By Craig Stein
MILLIONAIRES’ GOALTENDER PREPARING ON AND OFF THE ICE
The past 12+ months have been nothing short of a blur for Melville Millionaires’ goaltender Brandon Wells. In that time the 19-year-old from Spirit River, AB has gone from Junior ‘B’ in B.C., to rookie Junior ‘A’ starter in Saskatchewan, to being on the radar of NCAA Division I schools.
“I got picked up when (the Millionaires) were 0-and-9 last season, things started clicking, everything worked out and it’s paid off. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation. Getting 36 starts as an 18-year-old rookie is pretty unheard of, so it was a huge step in my career and I can’t thank the organization enough.”
Through his first 14 starts this season, Wells was sporting a .940 save percentage, and was one of the busier tenders in the league, seeing over 35 shots per game.
First year Millionaires’ Head Coach & GM Devin Windle knew he was walking into a team with solid goaltending, but says it’s exceeded his expectations, with Wells, and also rookie Colby Entz.
“When I got hired on in the summer I was excited about goaltending being a strength for this team, and to be honest I think I was undervaluing what we have at the position, just calling it a strength. Brandon’s been the backbone of our team. He’s a big kid, you can tell he worked hard in the summer, he’s a lot more athletic and fit.”
Windle added that Wells really took the game seriously over the off-season and is preparing himself on the ice, away from the rink and in the classroom to play at the college level.
“The biggest thing with Brandon is he wants to be a Division I goaltender, and to me he’s 100% capable of doing so, he’s taking his steps to accomplish that here, writing his SAT on the academic side, and working incredibly hard off the ice physically. He’s really putting the time in to set himself up to be a Division I goalie, and now part of it falls on us to make sure we’re informing people as to how good he’s been for us.”
Wells echoed that he had to buckle down and hit the books being a couple years removed from high school.
“The goal is to go NCAA. I just wrote my SAT so I’m just waiting for my score to come in. (The SAT) wasn’t easy, it’s a little bit shorter now but it’s a long process, you have to study, and I’d been out of school for a few years but I studied and I think it went well.”
Wells has plans to pursue business while playing hockey at the post-secondary level, whether that’s next season or the year after. He believes that major will serve him well, as the long term plan is to run the 9000 acre family farm, outside of Spirit River.
*Full audio interviews with Wells & Windle can he heard below*