Hockey is on hold just now, but Elmira’s Adam Brubacher will be going pro when it resumes. He’s signed with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders.
It’s a big deal for a guy who grew up loving the sport and is now following in the footsteps of his father, who played professional hockey after being drafted by the New York Rangers in the early ’70s.
Getting on the ice when he was only two years old, Brubacher has fond memories of waking up early on weekends and getting to the rink before it was even open so he could skate and practice without anyone else around. It “was always in the back of his mind” to be able to get into big leagues and play against some of his favourite players, now his years of work have paid off as he got a deal with the Connecticut-based club.
“It definitely feels pretty good. My father played professionally for the Rangers for a little bit, and over in Europe and continued there. It’s one of my goals to continue to play hockey as long as I can, and it’s obviously [been] a lifelong goal. But, it’s nice to see that come to fruition and know that all of my hard work [has] paid off over these past 22 years playing hockey,” said Brubacher. “It’s great to finally have something to show for it.”
The former Sugar King recently graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he played NCAA hockey, a path he has long since wanted to follow. His time playing has taken him to development camps with teams like the Vancouver Canucks and the Islanders, where he was able to see just what it took to play at the NHL level. It took some time, but his hard work paid off as the Islanders gave him the chance to shine and play the game he loves at an even higher level.
His career is moving forward, but it all began at the small arena in Elmira watching the Sugar Kings play when he was younger. Some days he says he wasn’t really interested in the game, but he grew into the dream of playing for his local team. Once he achieved that, he felt the need to keep pushing himself and make playing the game he loves into a career of which he can be proud.
While most big sports leagues are looking to come back at some point in the near future and finish the season they had to put off because of the COVID-19 lockdown, Brubacher knows it’s going to be a long summer for him while he waits to get back on the ice. During his time off, he hopes restrictions get lifted so he can get back on the ice and do group training in the gym. For now, he says he stays active by riding the bike, running and doing body-weight workouts.
Brubacher said he is extremely happy to have a team interested in his skills and giving him the chance to show what he can do. He says it is of course a dream to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs – a team only an hour away from his hometown – and it is something that would be cool for him down the road.
For those who may follow his career and want to tread a similar path, he encourages them to keep at it and enjoy the game.
“Some days are gonna be your better days (and) some days are gonna be tougher. Some days you might feel like you don’t belong there, you aren’t good enough, that kind of thing and I’ve definitely had those thoughts,” said Brubacher. “I think just keep putting in the work, keep doing what others won’t to get to the next level.”