Brandon Prust: London hockey legend eager to earn spot this fall with NHL’s Los Angeles Kings

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Brandon Prust has had to earn everything he’s gotten.

It will be no different come this season’s National Hockey League training camp in three weeks, when he’ll try to make the Los Angeles Kings roster.

The London native wasn’t drafted to the Ontario Hockey Leauge when he came out of minor hockey. He made the London Knights as a free agent. He wasn’t drafted his first year of eligibility in the NHL. When he was finally drafted by the Calgary Flames, it was the beginning of an NHL career during which Prust, now 33, had to fight his way into the big time.

In more than 10 years as an NHL player, Prust developed into a tough grinder who gives whoever signs him everything he has. He’s played with Calgary, Phoenix, the New York Rangers, Montreal and Vancouver.

“Before it was earned because I was a little bit of a late bloomer and now it’s earned because I’m a little bit old,” he laughed. “That’s the way the game is these days. It’s all about young and fast.”

Prust was at a press conference Tuesday for the Mackenzie Tour Freedom 55 Championship golf tournament that’s held in London every year. His Brandon Prust Foundation, which helps kids, donated $25,000 to the tournament with the money going to the Thames Valley Children’s Centre.

Prust went to the Toronto Maple Leafs training camp last year.

“I had a great camp there last year and felt I really deserved a spot there,” he said. “But they kept a lot of rookies. I hung around for a few months but nothing really happened, so I had to make the decision to go overseas.”

In the end he went to Germany, where he played 29 games with former Knights teammates Rob Schremp and Danny Syvret.

“It was pretty cool last year playing with Syvret and Schremp,” he said. “It made it more entertaining and a lot of fun. We had a good bunch of guys and Germany is a beautiful country.”

Prust looks in great shape. He says he’s ready to compete.

“I’ve been training really hard this year, working my butt off to get back,” he said. “I know that I have some people on my side over there. I know there are some changes going on. I’m just going there with a positive attitude and with the right mindset. I’m hoping to turn some heads.”

Prust said not knowing where he was going to play last year was difficult, but there were some good things that came of it.

“It was good because I did really well at camp and I know they really liked me,” Prust said. “They asked me to stay around and practise with them and see what happened over the next few weeks. It turned into a few months and that’s when I started to get antsy.

“I started getting offers from over in Europe and it’s good to know you are still wanted. It was a great year, great experience.”

Knowing Prust, he’ll leave it all on the ice at the Kings training camp because having to earn a spot is nothing he hasn’t done numerous times before. 

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