Even before he knew anything about college hockey, Kason Muscutt heard stories about what it’s like to play inside the University of Maine’s Harold Alfond Sports Arena.
“Maine has been my dream school ever since my dad told me about the environment in that building,” said Muscutt, whose father, Scott, made trips to Orono, Maine, as a member of the University of New Brunswick hockey team from 1992-97. “He felt like the (opposing) players were watching the fans instead of the fans watching you. And then they would erupt when Maine would come out.”
Kason is looking forward to a little different perspective and likely created another piece of local history this weekend. The 17-year-old Shreveport native committed to play for the Maine Black Bears, a two-time national champion.
It’s not every day Louisiana born-and-breds commit to play college hockey. In fact, Scott Muscutt, who (since 1997) has served as a player, coach and now general manager of the Shreveport Mudbugs, believes his son could be the first.
In June, Kason Muscutt participated in the 2022 USA Hockey Boys Select 17 Camp, where the best 60 players in the country showcased their talents to the top junior hockey organizations and college programs.
Muscutt was believed to be the first Louisiana-born player selected for that camp – he was 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 feels nice to be committed to college, there’s no question, but the work is really just now starting,” said Kason, who visited the Maine campus last week. “I still have a lot of work to do.”
That work will continue at The George, where Muscutt will attempt to make the 2022-23 Shreveport Mudbugs roster when training camp begins Aug. 12.
“I don’t really have any expectations,” the 5-foot-10, 160-pound Muscutt said. “I’m going to do what’s given me success – I’m going to work my butt off.”
The Mudbugs have won two national championships in the North American Hockey League, which features 16-to-21-year-olds. Unlike many athletes, who enter college immediately following high school, hockey players often play in junior leagues past the age of 20 before they enter college.
Former Mudbugs captain David Breazeale, 22, is set to enter his sophomore season at Maine. When will Muscutt don a Black Bears sweater? That’s anyone’s guess.
“It’s not necessarily going to happen when I want it to happen, it’s a matter of when I’m ready,” Muscutt said. “(Maine) is not committing me now because they think I’m ready to play Division I hockey right now. They see the potential and I’m going to work harder than ever to get there.”
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