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Jets' pick Kosmachuk exits junior with a bang

Storm winger obviously doesn't like losing

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Scott Kosmachuk: 100-point season

JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

Scott Kosmachuk: 100-point season

LONDON, Ont. -- Scott Kosmachuk's junior hockey career ended in rage, tears and splinters.

The 20-year-old winger watched the seconds tick down on his Guelph Storm in a 6-3 loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings at the Memorial Cup final and his anger got the best of him as he smashed his stick into toothpicks.

Kosmachuk was so overwhelmed, he chose to not meet the media after the game. That's a lesson he'll need to learn as a pro, to face the music no matter the results. But maturing is all part of the process he's about to begin as a prospect with the Winnipeg Jets.

"Scott earned a 100-point season and he's continued to get better as a player," said Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, at Sunday's game with a good portion of his scouting staff. "He's proven to be a consistent scorer and he plays with a chip on his shoulder. He's progressing well."

After establishing himself as one of the best junior hockey players in Canada with 49 goals and 52 assists in 68 regular-season games, Kosmachuk will now turn his attention to the pro game, with his next destination likely being the AHL's St. John's Ice Caps. Making the big club next year seems at this point to be a stretch. He can skate, is willing to back himself up physically, and word around the Ontario Hockey League is he's a gym rat with a peerless off-ice work ethic, but he is probably at least a year away from the NHL.

Cheveldayoff said an assignment to the IceCaps, still in the hunt for the Calder Cup, was improbable, citing the player's already long season, including 23 playoff games.

The Storm had swept through Canada's major junior hockey championship, easily and efficiently securing a spot in the final. The Oil Kings had to grind their way to Sunday's title game needing a triple overtime win to seal their berth. Whether the easy route robbed the Storm of their edge or the Oil Kings were just better can be argued, but the result cannot. The Oil Kings are champs and Kosmachuk goes out on a losing note.

This chapter ended poorly, but for Kosmachuk there will be others, and maybe he can position himself for even bigger stories.

Losing the final game of a brilliant junior hockey career isn't the way the right-winger and Winnipeg Jets' prospect wanted it to go down, but when you're 20, there's lots of life yet to live.

For Kosmachuk, his hockey career is only just beginning and now comes the greatest challenge of all, stepping from junior to pro.

Sure, this was a bad day. But the potential for hundreds and maybe thousands of better days awaits. Cheer up, Scott, there are more mountains to climb.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 26, 2014 C1

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Updated on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 9:07 AM CDT: Replaces photo

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About Gary Lawless

Gary Lawless is the Free Press sports columnist and co-host of the Hustler and Lawless show on TSN 1290 Winnipeg and www.winnipegfreepress.com
Lawless began covering sports as a rookie reporter at The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay after graduating from journalism school at Durham College in Ontario.
After a Grey Cup winning stint with the Toronto Argonauts in the communications department, Lawless returned to Thunder Bay as sports editor.
In 1999 he joined the Free Press and after working on the night sports desk moved back into the field where he covered pro hockey, baseball and football beats prior to being named columnist.

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