Josh Ho-Sang hears critics but doesn’t give them much thought and he doesn’t care if that bothers you.
The New York Islanders forward, still only 21, has been the focus of more than a few petty controversies and his career is just getting started. But he’s learning to ignore those critics and focus on the prize.
“There’s a lot of people who are involved in making an image of an athlete,” Ho-Sang said in an interview on Tim and Sid. “There’s a saying, lions don’t listen to the opinions of sheep. To me, it’s one of those things that if you don’t know me, if you don’t know Josh Ho-Sang as a person, then your opinion is very minute depending on who you are.”
Ho-Sang spent this week training with some of the best players in the world at the BioSteel camp in Toronto. There he got to catch up with guys like Connor McDavid and Tyler Seguin to pick their brains ahead of the upcoming season.
Now turning his attention towards his first full NHL campaign, he’s feeling confident in his abilities to help his team return to the playoffs.
“I think I’m ready to come in and be an impact player in the NHL,” Ho-Sang said. “I want to go up against the best players in the league every night.”
Ho-Sang made his NHL debut last season and instantly left a mark with highlight-reel plays. With four goals and 10 points in 21 games, and another 10 goals and 36 points in the AHL, he made a strong case to become an offensive threat for the Islanders this season.
Ho-Sang says he’s found some new motivation that he hopes will make him a consistent scorer in the NHL. The old Ho-Sang used to talk a big game, saying things like “In three years, I’ll be the best player in this draft,” before the Islanders took him with the 28th pick in 2014.
Now, his focus is on winning.
“I don’t really want to bring that selfish side to the game. It’s not personal right now or at any point really,” he said. “I think that when I was younger my mentality was very ‘I want to be the best’ but I think personally the best person wins all the time.”
This upcoming season will be a big one for the Islanders. With captain John Tavares set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, players like Ho-Sang and fellow youngsters Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier will be counted on to show that the future is bright in New York. If Tavares does leave, those guys will instantly become some of the more important offensive weapons on the team.
Ho-Sang knows it won’t be easy but he’s ready to face the challenge head on.
“The NHL is not an easy league, it’s not a league you just walk into and turn it on,” Ho-Sang said. “There’s very few guys who can do that.”