“The best and most important player”
Brad Smulders is the best player in the Blue Tongues according to some of his fellow team mates. Brad is currently one of the Australian Ice Hockey League’s top five point scorers, which strengthens his team’s testimonies about his talent.
After blushing slightly over the compliments, he tries to explain how he has managed to reach the top.
“I guess road hockey helped me, I played in the summer and got better and more confident in ice hockey.” he says.
Brad is living with his girlfriend Justine, fellow player Chris Martin and another flatmate in Nobby’s Beach. His view is as good as the lifeguards’.
“I love it here. Never a dull moment.” he says.
The Canadian 25-year-old grew up in Sarnia, a small industrial town in southern Ontario, where lakes and ponds freeze over in winter. With a coaching dad and an uncle playing ice hockey in The Netherlands, it was not a surprise when Brad started playing at the age of three.
“My uncle played in Holland, so yeah I guess it was a pretty hockey orientated family. I lived for hockey growing up, in Canada it is mostly like that”
Thanks to his Dutch ancestry and passport, Brad could easily move over to Europe to play when he got older. He played in four different teams in The Netherlands, as well as the national team. Brad travelled with the team and on his own whenever he got the chance. One of the team’s destinations was China.
“It was like going back in time. We went to a small city in northern China and just walking down the street, people took pictures of us.” Brad says clearly amazed over the experience.
He lived with Blue Tongues defence player Henrik Ivarsson while playing for the Geleen Smoke Eaters in the Netherlands. He also met Mike Gough in Amsterdam, a former Blue Tongues player, and that is how he found himself playing in the International Australian Hockey League.
“The ice is so small; I am used to Olympic sized ice, so it is a different game. It is more technical, more handling of the puck, passing and shooting.”
He describes both himself and playing ice hockey in Australia as laid back, and if he can, he would like to come back next season.
Tino Sandhu about Brad
“He is the best and maybe most important player, and our team leader. Outside the rink he is a really nice guy .I like his style. I am a little jealous that he got his girlfriend over here and that they are experiencing this together.”