‘Eye candy’ helps local 17-year-old make hockey history

SPECIAL K:  Kason Muscutt, 17, became the first area hockey player, and likely the first born in Louisiana, to earn a spot in the USA Hockey U-17 camp.

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

One year after one of the biggest disappointments of his young hockey career, Kason Muscutt used a little ‘eye candy’ to make history.

Tuesday, Muscutt learned he was selected to participate in the 2022 USA Hockey Boys Select 17 Camp, where the best 60 players in the country will showcase their talents to the top junior hockey organizations and college programs.

Muscutt, 17, is believed to be the first Louisiana-born player to make the camp. He’s certainly the first from Northwest Louisiana, where there is just a single sheet of ice (George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum) — and it’s not available 12 months a year.

“It’s cool to probably be the first from Louisiana, but I want to be looked at as more than just a kid from Louisiana. I want to be known as a legitimate hockey player,” Muscutt told The Journal.

The Select 17 camp is set for June 22-27 at the Northtown Center & Daemen University in Amherst, N.Y. A group of those players will be selected to remain in Amherst for a camp (June 27-29) that will determine the final U.S. roster for the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, a U-18 international hockey tournament in Edmonton this summer.

“This is a really big opportunity for him and he’s worked hard to get it,” said Kason’s father, Scott Muscutt, the general manager for the Shreveport Mudbugs. “Everybody hopes to have this for their kid. He’s getting to skate with the best in the nation.”

Kason Muscutt thought he did enough to make the national camp last year, but the Bossier City forward was gutted when the final roster didn’t include his name.

“It hurt quite a bit last year, I really expected to make it,” he said.

Instead of sulking, Muscutt got better. He believes his work with Matt Merry and D1 Training in Shreveport made a big difference entering this year’s tryout.

“I came into this year way more prepared,” the 5-foot-10, 160-pound Muscutt said. “My body is in the best shape it’s ever been. I believe my speed, strength and power set me apart. I had more eye candy this year.”

Muscutt has had many opportunities to practice with the Mudbugs over the years. Things were different on the ice this season.

“Last year I could keep up, but all I could do is keep up,” he said. “Now I feel like I fit in. I had a little swagger and felt comfortable in my skates.”

The USHL – a Tier-I junior league – is the top goal for the 2022-23 season. However, the NAHL – a Tier-II league – could be an option. 

Would Kason Muscutt consider playing in Shreveport?

“One hundred percent – a million percent,” he said. “I feel like stepping in front of the crowd I’ve been watching from for a very long time, and to give a bunch of kids high-fives, that would be the coolest thing in the world.”

Scott Muscutt was the first player signed by the franchise for its inaugural season. After playing three years, Muscutt became the team’s head coach and won a 2011 President’s Cup championship. He has been Shreveport’s general manager since the Mudbugs were reborn as a junior hockey franchise in 2016.

However, don’t expect dad to try and twist his son’s arm.

“This summer is full of growth, maturation and commitment. He needs to keep putting on weight, keep getting stronger and faster. Could he play here? Absolutely. He could also play in the USHL,” Scott Muscutt said. “Kason has been making his own decisions about hockey since he was 11 years old. He’s decided where he was going to go and who he was going to play for.”

Submitted photo

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