’Canes signing adds experience, skill to defensive unit

ofcThe driving distance from the University of Western Ontario in London to the Hurricanes’ clubhouse in downtown Hamilton is about 130 kilometres.

For Mississauga native Jason Kosec, the move from the Canadian Interuniversity Sports’ Mustangs to the Canadian Junior Football League Hurricanes has taken him a great deal further.

His particular journey started when Kosec left the Western Mustangs after the 2007 season, a campaign that saw the star linebacker and defensive team captain go all the way to the Yates Cup Final. After that season, Kosec left the university because of academic difficulties. Even with the problems holding him out of school, however, he still represented the Mustangs at the 2008 East-West All-Star Game played at Hamilton’s McMaster University.

Kosec then committed himself to the gym to prepare himself for the 2009 Canadian Football League’s evaluation camp which showcases the top CIS prospects heading into the draft. As a result of his solid performance at the E-Camp, Kosec became the fourth linebacker selected in the ’09 draft with the 44th overall pick by the Edmonton Eskimos. The Eskimos management noted that he was “a big play stopper with outstanding speed and good in third down situations.”

At the Eskimos ’09 training camp, Kosec, a graduate of Lorne Park Secondary School in Mississauga, injured his back and the outlook was that he was just going to miss too much time to be kept on the roster. The rookie was released half-way through camp. Since then, Kosec has been through loads of treatments and is once again ready to play. With his academic status on hold, and without another CFL team knocking on the door, Kosec decided to continue his football career, hoping to return to another CFL camp by way of the junior ranks.

This week, the 6’4″, 225-pound linebacker signed with the Ontario Football Conference’s Hurricanes.

“The Hurricanes management has shown that they are truly committed to helping guys like me get to the next level,” said Kosec. “The outstanding level of coaching and the quality of the training staff in Hamilton were also major factors in my decision to sign with the ‘Canes,” he added.

“Jason brings the key features that all teams are looking for … size, skill, leadership, and a lot of high level experience,” said Hurricanes’ president Brian Copeland. “I had some great conversations with both Jason and his father, and together we will do whatever it takes to help him get another chance in the pros.”

Kosec’s father, Frank, was a star linebacker at the University of Waterloo from 1978 to 1980, and was the first overall pick in the 1981 CFL entry draft by the Calgary Stampeders. He spent five seasons in the CFL with Calgary and Montreal and was inducted into the Waterloo Hall of Fame in 2000.

Said Hurricanes’ head coach Jason Hayes: “It’s not often that a team in our league has an opportunity to bring in a player that has already had such a prominent CIS career and some time in a pro camp. We are delighted to have Jason here. He will be an outstanding addition to an already solid defense.”

In addition to his football experience, Kosec also excelled at hockey. He represented Central Canada and the Toronto Marlboros in the 2004 national midget championship.

Kosec will be in attendance when the Hurricanes open their 2009 training camp on Sunday, Aug 9.

The Hurricanes open the new season on the road Aug. 22 in Ottawa against the expansion Ottawa Sooners.

Hamilton’s first home game is Saturday, Aug. 29, 1 p.m. – Ron Joyce Stadium at McMaster University – when the team will play the London Beefeaters.