If Josh Ho-Sang already had a reputation for being difficult off the ice, well, his former coach just added another voice to the detraction.
Windsor Spitfires president and head coach Bob Boughner addressed his mid-season trade of the gifted offensive star to the Niagara IceDogs in exchange for centre Hayden McCool and second-round picks in 2016, ’17 and ’19.
Ho-Sang had scored 19 points in 11 games with Windsor prior to being dealt, and after the New York Islanders prospect left, the Spitfires were left without a point-per-game player and finished last in the OHL’s Western Conference.
“We don’t have that horse. We knew that when we traded [Ho-Sang],” Boughner told the Windsor Star Tuesday as the team cleaned out its lockers. “The hockey world, and the true people that know what was going on inside our four walls, know that.
“It was mandatory that we had to trade him. For many, many, numerous internal reasons, the people that truly know what went on behind the scenes would understand why we had to trade him.”
Ho-Sang started his third year in Windsor by serving a six-game suspension but wasted no time becoming the club’s leading scorer. Eyebrows raised when the Isles’ 2014 first-round pick (28th overall) was not invited to Canada’s world junior camp.
“We might not be a better team in the standings because of [trading Ho-Sang], but we’re definitely a better team within our four walls and it’s only going to help for the future,” Boughner said. “I like our deal. I like stocking picks up; I like McCool. I think he’s been inconsistent at times, but I think there’s a lot more there.”
Since the trade, 19-year-old Ho-Sang racked up 62 points in 49 games for playoff-bound Niagara and finished the season averaging 1.35 points per game.
“When you boil it down, all I’ve said in the media is that I believe in myself, that I have dreams. I don’t know what’s wrong with that,” Ho-Sang told Sportsnet Magazine earlier this season.
“People will find what they want to find in what I say. I just speak my mind. If people want to make me seem like an asshole, go ahead. It’s cool.”