Lanny Blitt will have some competition for the top goaltending position this upcoming season with the Kalkaska Rhinos.
This week, the Rhinos officially signed Brenden Williams, who played prep school hockey last season for the Bridgton Academy in Maine.
“My coach from last year at Bridgton (Mike Warde) told me about the Rhinos program and said it was a hardworking program and that it was the place for me,” said Williams. “I see myself as a lead-by-example guy, so I’m hoping to keep that role here in Kalkaska. It’ll be different being 15 hours away from home, but I’m really looking forward to living out here.
“I am really looking forward to pushing myself and getting to the next level, which is college hockey.”
Williams, originally from Berlin, N.H., stands just 5-foot-9, but said he tries to use his athleticism and speed in net. He also noted that his hometown “has some of the most hockey history in it.”
“The first thing you notice about Brenden is his work ethic,” added Rhinos coach-GM Krzysztof Oliwa. “We’ve been fortunate to have him training with us this week at the OliwaShredZone boot camp and he’s not the biggest kid, but he can stop the puck. He’s very mobile, never gives up on the puck and stays calm making second and third saves. He’s very, very focused.”
Williams noted that last season at Bridgton was a springboard to the USPHL, as was playing high school hockey in his hometown, where he won a state championship in 2016.
“Bridgton really helped improve my game – the coaches were amazing and they helped me get to Kalkaska,” Williams said. “My high school coach, Mike Poulin, really helped me get to the junior level of hockey and never gave up on me.
But has Williams always been a goalie?
“I got started by actually watching an AHL game and after that, I knew I wanted to play hockey and be a goaltender,” explained Williams.
Moving forward, Williams noted that his goals are reasonable and well within reach.
“My short-term goals are to help this team win a championship and over the long term, I just want to develop and become the best player and teammate I can be here in Kalkaska,” said Williams. “I have gotten a lot of support from back home with people helping me get to the next level.”
Source: Kalkaska Rhinos