“Work hard and your dreams will come true ” was the motto that Sabrina Broadhead told her son Gavin to follow.
He never lost sight of that objective – getting drafted in the Western Hockey League 2010 Bantam Draft by the Medicine Hat Tigers.
The 15-year-old Broadhead was the first forward picked by Medicine Hat in the fourth round, 80th overall. Coincidentally, Medicine Hat was the same team that drafted Curt Broadhead, Gavin’s father, in 1974, placing him on their player protected list.
The scouting report that the Tigers had on Broadhead was that he was a good skating two-way forward who can put the puck in the net, having tallied 75 points this season.
“We watched him this winter in Kelowna and his number one asset is he has good skill and what sold us on him is he has good character and him wanting to be a good player,” said the Tigers’ head scout, Brad McEwen.
However, Broadhead had to make some sacrifices to pursue his hockey aspirations, moving away from Hay River to play hockey in Kelowna with the Pursuit of Excellence Bantam AAA Team One.
The move was necessary so that Broadhead could face a level of hockey that wasn’t available in Hay River. Therefore, he didn’t see much competitive hockey action having never played in the local hockey league in Hay River during the winter or summer months; only participating with a spring hockey team in Edmonton.
According to Sabrina, his mother, Gavin started playing with this spring hockey team in Edmonton when he was 10 years old and continued until he was 14 years old. Broadhead traveled every weekend and played in lots of hockey tournaments against difficult hockey teams from across Canada and the United States, which helped him in his hockey development.
Broadhead is now in Kelowna playing Bantam AAA hockey. He spends two hours on the ice and two hours off the ice Monday to Friday. His off-ice training focusses on conditioning and skill development which is learning what it takes to become a hockey player.
Evan Marble, Broadhead’s coach on the Kelowna bantam team, said that his main strength on the ice is his skating ability. Marble also pointed to Broadhead’s ability to play hockey, his hockey potential and his passion for the game as his other hockey assets. In addition, Marble added that Broadhead was able to adjust to be game-ready to play at the Bantam AAA level, which Marble considers to be the best hockey for that age level in North America. Marble said this was due to the learning curve, which was immense in the first couple months due to the fact that Broadhead didn’t play many games at that level.
Broadhead did very well this season with Kelowna, notching 40 goals and 35 assists in 46 games – an average of 1.7 points per game, which peeked the interest of Medicine Hat.
The Hay River native heard he was drafted via the computer.
“There were a couple kids on the team that brought laptops to the rink and hooked up to the Internet, so we were all watching the draft at the rink as it unfolded,” Broadhead said.
“I was just getting off the ice at the morning practice.”
The 15-year-old hockey player is happy that he was drafted and feels really good since he has worked really hard all year.
“Medicine Hat is (a) really nice (city) since it’s one of the closer WHL team’s to Hay River, so my parents can come see me play,” said Broadhead.
He stated that the hockey level is a huge step up to be playing Junior hockey but realizes that he isn’t on the team yet and he still has to prove himself. “I have to keep working on my skills and getting bigger, stronger, and faster, but I’ve got a long way to go to be a WHL player,” said the 5 ft 9 inch, 155-pound Broadhead.
Broadhead, 15, isn’t eligible to play for Medicine Hat until he is 16 years of age. He will need to find a league to develop and grow next season, whether it’s Midget, Junior B, or the Alberta Junior Hockey League, in order to help him make that next leap up.
Curt Broadhead knows what it takes to play at the Junior level, having played for Medicine Hat for three seasons. He also gave his son advice on what to do.
“His dream in life is to become a hockey player and I’ve talked to him about the commitment to hockey on-and-off the ice and he has been very focussed on the development of his hockey skills since he was young,” said Broadhead.
“He realizes that his speed on the ice won’t be the be the main factor that will get him to be a regular in the Medicine Hat line-up.”
However, McEwen doesn’t see Broadhead’s size as an issue, saying he feels that there is a lot of time to get physically stronger since Broadhead is only a teenager. McEwen stated that it’s Broadhead’s willingness to compete and his commitment to the game of hockey which will help him with his hockey development and also make him grow as a person. McEwen used Tyler Ennis as an example of a small forward that went through the Medicine Hat Tigers’ program and is now in the NHL.
Broadhead isn’t looking that far ahead, he just wants to have the chance to wear that Medicine Hat Tigers uniform.
At the moment he is moving in the right direction.