Canberra’s future bright in the hands of the Junior Brave
The CBR Brave was the Cinderella story of the Australian Ice Hockey League in their debut season in 2014, and the Junior Brave have taken that position this season.
Formed earlier this year through a series of tryouts and invites, the Junior Brave have been in impressive form sine their entry into the New South Wales Midget League, which is an under 18s competition consisting of six teams.
The Junior Brave consists of players aged between 15 and 18, with some of the boys having played ice hockey together for up to ten years.
The self-funded side plays their away games in NSW, hiring a 22-to-24 seater bus which consists of the players, head coach Andrew Brunt, manager Tanya Brunt, assistant coach Nick Sault and equipment manager Darryl Day who also drives the bus.
Due to Canberra’s smaller population in comparison to cities and towns within New South Wales, the team consists of players of all skill levels.
However, despite not having the biggest talent pool to choose from, the Junior Brave have found themselves in second place on the Midget League standings, just one point from the top.
On top that, three of the Junior Brave make up the top ten scorers of the Midget League so far, with captain Jordon Brunt, Corey Banks and Jayden Lewis all making their way into the rankings.
Manager Tanya Brunt says that the boys play well together, have become a family and look to stay humble.
“We’ve become a family rather than a team,” she said.
“We like to promote that no one player is above the team, we promote staying humble”.
15 year-old Jordon Brunt captains the Junior Brave, and takes a similar view when it comes to being a leader for his side.
“As captain I try to lead the team both on and off the ice,” he said.
“I just try and be a great role model and lead by example.
“I try and inspire the other players and be a leader”.
(Jordon) Brunt has been playing ice hockey for ten years, and aspires to one day play in the AIHL and for Australia.
“I want to play for the senior Brave when I’m older,” he said.
“Soon I’m trying out for the under 18’s youth team, and I want to make it in the under 20’s and Australian men’s team”.
(Jordon) Brunt isn’t the only one who wants to make it in the AIHL, manager (Tanya) Brunt says that a few of the boys are destined to be in the senior Brave side.
“When we look at our side, we can definitely see some future Brave players” she said.
Head coach Andrew Brunt played for the Australian under 18 division, however he mentions how the side struggled to skate with the more developed hockey nations.
“I actually played for the under 18 Australia side that Jordan (Brunt) is trying out for, and we weren’t the best developed skater on the world stage” he said.
However, when (Andrew) Brunt looks at Australian ice hockey today, he sees a bright future ahead.
“I see Australian ice hockey growing and becoming more competitive on the world stage,” he said.
“What Australian ice hockey have done from about ten years ago, is that they have implemented a junior training camp ranging between pee-wee up to midget.
“They run a camp in January that goes for a week for each age group and they have a professional skating instructor who comes in and does that.
“Since Ice Hockey Australia has implemented these camps we are starting to skate with all the Northern Hemisphere nations.
“I see the future looking really good”.