of my life. I’ve watched the video several times now and it pains me that that is the way it had to end but at least it was able to end on a good note. It was surreal, honestly, with the fans going nuts and the guys coming over to celebrate is something I’ve never had happen before.”
Game #5 against West Kelowna was the last of a very strong junior hockey career for Kosobud, who played 39 games in the North American Hockey League (NAHL), 20 games in the United States Hockey League (USHL) before suiting up in 88 games with the Vees. After four seasons of playing throughout North America, Kosobud will remember the bonds with his teammates the most, “I’ve met guys from around the world on each of the teams I’ve been on, knowing players from Germany, Czech Republic and Finland, you just make a special bond with all of them.”
“You don’t know how long you will be playing with a certain guy for, whether it be one or two or three seasons,” said Kosobud, “Moving on and playing on different teams or even lining up against those same guys in college hockey, that bond is still there and you will never forget it. It’s all of the experiences and memories that you make and stuff you used to do as a team that will stick with you forever.”
Finishing off his junior career in the Peach City, Penticton has become a second home for Kosobud, “Penticton is really my home for junior hockey,” the blueliner mentioned, “This is the place that I played the most of my junior career and I’m going to miss all of the people I have met here. I’m grateful for the City of Penticton as well as our owners Graham and Sue (Fraser), Fred and the coaching staff for what they have taught me. I’ve learnt so much, not just as a hockey player, but as a person and be involved in a winning culture.”
“The fanbase is amazing, getting 3000+ fans out to each of our games, including Wednesday nights and there’s not many places like that, if any. It’s unfortunate that I have to leave but it was the best place in my junior career and I can’t be more thankful to Penticton for that.”
Kosobud will continue his hockey career in a familiar place, having spent much of his youth in the state of Arizona and now having the chance to play college hockey for the Arizona State Sun Devils in the fall of 2020. “I’m really excited for the next major part in my hockey career,” stated Kosobud, “The next couple of months will be a lot of hard work and I will be training extra hard. It’s a big summer for me to get into shape for my first season of college. I have to be at school for June 30th so it will be a bit of a short summer but I will be putting in my all getting ready for my freshman year of school.”
The Vees would like to thank Carson for everything he contributed to the Vees organization and the City of Penticton over the last season and a half and wish him the best in his future endeavours!