For Brady Rouleau, the sport of hockey is not a sport that you can just decide one day that you want to start playing, it is a sport that requires endless dedication, and Rouleau has brought that mentality to Plattsburgh State.
Rouleau has been skating and playing the game of hockey ever since he can remember. Growing up in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada, hockey was nearly in every breath of fresh air for an average citizen in that area.
“Honestly, living in Canada there is a pretty big push to play hockey,” Rouleau said. “I moved when I was younger, so it was a way to get involved with the community. I loved it, and it gave me something to do after school on the pond and was a pastime for everybody.”
Rouleau played baseball in the summers before he started heavily investing his summers in training for the hockey season. He mentioned how his father is who inspired him and urged him to stick to one sport.
“Thank God for my parents,” Rouleau said. “They brought me a long ways, and I owe them everything for where I am today.”
Prior to coming to Plattsburgh State, Rouleau played junior college hockey in Alberta and British Colombia, where he was recruited by Quinnipiac University, and attended his freshman year of college.
“After my freshman year I got a call from coach Emery offering me a spot on the team,” Rouleau said. “I couldn’t say no, I mean, look at this place. I knew it would further my playing time and my opportunities afterwards, and it has really worked out so far.”
Rouleau describes the mentality of a goalie as being, “leave us alone,” but that does not mean Emery doesn’t treat them any differently than any of the other positions.
“He admits he wasn’t a goalie when he played, so he gives us a bit of a leeway, but he is just as hard on us as the other players,” Rouleau said about coach. “You won’t feel picked on, but you definitely won’t feel left out when it comes to being part of the team.”
Rouleau admitted that the equipment goalies wear is what drew him to the position in the first place, but also the fact that it is a position that holds high responsibility with a lot of risk and high reward – or maybe no reward.
“Growing up, I always thought the equipment goalies wore was pretty cool stuff,” Rouleau said. “When you’re younger, you’re either the hero or the scape goat for the team. You feel individualized when you’re out there doing your own thing, but once you get to these types of leagues, there is a lot you can’t control. A lot of it is in the hands of my teammates, but this year I feel more part of the team than I ever have compared to my younger teams.”
With Rouleau being one of only three seniors on the team this season, it will be important to have the defensive presence and familiarity of fellow senior Patrick Hermans, who have worked well in establishing a strong defense for PSUC.
“He takes a lot of pressure off the defense,” Hermans said. “He’s a great goalie, a great guy and keeps everybody laughing, having someone that keeps smiles on faces, that’s more than you can ask for.”
Solidifying a leadership role is not something most goalies are prone to doing, however, Rouleau’s dedication and presence on the ice, in the gym and outside the rink is something everyone on the team looks up to.
“It’s always refreshing seeing a goalie work hard in the gym and work as hard as he does with the defense and forwards,” Hermans said. “It gives all of us extra motivation to play in front of him because you know he’s working just as hard as you.”
In Rouleau’s final season with the Cards, he looks to help mold the incoming players’ mentality and work ethic that PSUC has instilled in him during his career here.
“Our young team will definitely be turning to us seniors throughout the season,” Rouleau said. “I’m hoping that they can learn a lot from us, and that we can set a good example for them so that this program continues to go in the right direction.”
Email Ezra Kachaturian at firstname.lastname@example.org