Mavericks add rookie goalie Taran Kozun to roster

By Bill Althaus
The Kansas City Mavericks have signed rookie goaltender Taran Kozun, who starred at the University of Saskatchewan and is the brother of former Mavericks player Tad Kozun.

The name Taran Kozun might not get the Orange Army excited in the offseason, but Kansas City Mavericks coach and director of hockey operations Tad O’Had says the rookie goalie could be a game-changer this season.

“We love the kid,” O’Had said after the ECHL team announced Wednesday that it had signed the University of Saskatchewan star to a contract for the upcoming season. “Taran has been the best goalie in Canadian university hockey for the past two years, and all I had to do was talk to him one time to realize what a great young man he is.

“He obviously has the skills, but he also has the desire and the drive to make us a better team this year. Our fans are going to love him!”

Kozun, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound goaltender from Nipawin, Saskatchewan, is the brother of former Mavericks player Tad Kozun (who played 52 games with the Mavericks 2019-20 and is now with the Orlando Solar Bears).

Taran Kozun

“I talked with my brother and he had a lot of great things to say about the Mavericks and Kansas City,” Kozun said. “He said it’s a great city to live in, there are other professional sports teams to watch and the arena is amazing – with practice and game ice in the same building. And that is really important to me as I am going to work hard to get accustomed to a professional schedule that will have more games during the week than the two games a week we played in college.”

Last season at the University of Saskatchewan he posted a .931 save percentage, 1.87 goals against average and five shutouts for the Huskies to go along with a 17-3-2 record.

Kozun won back-to-back USport Goalie of the Year honors, earned All-Canadian First Team honors and was named MVP and Player of The Year for the 2019-20 season.

“He has continued to showcase he’s the best goalie in Canadian university hockey,” O’Had said. “He has excellent athleticism, great puck handling skills and has the ability to shut the opposition down.”

Because the American Hockey League and National Hockey League have not announced starting dates for this season, O’Tad said this signing was of the utmost importance to the Mavericks.

“We start Dec. 11 and we have two great young goalies in Taran and Justin (Kapelmaster, who signed last month). We are in constant contact with (AHL affiliate) Stockton and (NHL affiliate) Calgary, but right now, we have to do what is best for the Mavericks.

“Our goal this offseason is to put the best possible team we can on the ice and we have made our team stronger with the signing of Taran and Justin.”

Kozun played three seasons with the University of Saskatchewan, posting a .928 save percentage and 1.85 goals against average in 50 appearances with a 41-6-3 win-loss record. 

“I had a lot of success in college and I hope to have a successful first pro season,” Kozun said. “As soon as I arrive in Kansas City I want to get into a routine that will keep my body ready, both physically and mentally, for the season.”