It’s not often a rookie defenceman can step right into a BCHL team’s lineup and have an immediate impact both in his own zone and offensively, but that’s exactly what Tony Bretzman has done with the Langley Rivermen.
The Mendota Heights, Minnesota native just turned 19 and in his first BCHL season has put up two goals and 12 assists in 28 games along with just 12 PIM’s despite logging heavy minutes. He spent the last several years at St. Thomas Academy with five goals and 29 points in 31 games playing in a very competitive High School league. The jump to Junior A is certainly a big one as it is for any player moving up from Midget, Junior B, or in Bretzman’s case, High School, but the 5’10”, 165 pound import has made the transition look relatively easy.
A smooth skater with the ability to move the puck, Bretzman quickly earned the trust of his coaches and has been relied upon in all situations including on the penalty kill and power play, scoring his first BCHL goal on the man advantage in a 12-2 rout of Coquitlam, a game which saw him record two goals and three assists earning the game’s first star.
Set to hit the halfway mark of the season, Bretzman and his defensive partners feel they’ve overcome what was a difficult start to November, settling down to allow just two goals against in their last two games. Playing with fellow Minnesota native Chris Forney, Bretzman was a big part of the Rivermen’s shutdown of the Chilliwack Chiefs Saturday night. The Riv are now set to embark on their most taxing part of the schedule playing four games in five days, three of them on the road starting Wednesday night in Prince George, a key divisional matchup with first place in the Mainland on the line. And just as he was eager to accept the challenge of playing in the BCHL this season, Bretzman is looking forward to what could turn out to be a very significant road trip for the Rivermen.