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On the Radar: Two-week Stint with Flames a Positive Experience for Brodie

Originally published in the 3rd 2010-11 edition of BLAZE.

Six months ago, T.J. Brodie was under the radar, known mostly to ardent Ontario Hockey League fans
and hardcore prospect pundits. Many were caught by surprise when the rookie made Calgary’s roster
out of training camp. After two weeks in the National Hockey League, Brodie traded in his Flames
silks in for an Abbotsford Heat jersey. The transition had a few hiccups.

“The first week that I was in Abbotsford I didn’t have any clothes because I had packed for the road
trip that Calgary was on,” jokes Brodie. “It took a week before we had a break in the schedule so that I
could fly back to Calgary and get my truck and all my clothes from my hotel room.”

Brodie arrived at an opportune time for the Heat; already missing defensemen John Negrin and Staffan
Kronwall and soon to lose Matt Pelech, the AHL’s youngest team got even younger. But the Heat
continued to rack up the points, perhaps aided by the experience Brodie had gained with his teammates in junior and Flames prospect camps, going 9-4-0-1 in his first 14 games with Brodie on the roster.

“It’s good to have guys that you know and feel comfortable around, especially when you don’t know
too many guys,” notes Brodie, who knew Bryan Cameron and Greg Nemisz from junior. “Being here
for the last couple years, I’ve trained with them and gotten to know most of the guys, so coming in I
realized I knew all the guys and had a good time.”

Brodie’s scoring touch earned him a roster spot, but Calgary’s crowded blue line and a -3 rating earned him the trip to Abbotsford. He also received instructions to add to his physical strength while tweaking some elements of his game.

“They told me to work on my defensive play, especially away from the puck,” says Brodie. “The game
is changing; it’s a lot faster and more skilled now. You still need to be good defensively and, obviously,
my size will help with that.”

The renewed commitment to defensive play has already paid dividends. Brodie racked up a +7 rating through 14 games, while also contributing a goal and eight assists. More important to Brodie were the positive results in the AHL standings, with Abbotsford sitting near the top.

“The team, obviously, we want to win. All the guys here have something to prove and something to
work towards, and the more we win, the better it is for everyone on the team and the organization,”
says Brodie.

Brodie remains upbeat about his hockey future and committed to returning to the big leagues. Until then, he’ll continue to savour his two weeks playing in the NHL.

“I didn’t really expect it going into camp, but the experience was great. It was sort of a dream come true
for a little bit there,” reflects Brodie. “There’s a lot of kids who dream to be there one day and just to
be there… There’s a time where it hits you that you’re actually there and you’ve actually accomplished
a little bit of your goal (obviously the next step is sticking there), but it’s a good time knowing that
you’ve got something that you set out to do and that you’re close to it.”

Posted in Hockey.

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