Hoogs’ caps golden collegiate career
Hockey: Oiler grad Brandon Hoogenboom wins third Div. III national title in four years
By: Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 10:48 am
Winning just never gets old for an Okotoks Oilers alumnus south of the 49th parallel.
Former Oilers captain Brandon Hoogenboom signed off on his collegiate career in fine form in winning his third Division III NCAA national championship in four years to cap a prolific run with the St. Norbert College Green Knights.
“When you come here you know you’re coming to a really good school, you know you’re going to have an opportunity to at least compete, but three for four, that didn’t really cross my mind until we won our second one,” said Hoogenboom, an Oiler from 2008-10. “After you get the first one you want a chance to play for another one and we were lucky enough to be able to have those opportunities.
“The group of seniors in the room are some of the best friends I’ll ever have and to go out on top with those guys means the world to me.”
The Knights locked up their latest championship by ousting the Wisconsin-Stevens Point Pointers, featuring former Oilers fan favourite Alex Kromm, Saturday night in Lewiston, Maine. St. Norbert also took the national banner in 2011 and 2012.
“It’s one of those teams we’ve seen a lot in the past so we knew what to expect and what kind of game they were going to play,” said Hoogenboom, the Green Knights’ captain the past two seasons. “The biggest thing is to just be able to relax and go out there and play your game and that’s something a lot of the older guys tried to get across for the younger guys on our team.
“We’ve been there before. It was just another game for us.”
The championship run took root after a bitter loss for the De Pere, Wisconsin school one year ago.
The only missing banner for the Senior class came in 2013 when the Green Knights were ousted in the quarterfinals by Wisconsin-Eau Claire, a loss which served as a major source of motivation for the Green Knights.
“The first thing we did the next day at the rink, we put up on the whiteboard in our weight room ‘road to nationals 2014 starts now,’” Hoogenboom said. “It was weighing on a lot guys’ minds over the summer and we definitely put in the time and effort and were a deserving team.”
St. Norbert head coach Tim Coghlin said the hopes for Hoogenboom as a recruit were for him to be a more effective at the collegiate level than in Junior, where the Nanton native posted 59 goals and 118 points in three seasons with the Oilers.
“All of the attributes he brought as a Junior player, he demonstrated tremendous leadership, a great team kid and a very good two-way player so we knew we could use him in all situations,” Coghlin said. “All of that came true.
“He joined our team when it was very, very strong back in 2011 and was able to make an impact and then he’s just really progressed. By the time he was a Junior he was named team captain by his teammates, he wore the C the last two years.”
The 24-year-old set a career high in goals, 12, and points, 19, in his senior season, but his contributions can not be measured merely on a stat sheet.
“He’s the unsung hero almost every night, he doesn’t flash and shine, he does everything really well with a strong attention to detail. He really exemplifies exactly how this team is,” Coghlin added. “You’re not seeing him on the score-sheet every night because you need to, but it seems as though when we needed him he stepped up most.”
“This (senior) class is going to be really hard to replace. To get to a Frozen Four is friggin hard and for these kids to have been to three and not only been to three, but to win every single game when they were there is almost hard to believe.”
Hoogenboom, on track to graduate with a bachelor of arts in business administration in May with hopes of transitioning into work as a firefighter with the city of Calgary, called his decision to pursue post-secondary hockey in Wisconsin the best of his life.
“Leaving Okotoks when you’re 21-years-old and going to play guys 22, 23, 24, you’re playing against men and they (the Oilers) did a really good job of preparing me for the next few years, what to expect, how hard to work, they instilled that in you,” Hoogenboom said. “My philosophy was work as hard as you can in Junior to get that opportunity to go play at school and make the most of your opportunity while you’re at school.
“These four years set up the next 50 of my life and I have no regrets with the choices I made.”