When you crunch the numbers, a high school hockey player’s chances of making it to the college level are slim to none. Of the 1.7% of players that make it, only 58% of those players are from the United States and a majority of those players come from the states of Minnesota and Massacheusettes.
Looking at senior forward Brooke Bryant’s player profile, it is easy to look straight at where she’s from, and notice its the warm state of California. Traditionally, ice hockey is not that popular out on the west coast, let alone California, specifically.
So how did Bryant get into hockey? Well, she is kind of a pioneer for it in her family.
“No one in my family has ever played hockey,” said Bryant. “I started to use my mom’s roller skates, and I would just skate in the driveway all over. Then, my dad brought home a cheap hockey stick where the blade was straight down the middle, and I would just shoot and mess around.”
From there it was only a matter of time before Bryant’s parents finally took her to the ice rink. She was hooked. Enough so, that like any player who loves the game, Bryant explained her parents “couldn’t really get me off the ice.”
Bryant was successful in other sports while growing up like volleyball and softball, but nothing ever compared to the love she had for the game of hockey whether it was on the ice or in a pair of roller blades.
In the offseason and while she’s not at the rink, Bryant is heavily active outside. She enjoys playing spike ball with her friends, going to the beach, and experiencing life out on the water.
Although she has all these hobbies, it is hard to get her away from the game she loves. Bryant likes to keep in shape all year round, and one of her favorite ways of doing so is by competing for the Pama Labeda Golden Knights Roller Hockey team.
Bryant explained roller hockey isn’t quite the same as traditional ice hockey as it is highly dependent on good strategy and play setup.
“It’s only four people on the rink at one time, and then it’s a little bit smaller of a rink, ” explained Bryant. “There’s no icing, there’s no off side. The game’s a lot different. It’s more of a strategy. You take it back when you don’t have an odd man rush, stuff like that. It definitely makes you think a lot more than ice does.”
Growing up about 15 minutes away from Stockton, Bryant had a quick trip over to the local roller hockey club and would often find herself there playing with the boys teams. “I lived there basically,” said Bryant with a laugh.
Bryant often entered tournaments once or twice a month and when she got old enough, started to compete for the women’s team in the pro division. Every summer she returns to California to compete with the team, and can never get enough of it.
As she closed out her final year at Minnesota State this past season, Bryant racked up 66 points during her time as a Maverick during 161 career games. Known as the “feisty and competitive” one on the team, Bryant was well-known for her physical and fast pace of play, which proved vital for the Mavericks’ top-five penalty killing unit this past season.
As she is nearing graduation, Bryant is planning on leaving Minnesota State with a degree in sports management. Although her first choice is to continue playing hockey in the Professional Hockey Federation (PHF), it is most important to her to continue being involved in the sports world while not sitting behind a desk all day.
Write to Kole Buelow at Kole.Buelow@mnsu.edu
Header Photo: Senior forward, Brooke Bryant, concludes her hockey career with thirty overall goals, seven alone from this year. Bryant also had an overall total of thirty-six assists. (Lilly Anderson)