This is obviously not a declaration of future top NHL draft pick article. The purpose for writing this article is to shine a light on prospects native to a non traditional hockey power country performing at a high level. There is a chance they could turn out to be a future draft pick of either the NHL or CHL, but nothing is certain obviously. If they do happen to continue to develop and succeed as they move up levels, there is a chance that they could one day impact the growth of the sport of hockey globally. Again I can not emphasize enough that I by no means am saying players I write about in this type of article will be 1st round picks or even drafted to the NHL. I am saying this article is about loving this sport and hoping that one day it will be possible to share it with more parts of the world. I personally think it would be a magical time indeed to see an Olympic Tournament or World Championship in which NHL players are dispersed among a lot more than 6, maybe even 5 some years, hockey countries with a shot of winning gold. It is also to shed light on a younger player currently performing well with a chance to go a lot farther in this sport.
Without further prelude, the player I will be spotlighting in this article is Tai Ushio a Japan native player. Some people may be familiar with Aito Iguchi the youtube star, his former teammate Yusaku Ando currently in the USHL, or a player I highlighted in a previous article Kenta Isogai also in the USHL. Ushio is similar to Ando in that he moved from Japan to Canada to benefit his development.
Ushio is a 2005 born forward currently rostered on The Rink Hockey Academy Kelowna U18 team. His team plays in the CSSHL U18 Prep league. Prior to their games stopping he lead his team in points with 5 goals 7 assists for 12 total points in 7 games played. That might not sound super special, but let me give that a little context. He is a December born 2005 and his teams last game was played on November 8th, 2020. That means he scored nearly 2 points per game and lead his U18 team in points as 14 year old.
Is he a future star? Who knows. Will he get drafted to the WHL? I would imagine it is possible. Is it worth monitoring to see if he a future star? Well, if you love hockey and want to share it with the rest of the world I can not imagine a reason it would not be. I hope this kid continues to grow and succeeds at the next level.
- CFTP – B. Driscoll
- PHOTO: EVALDAS SEMIOTAS IIHF.com