This month’s Alumni Spotlight features Mark Bradshaw, formerly of the St. Albert Raiders.
SPRUCE GROVE – Mark’s love for hockey started when he was just five years old, skating on the backyard rink his father made for him.
“My parents were my biggest influence,” he said. “They always were, and still are, the hardest working people I know. Their strong work ethic was a great example for me, and also provided me with every opportunity I could ask for in sports.”
A native of Stony Plain, he grew up playing his grassroots hockey with the Spruce Grove Minor Hockey Association, and, after a season with the Spruce Grove U15 AAA Broncos, played his U18 AAA with the St. Albert Raiders.
Mark stayed close to home when he made the jump to Junior, playing one season for the St. Albert Saints of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. From there, he went on to play two seasons with the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, where he was a two-time SJHL Best Defenceman.
Once his Junior hockey career wrapped up, Mark moved on to post-secondary, playing one season in the NCAA with Wayne State University. His love for the game didn’t stop after school, either, as Mark played one season of Senior hockey in the North Central Hockey League with the Onoway Ice Dogs, where he helped the team capture a league title.
Like many players, Mark didn’t stray far from the game after his playing days were over, as he stepped behind the bench. Now a full-time teacher, he still finds time to give back to the game.
“I’ve had the opportunity to coach at the U15, U18, and Junior levels”, he said. “But, the best part has been coaching my own sons in U7 and U11.”
While he accomplished quite a lot during his hockey career, Mark says his favourite memories come from spending time with his teammates.
“My time in minor hockey allowed me to build really strong relationships with my teammates, and learn how to compete as a group of players,” he said. “I think these positive experiences helped me become really passionate about the game, and drive me to play as long as I could.”
Mark’s advice for young players echoes what he loved about the game, and encourages them to find the same passion.
“Enjoy the experience and time spent with teammates, friends and coaches,” he said. “Being a part of a hockey team is a special thing, and it’s pretty incredible when you accomplish a goal together.”