Former Raider –Mike Kostka earns a spot with Toronto Maple Leaf, News (Ajax Pickering AAA Hockey Inc.)

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Former Raider –Mike Kostka earns a spot with Toronto Maple Leaf
Submitted By Steve Horner & Norm Rogers on Saturday, January 19, 2013
This is a good motivational story on continuing to work hard. 

 Kostka was cut by Steve Horner in Minor Bantam, but continued to work and made Steve’s Bantam team. Then he went undrafted in the OHL Draft which saw 7 players drafted from that Raider team into the OHL.

He also was never drafted into the NHL. Shows that you can get cut or not get drafted doesn’t mean the end of a hockey career.
As a side note, that Raider team ended up losing to the Corey Perry led Peterborough team which won the All-Ontario that year.
 
Norm Rogers and Steve Horner – current coaches with the Raiders

 per Toronto Star:

Not until Mike Kostka hears Terre de nos aieux during Saturday night’s national anthem at the Bell Centre will he truly believe he’s made the NHL.

The 27-year-old’s long trail, with near-misses and dead ends, brings him to a fairytale ending, scheduled to start for his hometown Leafs in the season opener in Montreal.

The undrafted defenceman has been tantalizingly close before, with the Florida Panthers at the end of their 2011 training camp.

“I was right there,” Kostka recalled Friday as he headed to the airport. “I was walking out of the trainers’ room with all my new (Panthers) gear. We’d already had the team meeting where they’d said this was (the starting roster). Then I ended up the last cut the next day. So I’ll believe this when I’m wearing the jersey and I’m on the ice.”

Kostka’s spot on the Leafs — for now — came Friday morning when it was decided to send junior Morgan Rielly back to the Moose Jaw Warriors. With Jake Gardiner still hurt, the Leafs needed another puck-moving defenceman. Kostka and Gardiner were the attacking unit on the Marlies this season and a potent power-play duo. After Gardiner’s head was scrambled by a hit on Dec. 8, Kostka didn’t miss a beat. His first-pass smarts and hockey IQ were evident and he enjoyed a point a game pace among the AHL’s top-scoring defencemen.

That edge helped him in Leafs camp.

“It has been a good couple of years to build my confidence. There was a good one in Rochester a couple of years ago to get a ton of ice time and power play. Then last year was a great camp in Florida and then another opportunity in Norfolk (winning the Calder Cup). There have been a lot of stepping stones to this point.”

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