For Victoria native Ethan Brandwood, playing on the Victoria Royals was always a dream. The 17 year old grew up watching the team at the Save on Foods Memorial Centre.
Braandwood’s sights were firmly set on the WHL, but the budding defenceman had to take a different route to the league. Ethan’s family wanted him to stay close to home, and he developed his on-ice skills with local organizations.
“We really didn’t want Ethan going away as fourteen or fifteen year old to a hockey academy so we stuck it out with our local hockey association.”
In 2017 Ethan caught the eye of the Kamloops Blazers, and was a seventh round pick in that year’s WHL draft, but he knew that it was just the beginning of his journey to the league.
“Being drafted was really exciting but I knew there was a lot of learning and development to happen over the next few years so I found a good spot on the South Island Royals.”
Ethan would eventually work his way to become the captain of the South Island Royals. Cracking the line up on any WHL team is tough, especially being a seventh rounder. This year, he’s started 32 games for the Blazers, who are currently the top team in the B.C. Division.
“I think I had a lot to prove, so it only motivated me and helped me to get where I am today.”
Moving away from home has also brought it’s own challenges. Though Ethan didn’t get the opportunity to play on his latest visit to Victoria, the trip gave him the chance to catch up with his family and friends. Though he might be playing on a rival team, he still has a lot of support on the rock, especially from mom.
“We’re big Blazers fans but even bigger Ethan Brandwood fans.”