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Scottsdale native Bricker returns to NCDC’s Jr. Islanders

 

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Adam Bricker loves being able to brag about his hometown.

He’ll talk up Scottsdale every chance he gets.

“I think it’s a great place,” said Bricker, a 2000 birth year forward. “Everywhere I go – every team I’m on – I say I’m from Scottsdale and people know it’s just a really fun place to visit. They see it as a nice place.

“There’s not a lot of places that can beat Scottsdale for living situations.”

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Even still, as fond of his hometown as he is, he knew that if he wanted to take his game to the collegiate level, he needed to hit the roads and flights paths of North America to challenge himself.

His latest hockey stop is a return for him – he has come back to the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, where he made his National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC) debut in 2017-18.

“I was here two years ago, and I loved it,” said Bricker, who was effective with 28 points in 42 games for the Jr. Islanders that season.

After looking to branch out with different Tier II leagues in both the U.S. and Canada in 2018-19, his good relationship with new P.A.L head coach Mike Marcou convinced him to return to Long Island.

“He is a coach who wants me on his team and believes in me,” said Bricker. “I’m also excited to be a part of turning P.A.L. around. Last year and the year before were tough years, so we’re looking to turn our direction around and make a name for ourselves.”

Bricker’s two years of junior experience make him an immediate veteran presence and a player from whom much offense is expected in Year 3 of the NCDC.

“As I am mentioned as one of the key guys (in the team preview on USPHL.com), I am expected to be a key guy,” added Bricker. “Producing offensively is one thing, but I will do anything I can to help the team succeed.”

He spent the summer on a workout program given to him by a personal trainer that he used to work with regularly in person but was unavailable this summer. Even still, he and another friend (who is now playing in the BCHL) remained together and worked out together for this 2019-20 season.

He is feeling as ready for this season as he was when he first became a regular hockey player roughly 13 years ago.

“My mom asked me to try a hockey camp and I did it,” said Bricker. “It was pretty easy for me to get into it. I played with the Jr. Coyotes until the Pee Wee level, and then I joined the Phoenix Firebirds.”

The Firebirds became the Arizona Bobcats, under their all-around leader Ron Filion. This year, the Bobcats’ 16U program for which Bricker played will see three alumni playing NCAA Division I hockey.

And, yes, there’s also that Auston Matthews fella playing up in Toronto.

“The Bobcats were a really good growing organization,” said Bricker. “Nowadays, the Jr. Coyotes get the top players, but the Bobcats did a very good job with their program. For about five years, they were a solid program and a well-known program.”

The Bobcats certainly yielded another strong talent in Bricker. With his dedication to the Jr. Islanders, if they are to author that hoped-for comeback season, you can bet the young man from Scottsdale will be right at the forefront.

— Joshua Boyd/USPHL.com

(Sept. 30, 2019)