Going into last season, Brendan Budy was hoping to just contribute in any sort of way.
What followed was a 15-goal, 45-point debut season in 56 games with the Rivermen, which was fifth on the team.
Those numbers also put him seventh in BCHL rookie scoring.
Even more impressive? The fact Budy did so as a 16-year-old while the the other top nine in the rookie scoring race were all two and three years older than the Langley Minor Hockey product.
“I didn’t think I would put up the numbers that I did last year,” admitted the 17-year-old. “I just wanted to go in and play my game and that is what I tried to do.”
Now comes the next challenge for the five-foot-10, 170-pound forward: captaining his hometown hockey club.
“Obviously it is a big ask for a 17-year-old (to be captain) but I think he represents us on and off the ice,” said Rivermen head coach and general manager Bobby Henderson.
“Brendan epitomizes what being a Rivermen is, his infatuation with getting better both on and off the ice is what’s going to push his teammates this season, as it already has through training camp.
“He trains like an animal (and) is everything we are looking for in a leader.
“He has got a phenomenal attitude … and he would run through walls to win a hockey game.”
Budy — who played for the Delta Hockey Academy prior to joining the Rivermen — expected to take on more of a leadership role this season but the captaincy caught him off guard.
“I couldn’t be more excited,” he admitted, adding this is his first time wearing the ‘C’ since way back early in his minor hockey days.
Budy said he learned a lot from now-graduated captain Cooper Leitch.
“Having someone like (him) last year to lead us and mentor me throughout the season was really key in my development as a leader,” Budy explained.
“Last year, they made the transition easy for me (and) I feel like this year, I’ve come into camp with a lot of the same methods I learned from the leadership group.”
“This year, I want to be a leader and lead the boys in the right direction.”
Budy, who is verbally committed to the University of Denver hockey program for 2018/19, said he learned as a rookie last year not to get too high or too low over the course of the season.
“You just have to keep working with it and keep with the process,” he explained.
Captaining the Rivermen is even more special, having come through the ranks of Langley Minor Hockey, and growing up watching the team.