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SOJHL’s McConnell Conference rookie of the year

He may be one of the youngest players out on the ice, but you certainly wouldn’t know it by looking at him. At 6’2” and 200 pounds, 16-year-old Adam Brubacher of the Ayr Centennials plays a big game, and the Elmira resident and Grade 11 student at Elmira District Secondary School was rewarded for his outstanding freshman season in the Southern Ontario Junior Hockey League by being named the McConnell Conference rookie of the year.
Brubacher is the youngest player on the team, yet led the Centennials defensive core in scoring with five goals and 30 points in 35 games, along with just 10 penalty minutes.

“It feels really good. It’s definitely a great accomplishment,” said Brubacher, while summing up the three main reasons for his success as “good outlet passes, physical play and a strong powerplay.”

MAKING THE JUMP TO JUNIOR Adam Brubacher has been named the McConnell Conference rookie of the year for the SOJHL while suiting up for the Ayr Centennials. The 6’2” defenceman recorded five goals and 25 assists in 35 games this season.

It was with the extra man that Brubacher made his biggest impact on the score sheet, recording two powerplay goals and 16 assists in helping Ayr convert 23 per cent of their powerplay chances – best in the league.
The adjustment from minor hockey to Junior D wasn’t easy for Brubacher, though, and he said the league is a lot faster and the opposition is a lot tougher to play against.

Ayr head coach Scott Eby believes the award is a fitting recognition of how hard the defender has worked this season after making the jump from playing Woolwich Major Midget A last season.

“He’s big and he works hard and he’s just a real nice, quiet kid. It’s worked out really well and he’s been a really good fit,” said Eby. “He carries himself like a veteran player.”

Eby said that he was lucky to get the young blueliner this season, as Ayr wasn’t the defender’s first choice. He initially tried out for the Sugar Kings along with his older brother Andrew, who also plays defence.
The Kings eventually signed Andrew, and wanted the younger Brubacher as well, but his age prevented him from signing as Junior B squads can only have two 16-year-olds on the roster. Despite that, Adam still practices with the Kings every Monday night in Elmira.

The family has a long-standing connection to the Kings as Adam’s father, Eric, was a member of the very first squad back in 1971 before being drafted by the New York Rangers in the 1974 amateur draft.
Ayr is affiliated with the Kings this season and when the Junior B squad couldn’t take him, Ayr gladly gave him a chance.

“Right from the start of the year he was on the powerplay and the penalty kill, and he’s very smart with the puck and sees the game well,” said Eby.

“When we signed him this year we said to him that we wanted him here for a year, then you’re out of here. We want you to go on to bigger and better things, and he’s done that.”
Now, Brubacher and his Ayr teammates are busy concentrating on their opening playoff round against the Wellesley Applejacks, which is tied at one game apiece.

“I think it’ll be a good series, we’re pretty evenly matched,” he said, adding that the team does have a target on its back after winning the McConnell Conference last season.

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