Brendan Furry almost didn’t play college hockey at Minnesota State. In fact, he almost didn’t play college hockey anywhere.
Furry was going to college right out of high school and he thought his hockey future would be club hockey at Bowling Green, where he was set to enroll. Then one phone call changed his whole path. He played a few summer tournaments for Belle Tire and was offered a spot on their full-season team. From there he played junior hockey and is now a 4.25-star forward committed to the Mavericks for 2020.
NZ: Why don’t we just start from the beginning. How did you get into hockey?
Furry: “My dad put me on skates when I was around three years old. He was just always into hockey, playing outdoors with his buddies and playing in adult leagues. He had me start taking some skating lessons and really getting into it. Kind of from the start, I noticed that I had something special. That went with my brothers, too. We all took up hockey as a family. It just went on from there.”
NZ: What is one of your favorite hockey memories?
Furry: “We won a state championship in my junior year of high school. That’s definitely up there. We played at the Columbus Blue Jackets arena for the Ohio state hockey championship, in front of about 5,000 fans, so that was pretty cool.”‘
NZ: Can you walk us through your NCAA recruiting process? You originally committed to Niagara before Minnesota State, but what was the whole process like for you?
Furry: “I kind of have a unique story with this one. I was enrolled to go to Bowling Green. I was going to go to school there and just take classes and I was going to be done with hockey, or maybe I’d play club hockey. Then I got a phone call from someone I know in the area who recommended that I go play in a summer tournament for a Belle Tire Triple-A team up north. I took advantage of that and went up there and had a good weekend. The coach talked to me and he wanted to invite my back to another weekend. I went to that and then he offered me a spot after that weekend. So, I sat down with my family and the whole goal was to get to junior hockey, so that I would have a chance to commit to a school. So my parents and I sat down and they basically said that if they were going to fork over this kind of money for me to play hockey, because it was expensive, then I would take a year off from school and work as hard as I could to be the best hockey player I could be. So I went with Belle Tire and had a pretty good year and then I was tendered in Amarillo and I was getting some USHL looks but didn’t get drafted.
“So I went down to Amarillo after I got tendered just to get my feet wet and was there for about a week. Then that summer, I got a phone call from my coach who I had in Amarillo and he said that he was going to Niagara as a coach. After that, they had me out for a visit and they ended up offering me a scholarship. At the time, I was young and I just at it too early, not knowing where I was at with hockey. I made a commitment there right before my first year in Omaha. I had a slow start but then picked it up and had a good year. That’s when I started getting more looks for schools. But I signed my NLI with Niagara and that locked me in there.
“Then I had shoulder surgery. Sitting down and talking with my family, I made the decision to go back to junior hockey after the surgery, so I could rehab my shoulder and make sure I’m ready for college hockey. Then we made the decision together that it might be better if I had an open opportunity to see more schools because I believe I didn’t give myself the chance to do that. I’m not taking anything away from Niagara, they’re a great school and I have respect for the coaches there. I just don’t think I gave myself the opportunity to view other schools and find the right fit for me. So we went through the process and I ended up finding a school that I truly loved and I’m super excited to go to Minnesota State. It’s been a long road, but I’m excited and ready for next year.”
NZ: What really drew you to Minnesota State?
Furry: “(Mike) Hastings was a big part of it. He’s a phenomenal coach and a phenomenal guy. I really felt a strong connection with them. I was talking to them a little bit when I was in the process of committing to Niagara, so I knew them a little bit even from before. When I had the second opportunity to look, and they were still in the picture, I knew it was something special. They stuck around even after I went and committed somewhere else. Coach Hastings has coached the World Junior team and he has a ton of experience. The coaching staff was really important to me. They’re the ones that are going to make me a better hockey player.”
NZ: Who has been the biggest influence in your hockey career?
Furry: “Definitely my parents. As I said, my dad put me on skates at age three and my mom, every single day since I started playing, she has had continuous love and support every single day. They’ve spent a lot of time and money for me to play hockey. There has been countless road trips. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Even now, after every game, they’re calling and texting me. They’re always there for me. My goal in hockey is just to pay them back. It doesn’t have to be with money, but just to show them that everything that they did meant so much to me, I want to pay them back somehow.”