‘I Don’t Mind The Haters, They Fire Me Up’: Maple Leafs Prospect Easton Cowan Reflects on OHL Championship Run With London Knights Ahead of Memorial Cup

There’s a lot of hype around Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Easton Cowan these days and rightfully so after picking up OHL regular season and playoff MVP honors this season.

Cowan has taken a massive step in his development after scoring 34 goals and adding 62 assists in 54 regular-season games with the Knights.

This week, Cowan helped guide the Knights to an OHL Championship and he spoke with Mark Masters of TSN in the break before the Knights head to Saginaw for the Memorial Cup.

Cowan talked about some early struggles he had early where he went six games without a goal before finally breaking through. He didn’t let his confidence waver as he worked with Knights assistant coach Rick Steadman on some video before eventually finding his way through by throwing a puck on the net that went off an opposing player’s leg and in.

And Cowan’s confidence was further on display when he scored a shorthanded goal against the Saginaw Spirit and looked out at the crowd with his celebration.

“People thought I was yelling at the fans. I was actually yelling at my family. We were just a couple of rows up. I was like, ‘Let’s go’. I was just looking at my dad and my mom, my grandparents, my sisters. That was cool,” Cowan said. “It happened in Saginaw and then in Oshawa the other night. I just like that celly, I think it’s kind of cool. You just stare down the fans. I think it just gets the boys going. I felt pretty good too after that shot. It’s just pretty funny to look back at.”

Cowan has embraced both the love and hate he receives from fans across the league.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of haters still. There’s still a couple out there. They find a way to hate on you and it’s funny. There’s still a lot of lovers. There’s now more than there were last year, that’s for sure,” Cowan said. “Haters are going to hate. It is what it is. There’s going to be people that love you, too, which is great. Either way, you just got to keep working and staying positive and just be a kid at the end of the day.”

As the spotlight increases on Cowan, the prospect says he thrives in that environment. Something that should suit him well when he eventually makes the jump to Toronto.

“Most people would be like, ‘Oh, do you like that, Easton? Do you like it? What do you think about it?’ I love it personally,” he said. “I love cameras on you. Everyone’s watching. It really shows when the lights are on you how big you are. How mature you are on and off the ice. I feel like it helps get ready for the next jump to the next level.”

Cowan has maintained steady communication with the Maple Leafs staff. In the second part of the interview, the prospect talks about staying in communication with Maple Leafs management and trading texts with fellow Maple Leaf and Knights alumnus Mitch Marner.

But perhaps the best words of encouragement have come from Leafs Director of Player Personnel & Amateur Scoring Wes Clark, who spearheaded the club to select Cowan with their first pick (28th overall) in the 2023 NHL Draft.

“It means a lot that he’s always there for me,” Cowan said of Clark. “I had ups and downs throughout the year, but he still texted me. He sent me motivational stuff and helped me out. That little stuff goes a long way for me.”

The Memorial Cup kicks off on May 24. Cowan and the Knights’ first game is May 25th against the Drummondville Voltigeurs.

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