Brendon Michaelian played for Victoria Honda before joining the Amarillo Bulls of the NAHL. The 3.5-star prospect recently committed to Robert Morris and will join the Colonials next season. The defender was ranked our No. 103 1997.
Neutral Zone caught up with Michaelian to talk about his youth hockey experience, his time in the NAHL and how he chose Robert Morris.
Neutral Zone: How and when did you start playing hockey?
Brendon Michaelian: I started playing hockey when I was four. I actually started while I was playing indoor soccer and the facility had a roller hockey rink, so when I saw that for the first time I told my parents that’s what I wanted to do, and the rest is history.
NZ: What’s your earliest memory of hockey?
BM: My earliest memory of hockey is playing outside on the pond behind my house and playing in the driveway with my brother.
NZ: What was your youth hockey experience like?
BM: My youth experience playing hockey was second to none. Waking up for early morning practices and games, going on road trips, spending hours at a time at the rink, winning championships, playing with friends, and most importantly just enjoying everything the game had to give.
NZ: How did you end up at the NAHL?
BM: While I was playing for Victory Honda my midget major year, Amarillo approached me after a showcase. After I thought about my other opportunities and weighing them out, I felt like that would be the best place for me to play.
NZ: How has playing there helped your development?
BM: Playing here has done everything for me as a player both on and off the ice. Practicing every day helps a lot, while playing games on the weekends against other really good teams stacked with a lot of good players really helps you because you want to be able to have an impact at the level they’re playing at. Also having access to a gym and all the extra ice time after practice really helps you focus on what you need to work on and get better at. All the tools and resources are there for you to use. Plus you do a lot of community service, which is great and really opens up your perspective and helps you grow as a person.
NZ: When did you decide you wanted to go the college route?
BM: I decided I wanted to go the college route at a pretty young age. I have always wanted to go to school and play hockey to get a chance to represent your school in a different way than most students get to. Plus with the rising amount of college players getting a chance to play professionally after school makes the decision that much better. Also it is always smart to be able to fall back on an education from a great school.
NZ: Tell us more about your NCAA recruiting process – who else did you talk to, what other schools did you visit?
BM: I did not get to visit any other schools. But I talked to several others including other schools in Atlantic Hockey and the Big Ten, ECAC, NCHC and the WCHA.
NZ: How did you decide on Robert Morris?
BM: I decided on Robert Morris because of the great opportunity the coaching staff gave me. It was hard to turn down the offer I was given. Plus Robert Morris is a great school with a great hockey program that in my mind is always one of the stronger teams to come out of Atlantic Hockey, and I believe that their track record in their conference shows that.
NZ: What’s your best on-ice skill?
BM: I believe my best on-ice skill is my poise and patience I have with the puck. Whether that is making the right outlet or breakout passes, waiting for a lane to open up to shoot, or skating with the puck if I have the room to skate. I feel like I can make a positive impact on the game with the puck on my stick.
NZ: What area of your game has improved the most?
BM: I believe the area that has improved the most in my game is my skating and ability to make decisions with little time to make them. Skating has never been a big part of my game, so I made it a goal of mine to really improve it throughout the summer and I feel like I have done that. And as a defenseman, I believe you can always get better by making quicker and smarter decisions with the puck, and I feel like I have done that as well.
NZ: What area of your game are you trying to improve?
BM: There are many areas of my game that I’m trying to improve, and as a player I believe you can always improve on making everything better. Whether that’s the mental side of it or physical. But on the ice I feel I need to improve on my puck skills. There are so many more puck skills in the game today, and players are so creative and hard to read coming down on the rush, so I feel that I could improve in that area when I am carrying the puck up the ice. Players are so good at puck protecting and making little plays under sticks, over sticks, and through skates. I feel like that could help my game a lot.
NZ: What’s the toughest challenge you faced in hockey?
BM: Injuries for sure. I have two herniated discs in my lower back, so learning how to deal with that injury during the season and playing through that has been a challenge in itself, but I’ve learned how to deal with it and manage it so it doesn’t get worse. I’ve also had a couple concussions throughout my career but luckily no teeth have been lost yet!
Photo Credit: Hickling Images