Brochu’s Pro Debut And Season Were A Lasting Learning Experience
Brett Brochu didn’t play many games in the 2021 season, but he did gain incredible experience that will benefit his development for years to come.
Brochu, who was a star with the OHL’s London Knights this year, spent the season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL.
“This past year was pretty unbelievable considering all the setbacks that could’ve happened if I didn’t get the opportunity to go and play in Wilkes-Barre and learn so much,” said Brochu of his experience in the AHL.
“The coaching staff was unbelievable and taught me so much same with all the players learning the pro lifestyle before even being able to be a pro was a huge opportunity and I made the most of it.”
Brochu knew he wasn’t guaranteed to play in the AHL. His role as an 18-year-old who otherwise wouldn’t be eligible to play in the AHL if it wasn’t for the cancellation of the OHL season, was to come in, practice, provide support, and learn.
“Going in they didn’t make any promises about getting into a game but my mentality going there was to force them to put me into a game just by my attitude and work ethic every single day.”
That mentality paid off for the former Chatham-Kent Cyclones and Dresden Kings star, who continued to work and learn the entire season, until the final week of the year, when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton staff gave Brochu the opportunity to make his professional hockey debut.
“It ended up working out in my favour which was incredible and when I got the news that I was going to start I was super pumped because I knew it was going to be a great opportunity and learning experience for myself. It was a great day and I’m super glad I got the chance to play a game.”
Brochu made 31-saves in a 5-2 loss, but the outcome goes beyond the scoresheet for Brochu.
Due to the year it was, Brochu has had limited opportunities to play, outside his standout performance at Canada’s World Junior tryouts, and his opportunity to practice with the Penguins.
With Brochu’s second chance to be selected in the NHL draft approaching, he knows the year may impact many, but regardless of the outcome of the draft, it won’t change how he approaches next season when he returns to the London Knights.
“This upcoming draft will be interesting to watch since a lot of players haven’t got the chance to prove themselves this past year, but I’m hopeful that a team will take a chance on me, but being a free agent sometimes works out and has an advantage for a lot of players and either outcome I’ll stick with my approach to every single day and that will never change.”