Jan. 24, 2008
Junior forward Brock Bradford recorded five points - three goals and two assists - in four games since his return to the lineup before suffering a broken left humerus during the second period of BC's 2-2 home tie with Boston University on Saturday, January 19, 2008. The Burnaby, B.C., resident has registered 68 points in 89 career contests. The Eagles (11-5-6, 7-3-5 HE) return to action on Friday, Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Maine.
First off, talk about getting back on the ice against Vermont. What were you feeling, what was the level of excitement?
I was definitely excited to finally step on the ice for a game. After being out for so long, you really have a new appreciation for playing. It was nice to be back in the locker room with the team before games and in preparing for the games. It was just a lot of fun for the couple of games that I was back.
How did your experience watching games from above serve you well when you returned to the ice?
I think just being able to watch other teams helped. A lot of teams are pretty similar with their defensive systems these days so being able to try to find the soft spots on the ice to be able to score and create chances [was useful]. Watching my teammates, watching guys on the power play, that helped me see tendencies, so I could go out there and try not to cause any disturbances when the power play was doing well and the team was doing well. You want to be able to come in and affect the team in a positive way. You don't want to slow anyone down out there after being out for so long. I was happy with how I was able to step in right away.
It certainly didn't take you much time to get right back in the flow of things. Were you surprised by your ability to produce points right away and keep up with the first line?
I wasn't surprised. I felt that if was going to play, I was going to be at 100 percent. I was pleased with how I was able to come back. Physically and mentally, I was in a good state. I wasn't going to come back if I wasn't going to be able to positively impact the team. I was happy with things.
How did you feel physically when you returned to action - your left arm, your legs/conditioning, overall strength?
I felt good. I think I had an advantage over the guys because I hadn't played a game all year and they were kind of in the second-half stretch. I was the fresh legs out there. I had about a month and a half to get ready for my first game, training hard. I was happy with how the training staff was able to get me ready for the first game back. I actually didn't practice with the team until we went to Lake Placid, 10 days before I finally played a game. So I didn't really have a lot of time to play with the team, but it was more just getting the skills back, the little things - shooting, skating, just getting repetition down before I stepped on the ice for a game. Then, making sure I was able to handle things physically, like taking hits in practice before I took them in a game situation.
Can you describe the play in the BU game when this second injury occurred?
I know a few guys have watched it, but I haven't really been in the mood to watch it yet. To be honest, I remember talking to somebody and they were asking me what happened and I just remember going in the corner, getting a couple of bumps and then I just remember looking down at my arm and feeling something wasn't right. I wasn't going to chance it and I just skated off. I went to the locker room to take a look and I wasn't sure of the severity at the time so we went for x-rays with the doctor. Sure enough, when I saw the x-rays I didn't need to be a doctor to tell right away what had happened. It was pretty disappointing at that time to see. The pain wasn't as bad as it was with the first injury. It didn't really bother me at all when it happened, which was fortunate. I think it was just more emotionally draining. It was disappointing after you go through all that work to come back and then you have another obstacle in your way, another bump in the road. It'll be good for me to see what I'm made of and see how I can respond from this one now.
Where on your left arm is this injury - as opposed to your previous injury?
It's just above the previous one. The previous one was fully healed. It's right where the last screw on the plate ends. We're looking into what might have caused it. I have a few different doctors helping me and looking into it.
Have you been told if this injury was likely made more possible/probable because of your previous injury?
I'm really not too positive right now. Time will tell and obviously there's a lot of coincidence with it, so we'll have to see what happens.
Do you have any regrets about coming back when you did?
No, I don't regret playing at all. I enjoyed my few games while I was healthy and able to play. It's frustrating to have to go through this again, but it'll be a learning experience for me and something to grow from as a person and a player. It's tough, but as coach says, it's not always balloons and parties out there.
What's ahead for you now in terms of rehabilitating your left arm? How will this go-round differ from what you did the first time?
I don't have to undergo surgery, which is a good thing. I'll just have a cast. As far as rehab, I'll be able to move the bottom of my arm, so it won't stiffen up as much. But it'll be weeks before I'm able to do anything physically. There's no point in rushing anything now. I don't need to get back for anything, so I just want my arm to heal fully and then I'll worry about everything else after.
What's your mindset now? How have you balanced all the possible emotions - disappointment, discouragement, determination, etc.?
The first night was pretty tough. I was pretty devastated with what had happened. It took a toll on me emotionally. It's part of the game. I have to accept that there's a risk of injury. You see guys get injured all the time and it just happened to me twice this year. Now I just have to be ready for the start of next season and that's my mindset right now. I don't play a game until October, so I'll have a lot of time to prepare and get ready physically to be able to contribute next season.
Talk about the support you've received from your teammates. Is there any advice/comment that someone's given you that's really stood out in your mind?
The team has been great. They've done a great job of embracing me even though I haven't been able to really be a part of the team most of the year. I don't really think that a lot of them know what to say. It's hard to say a certain thing in this situation. They are there if I need to talk. Mike Brennan has been great as a captain. I can't say enough good things about the way he's handled everything. I'm pretty lucky to have these guys around.
What can BC fans look forward to when #19 steps back onto the ice next October?
Hopefully, they'll see a pretty good team. I think we'll have a good team next year. We lose some good players, but we'll have a really good team. Obviously, we'll have to wait and see how this year ends, but I think we'll have another chance at making a tournament run next year. I'm just hoping that I'll be back on track where I can play every game and make an impact each night. There's a limited timeline for hockey as you get older, so you really want to take advantage of the time that you have playing and make the most of it. I'm definitely not going to take for granted any chance I have to step on the ice and play a game and just even practicing these days. I just want to make sure that I'm healthy. I'm lucky that it's not a career-threatening injury so that I'll be able to come back strong and hopefully pursuer a career in hockey after next season.
Interview conducted by sophomore Geoffrey Kehlmann