One year ago today, Josh Ho-Sang got the rudest awakening of his hockey life.
He’s back this year with quite a bit to prove to the Islanders organization, though the process began during the long wait between pro camps.
Ho-Sang, the dynamic forward selected 28th overall by the Isles in the 2014 draft, was already in camp for a week last September, participating as he is in the team’s prospect camp that convenes a week before the full camp.
But on the first day of the full camp, last Sept. 18, Ho-Sang overslept. Michael Dal Colle, his fellow first-round pick, tried to rouse Ho-Sang in their room at the Long Island Marriott before Dal Colle had to hustle and catch a shuttle to IceWorks. With a spot on John Tavares’ wing in drills waiting, Ho-Sang didn’t get moving until Eric Cairns, the team’s head of player development, came by the hotel.
What followed was three hours of running the stairs at the dark Nassau Coliseum and a ticket home for Ho-Sang before his chance to impress the staff even began.
“I don’t really think about it. It pretty much bugged me until I got here,” Ho-Sang said. “Now I don’t care anymore. Show up on time.”
He did more than that once he was back with Niagara of the Ontario League, posting 82 points in the regular season and then 26 points in a postseason run to the OHL final.
“You’ve got to grow from those things,” Isles assistant GM and assistant coach Doug Weight said. “He was beat up from it, frankly. We didn’t talk to him for a couple months after because we wanted him to work it out for himself. We could have Cairnsy and Marty Reasoner calling him, chasing him around after every game, but we decided to give him a little space. We challenged him. We didn’t ignore him, we let him be on his own and to start getting those reports that he was a leader in the room and not a detriment, it’s exciting.”
Ho-Sang seems likely headed to Bridgeport to start this season, given the glut of forwards on the roster. But this is a process that’s just beginning for the 20-year-old, not one that’s already over after last year’s embarrassment.
“They gave me a helmet, gloves and pants — I’m pretty happy,” he said. “Everyone’s real nice to me, they just want to see me get better, that’s all.”