It’s game 7 and the ANAVET Cup is on the line. An 18-year-old goaltender is between the pipes. Can he handle the pressure? The 4-0 shutout victory answers the question.
One of the top goalies in Terrier history, Jason Kasdorf came to Portage in the 2009-10 season. In a position that is generally dominated by older players, the 17-year-old rookie posted a league best 2.55 GAA and an impressive .911 sv% in 34 games. He then followed it up with an even better season on route to a Turnbull Cup, ANAVET Cup against the La Ronge Ice Wolves (SJHL) and berth in the RBC Cup in Camrose, Alberta.
Kasdorf says that season was one of the highlights of his career. “There are a few key things that stand out. Winning the ANAVET Cup in Portage in game 7 and the first year in the new rink. That was really special. Portage was one of my favourite places to play. I also really enjoyed college hockey for the atmosphere.”
Following his second season, Kasdorf achieved what few Terrier players have ever done; he was drafted directly into the NHL. Winnipeg selected him 157th overall (6th Rd) in the first draft by the Jets since their return to Winnipeg.
“It was super special. We were in Minneapolis at the draft and I heard my name get called. At first I didn’t know what team it was. I was super excited about it being my home city of Winnipeg.”
After being drafted, Kasdorf went to the USHL and played a season for the Des Moines Buccaneers before going to RPI (NCAA DIV I) for four years.
He says he learned a lot from his time in Portage. “I think a lot of it was confidence, believing that I can do what I set my mind to, and the hard work that it takes to be the best. When I first got to Portage I saw how hard everybody works. The coaches were awesome, and also Geno was an unbelievable trainer and it’s too bad that he’s gone.”
During his collegiate career, the Jets traded his playing rights to the Buffalo Sabres in the trade involving Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian, Tyler Myers and Brendan Lemieux. Kasdorf was able to start a game for the Sabres at the end of the 2015-16 season.
“At the end of the day I was able to fulfil my dream of playing in the NHL. That was extremely special for me. I feel grateful for the opportunity to play professional hockey. My whole career from Junior to College to pro was special”
Over the next two seasons Kasdorf played primarily in the East Coast Hockey League with a handful of games in the American Hockey League. He has since transitioned away from hockey full time.
“About 2 years ago I retired. The last place I played was in Germany. I have 3 little kids now and it was tough trying to move around the world and play hockey. I have moved into a career in Winnipeg doing renovations and tile work.”
He has stayed involved in the game to a certain extent. “I was skating with the Jets on gameday before the COVID shutdowns, but since then I haven’t really done anything hockey related due to COVID.”
For a complete look at Kasdorfs playing career CLICK HERE.