With the 2019-20 NAHL Season coming to an abrupt and unexpected end, the Austin Bruins are taking this time to thank the players whose junior careers wrapped up this season. TJ Chillot takes you through each of the 1999-born players who finished the season on the Austin roster and what they brought to the Bruins both on the ice and off. In addition, TJ looks ahead to see what’s on the horizon for these incredibly talented hockey players. #OnceABruinAlwaysABruin
Thank you, Josef Mysak!
Josef Mysak has played every single one of his junior games in an Austin Bruins jersey. He’s been such a mainstay in the black-and-gold, it feels like he’s been here since the team was founded in 2010. Over the course of three seasons, Mysak has played a total of 152 games with the Bruins, good enough for eighth all-time. Had the Bruins season not been cut short due to COVID-19, he was likely to leapfrog his way into fifth in games played all-time with the Bruins, passing guys like Dante Zapata and Jake Arroyo. Either way, Josef was the longest tenured, non-American, Bruin to ever suit up It seems like Josef Mysak has been a Bruin his entire life.
I had the pleasure of seeing Josef for two seasons, 67% of his junior career, and the improvements he made from season-to-season were like no other. In 2019-20, Mysak had the best offensive season in his career netting 14 goals and 22 assists. Just for comparison, coming into this season Mysak only had four total goals in his first two seasons. That’s an increase of well over 300%! His 36 total points in 2019-20 were also more than his total points in both 2017-18 and 2018-19 combined. It wasn’t just the offensive side of his game that improved, either. Defensively, Mysak finished as a +5 thanks to his strong defensive play, the first season in his career that he finished on the positive side.
The Litvinov, Czech Republic, native has one thing that you can’t teach, size. At 6-foot-3, 205-pounds, Mysak is built for the blue line. He used his size to distract opponents and before they knew it, he used his speed to blow by them. I think the single-most improved aspect of his game coming into 2019-20 was his stickhandling. We saw glimpses of it last season, in fact I remember a game in Chippewa where he danced across the blue line and deked out a defenseman on his way to scoring a goal, but his stickhandling really came into focus and consistently great in 2019-20. Look no further than his overtime winner against Bismarck back on January 4th.
There’s that deceptive speed and those good hands to keep control as he crashed in on the net. For all that hard work that Josef put in this season, he was acknowledged as the NAHL Central Division Defenseman of the Year. He finished third on the team in points and first among defenseman. Compared to the rest of the NAHL, Mysak was the fifth highest scoring defenseman and second in goals scored.
As a person, Mysak was one of my favorite players to deal with. He’s a friendly soul, willing to help out in anyway he can. Off the ice, a gentle giant. He was always looking for fun and made sure to enjoy life at every turn. Who could forget the post-game performance from Paint the Rink Pink in 2019-20 where he organized and entire synchronized swimming routine, pulling in other players and even equipment manager Jim Seguin. It will go down as one of the most memorable skits of all-time.
He’s from a hockey country, from a hockey family, and played his junior career in a hockey state. Josef Mysak IS hockey. It will be odd to not see him patrolling the blue line next season, but he’s off to Niagara University (NCAA D1) where he’ll begin the next chapter in his career. We can’t wait to hear the good things that come from Josef Mysak!
To hear more from Josef, take a listen to the following episode of The Austin Bruins Show where Josef and I sat down and talked about growing up in the Czech Republic, his college commitment, and so much more.
152 Games Played, 18G, 41A, 59 pts, 0+/-, 106 PIM