The games are done for the season. Gyms are closed. There is one ice rink available for Bobby Brink to use, one day a week.
The task at hand for Brink, much like many other rising athletes in these trying times, is to find creative ways to continue the considerable momentum he had going in his promising hockey career.
Brink’s 2019-20 season included National Collegiate Hockey Conference All-Rookie Team honors with the University of Denver and a midseason break to play as one of the youngest members of the U.S. National Junior Team at the World Junior Championship.
“The year went really well,” Brink said. “I got into a good situation where I had good coaching at Denver and a lot of good teammates to help me along.”
Brink, an 18-year-old from Minnetonka, Minnesota, appeared in 28 of Denver’s 36 games and led conference freshmen in power play points with six goals and seven assists while on the man advantage. He finished with 24 points overall to earn unanimous selection to the All-Rookie Team.
Ranked No. 6 nationally with a 21-9-6 record, Denver was ready to begin the postseason by hosting an NCHC playoff game when college sports championship pursuits were brought to an end due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Brink was on a six-game scoring streak heading into the playoffs.
Photo courtesy of Shannon Valerio/Denver Athletics.
Brink is now seeking ways to remain strong while waiting for his next chance to compete in college and, quite possibly, back on the international stage.
“There’s one rink still open in my area that I’ve been skating at once a week,” said Brink said, who is 5-foot-8 and 164 pounds. “There’s not a gym, so I’m doing what I can in the garage.
“A couple of my goals are to get better off the ice, which is to get a little bigger and stronger, to improve a couple mobility factors. Once I get on the ice, when this whole situation is figured out, I’d like to work on my skating and work on my techniques after that.”
The strong college debut was just the latest success story for Brink.
Brink scored a goal in the Minnesota State High School League boys’ hockey state tournament championship game while helping Minnetonka High School win its first state title in March of 2018. He spent some time with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program after his high school season and, by the end of the calendar year, he dazzled in his international debut in the World Junior A Challenge with a tournament MVP performance in leading a gold-medal effort.
While playing for the Sioux City Musketeers, before and after his first international experience, Brink continued his strong 2018-19 season, earning United States Hockey League Forward of the Year honors with 35 goals and 33 assists in 43 games. That was followed up by the Philadelphia Flyers selecting Brink in the second round of the 2019 NHL Draft.
As he remotely works his way through classes in Denver’s business school, following up Zoom lectures with study sessions that “are more like teaching yourself,” Brink is trying to make sure the idle time does not cost him when he gets a chance to return to competition.
“I think right now, you just kind of prepare the best you can and however you can for next season,” Brink said. “You’re trying to be the best you can be to try to compete for a national championship.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.