California has a long history of producing high caliber athletes.
The list of football, baseball, and basketball players over the years is legendary. But hockey has seen a remarkable boom in the Golden State in recent years, including new Wenatchee Wild defenseman Brodrick Williams.
Born and raised in Huntington Beach, the 6-foot-2 blueliner is the first in his family to play hockey. He got a late start by comparison to many, discovering his love for the game at the age of 10.
His dad played baseball and surfed, but when his mother took him skating it inspired him to hit the ice.
A mere half-hour away from Williams’ home is the Honda Center, home to the NHL’ Anaheim Ducks.
“I didn’t truly understand what hockey was," Williams said. "But when I saw my first Ducks and Islanders on TV, the speed and constant action captivated me.”
At 13, he got involved in the Anaheim Jr. Ducks program and played two seasons with the Shattuck St. Mary’s program in Minnesota — at the 14UAAA and 15UAAA level — before returning to the Jr. Ducks this season.
“Brodrick is a big strong defenseman who also likes to get involved offensively," Wild head coach Chris Clark said. "He has really developed well with the Anaheim Jr. Ducks program (and) we look forward to helping him continue to develop the many tools he already has and prepare him to be an NCAA Div. I player.”
He’s eager to get to work in Wenatchee.
Asked what he’s most looking forward to, Williams said the big crowds, high-level play, the team, people and the city.
Wild GM Bliss Littler said they've watched Williams the past few years.
"He has taken a big step this year playing for Alex Kim and the Anaheim Ducks U16 program," Littler said. "Our fans will enjoy his physical presence. We look forward to working with Brodrick the next couple of seasons before he moves on to college hockey.”
The next step for most junior hockey players is college.
Williams admittedly hasn’t gone too deep into those plans as of yet.
“I’ve always been interested in space and engineering so in college, I’d probably do something along those lines.," he said.
Away from the rink, Williams has a passion for writing. The Wild anticipate Williams crafting a couple of solid chapters in his career while in Wenatchee.