By Darryl G. Smart
After his final year of college hockey vanished in the blink of an eye, Adam Brady is all set to get his professional hockey career going.
The forward from Delhi recently inked his first professional hockey contract with the Stockton Heat.
“It really is a great feeling,” the 25-year-old said. “When he (advisor) called, I didn’t know what it was about. You dream about playing at a professional level. And to be able to share that with my family is really special. I feel really fortunate.”
The Heat is the American Hockey League affiliate of the Calgary Flames.
“I had an idea they were interested through my advisor,” Brady said. “He had some players sign with Calgary and I think that’s when the Stockton deal came about.”
Even though there are still a ton of unknowns thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a sense of relief for Brady.
“It’s a relief knowing where I’ll be and what league you’re playing in. Mentally, it’s awesome to hear someone is interested in you and it’s something to look forward to.”
Brady said the toughest part of the process was being patient. He had interest from several teams in different leagues, including the ECHL and in Sweden.
“I knew there was AHL interest last year and it’s something I wanted to pursue,” Brady said. “I was set on trying to make my way in North America.”
Brady’s signing with the Flames organization comes off the heals of a magnificent final year with the Bemidji State University Beavers. As captain of the team, he had 19 goals and 15 assists, which led his team in goals and points.
The Beavers were also on a roll. They defeated the Lake Superior State Lakers to advance to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association semifinal against the Bowling Green State Falcons. A couple of days before that series was to start, the season came to a screeching halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was very strange. We were about to start practice when the athletic director came and pulled us off the ice,” Brady recalled. “There were guys that didn’t even get on the ice yet when we found out. He just told us everything is going to shut down. It’s something you aren’t ever expecting, especially on the Thursday before a semifinal game.
“At first I was in shock,” he said. “It didn’t set in for a while. You have a million things on your mind because you won your last game and it was all over.”
The Beavers finished the shortened season ranked 11th in the nation, while Brady earned first-team All-WCHA honours. In four years with the Beavers, Brady scored 35 goals and 46 assists in 112 NCAA games.
“It’s cliché, but it really did fly by,” Brady said of his career as a Beaver. “You blink and it’s the home opener of your last year. It was a really amazing time. I was able to meet some great friends and play in some big games. I really am fortunate.”
Out of all the moments at BSU, Brady said the one that stuck out most was playing an outdoor game as part of Hockey Day in Minnesota against the Minnesota Tech Huskies.
“It was just a great experience,” Brady said. “You grow up playing outside. But I never had the chance to play an organized game outdoors. It really was a great game.”
Because of games like that, Brady said during his final season he tried to just soak it all in and live in the moment.
“We had so much to look forward to every week,” Brady said. “When you’re winning it’s even more exciting. I was trying to cherish everything because I know how lucky I am to play hockey.”
And now Brady must be patient again. This time it’s for his first pro hockey season to begin. In the meantime, he’s training at the Athlete Farm under the watchful eye of Luke Vanmoerkerke and his staff.
“I’m ready to go right now,” Brady said. “It was supposed to be a December start. But because we don’t know when things will start up, you have to just be prepared to peak at the right time.”