It’s Virginia to Buffalo for Ladner lacrosse standout

Keegan Kozack is in his freshman season at Canisius College after three standout years at Blue Ridge.

By: Mark Booth 

Keegan Kozack is already well-travelled in his promising lacrosse career.

The 18-year-old from Ladner is in his freshman season at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.

He is part of an outstanding 2002-born local age group that saw Rhys Porteous (Manhattan College) and Laurelle Weisbrod (Jacksonville University) also earn field lacrosse scholarships to US schools. What makes Kozack’s journey unique is he took his game down south three years earlier.

The high-scoring attack player graduated from Blue Ridge last June. The private boarding school in St. George, Virginia is noted for its field lacrosse program along with other sports. Kozack came through Sacred Heart then spent two years at Vancouver College before thriving at Blue Ridge, where he captained the senior varsity team in his grade 11 and 12 years.

“Vancouver College was a great place and I had a great time there, but Blue Ridge was a great opportunity that I didn’t feel I could pass up on as I just love lacrosse,” he said. “Just getting to play every day and working out in the gym. There are a lot of great athletes that kind of mentored me and helped me out. It made the transition of going to college a lot easier and it was really cool to meet guys from all over the place.”

It was actually at a BC Best summer camp back at home where Kozack got the attention of Canisius head coach Mark Miyashita who happens to be from Richmond. He was invited to attend a prospects camp and made the trek to Buffalo from Blue Ridge with a classmate and committed to the program soon after.

Kozack attended Canisius in the fall semester where there was limited off-season activity due to COVID-19 restrictions. He returned home for the holidays and leaves again for Buffalo today (Jan. 25) where the plan is the team will at least play its Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference schedule.

“Hopefully we will have a close to a normal season as possible,” he reflected. “I’m just trying to be a player and not worrying when I am playing next. We did quite a bit in the fall workouts. I love the freshman group and the upper class was great to us. It was a really cool experience.”

Like almost every Canadian kid, Kozack grew up playing the box version of the sport and still does as a member of the Delta Islanders organization. He helped Delta win the inaugural Junior B tier one title in 2019, compiling 45 points in 11 regular season games. He is poised to step up to junior “A” this summer should the pandemic not get in the way of a 2021 season.

Kozack also showcased his athleticism on the football field, playing two years at Blue Ridge where, as a receiver, the 6-foot and 200-pounder earned all-conference honourable mention recognition. He earlier thrived in ice hockey too which is hardly a surprise given his dad enjoyed a career in the Western Hockey League. Still, lacrosse has always been his first love.

“I played A1 (rep) with South Delta but it was lacrosse all the way for me,” he added. “I played it my whole life and I just loved going out to the box and watching games at the Ladner Leisure Centre growing up. I thought it was a no brainer at the time but I did love hockey and going to Blue Ridge gave me the opportunity to try football too.”

Kozack is one of four BC born players on the Canisius roster. He is joined by Kyle Brunsch (Langley), Kyle Nichols (Coquitlam) and Jacob Pahnke (Maple Ridge).