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Young goalie's dream is to be pro hockey player

Posted: Sunday, September 05, 2010

With a name like Broder, Jared was destined to become a hockey goaltender.

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That's because his last name is similar to that of his favorite goalie -- Martin Brodeur. It's a fact that is not lost on his family members.

"My parents brought him a Martin Brodeur jersey, but they put his name on the back," said Jeffrey Broder, Jared's father. "So we were at (an Atlanta) Thrashers game, and he wore it. We were walking, and some adults behind us said, 'Look at that kid. He spelled his name wrong.'

"That was pretty funny."

Despite modeling his game somewhat after the famed 19-year veteran -- with some new-school styles thrown in -- Jared Broder is out to make a name for himself in the crease.

The 13-year-old Stallings Island Middle School student has played for the past three years at the elite, Tier 1 AAA level with Total Package Hockey Thunder. The team rotates its practice schedule from Atlanta to Nashville, Tenn., to Huntsville, Ala., and plays tournaments across the country in cities such as Chicago, Detroit and Las Vegas. Every weekend, the players and their families are on the road.

Playing with the Thunder offers an opportunity to compete against solid competition that isn't available at the local level. Leagues local to Augusta compete on the Tier 2 and Tier 3 level. Apart from competing with the Thunder, Broder got a taste of some of the East Coast's top level of hockey talent during a recent tournament at Kent State University in Ohio.

While USA Hockey's National Development Camp is designed to get the nation's best players ages 14 and older together in one location, Rochester, N.Y., the organization has a similar program for younger players to gain insight into what that process is like.

The process for Georgia juniors in the U-13 age group begins with a tryout in Atlanta for the team representing the Southern Amateur Hockey Association. Broder made the cut -- two goalies and 18 position players -- over numerous juniors.

Those team members ad-vanced to a week-long camp held at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee to compete alongside 20-member teams from the Southeast District's other three organizations -- the Carolina Amateur Hockey Association, the Potomac Valley Amateur Hockey Association, and Statewide Amateur Hockey of Florida -- for one of 20 spots on the Southeast's final roster.

Broder survived the cut in Atlanta and then made the final roster at Vanderbilt. It was a process that saw him compete against seven of the Southeast's best U-13 goalies and eventually get named as the team's main goalie.

Broder said the competition at Vanderbilt was tough.

"I was really nervous," he said. "I kind of wasn't sure because we all looked good. It could've really been any of us."

Broder and the other goalies selected were part of the SAHA team that competed against five other East Coast teams in the Aug. 4-8 tournament. The squad finished second -- with 13 out of a possible 15 points -- and nearly grabbed the top spot, losing a thriller to the No. 1 team in a shootout.

It was Broder's first shootout in a top-level game.

"I just wasn't really thinking," he said. "I mean, I was thinking about who they were probably going to put up next, but other than that I was just focused (on the moment)."

After playing in such an elite event, Broder's next goal is to make a run through tryouts to be a part of the national camp in Rochester when he enters into U-14 competition.

Eventually, he said, he'd love to play hockey professionally.

"I would love for hockey to be my job," said Broder, who started playing at age 5 and started playing goalie at 9.

No school in the area has a hockey program. It's something Broder would love to see implemented.

"I wish they would," he said, "so I wouldn't have to drive six hours."



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