SAN JOSE—“Those first few steps [on the ice] are huge in moving on to different levels [of hockey], and just seeing yourself getting better every day is a huge accomplishment,” defenseman Michael Brodzinski said of his earliest days on skates.
Born in Ham Lake, Minnesota to a family of hockey stars, Brodzinski, 22, was placed on the ice as soon as he could walk. His father, a lifelong hockey player, played for both the University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State University, the latter for which all three of his brothers previously played or have committed to.
Originally selected by the Sharks in 2013 (141st overall), Brodzinski first played for the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL and then took the college route, playing for Minnesota while studying Business Marketing. In 2015-2016, he made his AHL debut with the Barracuda, appearing in six games total that season. The following season, he played in nine games with the Cuda and 37 with the Allen Americans of the ECHL.
Brodzinski scored his first AHL goal this season, and it was the most impressive of any player thus far. During their second away game against the Cleveland Monsters (who had beat them the day before), the match remained entirely scoreless. With one second left in the overtime interval, Brodzinski got the monkey off his back (as he described the moment) and scored on Matiss Kivlenieks, Cleveland’s goalie.
Since relocating to San Jose, in addition to the weather, Brodzinski has been enjoying the Northern California beaches, a far cry from Lake Superior, the closest landmark Minnesota has to a beach.
Fun fact: Brodzinski’s older brother, Jonny, 24, plays for the Ontario Reign and notched the hat trick in their 4-2 win over the Cuda on November 1 (one of the goals went off of Michael himself). Jonny was selected 148th overall by the LA Kings in 2013. The two brothers last played alongside one another at Blaine High School in their home state.