Broekman confident in progress
We see them but do we really see them? They wait patiently at the team benches. Waiting for that moment when the manager says, “You’re on”! This week Craig Tonks had a chat with North Stars goal tender Josh Broekman.
pic: Debra Tonks
In his role as the second goal tender of the side behind Olivier Martin he waits to be injected into the game. In such a fast paced game we sometimes overlook the importance of the back up keeper till he hits the ice.
Speaking with the man who got the win over the Sydney Bears for the Newcastle North Stars in last weekend’s AIHL action, Broekmann opened up.
Craig Tonks: Firstly congratulations on your game against the Bears. How did it feel to get some game time under your belt?
Josh Broekmann: It was a really good feeling to be out there. Of course I was quite nervous about having my first start for the North Stars but I just wanted to use it as a chance to prove myself to everyone and I think, to myself too.
CT: When did you start playing hockey?
JB: I started playing when I was about 9.
CT: How did you become a goal tender?
JB: Starting that young we would take turns each week at goalie and I just enjoyed it. Gicu [Opera], who also plays with us was coaching me at that time, saw that and asked if I would like to continue being a goalie, that and I didn’t do too well as a player, which still seems funny..
CT: What inspired or drew you to a role between the red pipes?
JB: It just sort of happened. I had no real reason to want to do it but once I started, I couldn’t think of doing anything else.
CT: What was your journey through the junior ranks?
JB: I started with the North Stars Peewee team and some local league hockey. I continually tried out for state but didn’t make it into the NSW team at that age so I played for the ACT in their Ginsberg team. I finally made the NSW team in Kurt DeFris (under 15′s) in 2008, my second year of trying and progressed from there. I continually played for Newcastle and NSW in Tange (under 18’s) until in 2010 when I made the Australian Youth Team and in 2011/2012 the Australian Junior team. It’s been continual work but it’s great being at a supportive club like Newcastle and having my parents around has helped me out a lot.
CT: How long have you been the back up keeper for the AIHL North Stars team?
JB: Well my first run with AIHL was in 2008 when Matt Ezzy was injured and I have been a part of the team since then.
CT: How do you prepare mentally for a game?
JB: There are plenty of different things for me personally I think. I like listening to my music and warming up outside before we even hit the ice. I think it just comes down to getting yourself in the zone. I just try to focus on nothing but hockey and try to visualize all the things that could happen on the ice.
CT: How does this change when you’re the starting goalie?
JB: It really doesn’t change. You still prepare the same but when you know you’re starting the game there’s a little more anxiety there.
CT: Often as a back up you can be thrust into the game at any moment. How do you switch on to such a situation?
JB: Being thrust into the game does sort of switch you on, for me anyway. My adrenaline starts pumping straight away but you aren’t fully zoned in until you face that first shot and hopefully make that first save.
CT: The North Stars have a strong junior program. How important is it for you to be involved with development of the junior Goal Tenders?
JB: I think being involved in junior development will make a stronger future for the club. You see some of the kids coming up and the opportunities they get. It just gives you a good feeling when you are able to help them out and become better.
CT: What’s your goal for this season?
JB: Just to continue improving my game. I was excited when I found out Olivier was coming to play for Newcastle. He is someone I respect immensely and I also know that he is someone who can help me become a better goalie as he has so much knowledge.
CT: Is there anyone who has been influential to your career?
JB: I think the person who has helped me the most is Al Shank. He’s a goalie coach who was living in Australia a few years ago. He was able to teach me, not just new skills but also to have more confidence in myself as a goalie. This is the one thing that continually working on but he was able to give me the start I needed.
CT: What advice can you give to young aspiring goal tenders out there?
JB: Probably keep training and never let anyone put you down. You never know where you will end up and no one really does. My dad told me last year how worried he was when I first started as a goalie because well I was no good at it but you can’t let that stop you. I’m sure he never expected me to play for Australia or play in the AIHL but I know he has never been prouder, than when I accomplished those things.
CT: What lies ahead for Josh Broekmann?
JB: Again I just want to keep working on my game with Olivier and improving myself. Hopefully if I keep working hard and when Oli is ready I’ll be able to do what he is doing now. My ultimate goal is to become the starting goalie for the North Stars and pass on what I learn to help someone else .
HSN would like to thank Josh for giving up time and we look forward to watching the exciting young net minder progress in the future.
By Craig Tonks