Braedan Boschman had a change of heart about what sport he wanted to play after his first year with the Olds Broncos men’s volleyball team in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, and the decision is already leading to bigger things.
The 19-year-old Brandonite left the Broncos to get back into hockey this season. It’s a sport he missed while playing volleyball, and after seeing hockey played at the ACAC level, he dreamed of being one of those players on the ice. However, he was told he needed junior hockey experience to be considered, so he came back to Manitoba and made the Lundar Falcons of the Keystone Junior Hockey League this season.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound left-winger scored a team-high 21 goals, tied for 10th in the Junior B league, and was named to the South Division’s all-star team. Although he doesn’t know if playing with Lundar will help his reach his goal, Boschman remains hopeful.
"If you asked me last year, I didn’t think I’d be in this position," said Boschman, who finished the season with 27 points and 170 penalty minutes in 25 games. "I’m thankful for my billet and coach and the teammates I have. Just really thankful and want to make the most of it by playing ACAC or even higher."
While he’s not sure if his play has caught the attention of ACAC coaches yet, it has impressed people here as Boschman was recently named the Manitoba Aboriginal Sports and Recreation Council’s male athlete of the year for 2013. It’s an honour Boschman didn’t expect.
"To me, it’s not about public recognition because I know there’s a lot of good athletes in Manitoba, especially aboriginal athletes, from travelling for hockey and volleyball," said Boschman, a nephew of former Brandon Wheat Kings star and NHLer Laurie Boschman. "I’m just really thankful for it and trying to be humble and using it to improve and just have a little bit of confidence. I’m just thankful because I know how many good athletes there are in Manitoba and definitely humbled by it."
Boschman, a Vincent Massey High School graduate, takes a lot of pride in his award and his heritage. While he was at Olds, he was studying business and had the dream of starting a website that shows where every aboriginal sports tournament is happening in Manitoba and maybe taking it nationwide in the future. That plan has been put on hold while he’s in Lundar in an attempt to earn a hockey scholarship and get back to an ACAC school.
He hopes the KJHL will serve as a stepping stone, and that’s why he’s focused on the league’s playoffs right now.
The Falcons finished a disappointing 8-24-0-2 this season and trail the Selkirk Fishermen 2-0 in their best-of-five division semifinal. Lundar hasn’t been able to beat Selkirk all season, and Boschman would like to change that when his team faces elimination on Sunday in Selkirk.
"We’re just trying to get through the first round right now," he said. "We’re last place in the league and haven’t beat Selkirk yet. We’re just trying to go game by game here and it’s a big team effort."