In the summer of 2022, the Toronto Maple Leafs brought Josh Ho-Sang to train at the team’s practice facility in Etobicoke. Impressed enough to offer him a chance to link up with the organization, the Toronto Marlies signed him to a professional tryout. He later signed a one-year AHL contract with those same Toronto Marlies.
Last season with the Marlies, Ho-Sang scored 16 goals and added 19 assists (for 35 points) in 47 games. Obviously, he was hoping to change the narrative and perception of himself as a controversial and self-centred player. In truth, Ho-Sang did play some impressive games with the Marlies.
During the course of the 2021-22 season, he earned a spot on the 2022 Canadian Olympic Men’s Hockey Team because the NHL decided not to be involved in response to the difficulties caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. With Team Canada, Ho-Sang registered three assists in five games during his Olympic experience, but Team Canada did not advance past the quarterfinals.
When the season was over, the Maple Leafs’ organization cut Ho-Sang loose. With no contract offer after the season ended, he decided to sign in Russia to play in the KHL.
Ho-Sang Suffered a Significant Injury in His First KHL Game
Unfortunately, during his first KHL game, Ho-Sang suffered what was called a “significant” injury. The 26-year-old former NHL first-round draft choice by the New York Islanders was involved in a collision during the game. He underwent surgery in Germany to repair the injury.
The report only noted that Ho-Sang had undergone surgery for a “significant injury,” but it didn’t say what that injury was. From the Twitter photo above, it would seem that he did something to his right arm.
At the time, Rinat Bashirov, who is the general manager of the KHL team Ho-Sang had signed with (Salavat Yulaev), reported that “Josh had surgery today. All is well. The recovery time is significant.”
Ho-Sang was expected to miss up to three months of action.
Ho-Sang’s Thoughts About Playing in the KHL
On the Blades of Steel website, Ho-Sang was quoted (through translation) about his time in the KHL. The following quotes are included below:
“I am very happy to come out in the form of «Salavat Yulaev» in the first match of the KHL. For me, it’s an honour. To be honest, while getting used to the style of play in the league after the NHL and AHL. I came to Russia to make a show, to please the fans with my game. For me, beautiful and bright hockey is important. Yesterday I was surprised by how the opponent stopped the attacks. Constant hooks, hard hits after attacks at speed, which can lead to damage.”
“Did the doctors help me after the match? Yes, I finished the match with an injury. I ran to the attack at speed, I was already without a puck, and there was a collision with me. I just want us to develop the KHL together, and make a show for our beloved fans. There are many great hockey players in Russia, and if they are additionally protected by the rules, the game will become much more attractive. I want to return to the ice as soon as possible and again please everyone with my game.”
Just by reading between the lines, it would seem to be that Ho-Sang believed the collision happened after he had given up the puck and that the play was filled with a great number of physical penalties that should have been called.
Ho-Sang was surprised by how fast KHL hockey was and how hard the players hit.
Now What with Ho-Sang?
Ho-Sang was once a highly-touted prospect and was drafted 28th overall by the New York Islanders in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Hopefully, he will be able to make a full recovery and get back on the ice soon. It’s been more than three months since his injury, but I have not been able to find any information about if he will be playing in the KHL or anywhere else.
Good Luck to Ho-Sang as He Decides His Future
Ho-Sang’s journey as a professional hockey player is well-documented. He seems to have great talent, but also had gained a reputation as a controversial player. It’s encouraging to see that he has been able to overcome some of the challenges he has faced.
Now, what happens to Ho-Sang? Some hockey players have unique journeys and success doesn’t always come easy. I’m hoping Ho-Sang will be able to overcome his injury and his other issues, whatever they might be. I’d love to see him excel in life both on and off the ice.