Every team and dressing room needs it. Only certain players can ever bring it.
You can’t win without it. Grit and character.
It’s easy to label or typecast certain players.
As wrong as that might seem, it happens all the time.
That behaviour can quickly be classified as “superficial scouting” at best.
Moncton Flyers forward Braeden MacPhee is all character and grit, but he’s a lot more than that.
To find a players true value and full potential, one has to project and accurately access the present and predict the future.
Braeden MacPhee possesses the intangibles it takes to be a solid player at the next level.
The 15-year-old mature well spoken forward is a heart and soul player that possesses tremendous compete level and brings his own unique skill set to the game every time he steps on the ice.
Players like Braeden MacPhee are often undervalued and unappreciated by those on the outside looking in.
The Flyers rookie is eager to show what he can do at the next level if given the opportunity.
MacPhee did a fantastic job balancing the nerves during his draft season.
“I was very disappointed with how the season ended,” MacPhee said when asked about the abrupt end of the season due to the horrific COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had a great group of guys and had a chance to go a long way.”
“I was starting to settle in and playing some of my best hockey,” confessed MacPhee.
In 37 games with the Flyers, the speedy center scored 10 goals and added 13 assists.
The strong skating two-way center is currently listed between the 6th and 8th round of this years QMJHL Draft by CSR.
MacPhee is driven by his pursuit to play at the next level.
“I’m a goal setter and love training off ice.”
“I’m looking to build muscle and quicker feet so I’m faster and more explosive when I get back on the ice.”
MacPhee is determined to be in the best shape of his life to take full advantage of the opportunity if it presents itself.
“I’m fortunate to have synthetic ice in the basement so I’m also trying to work on my shot and release.”
There’s no denying Braeden MacPhee’s passion and love for the game.
In his first season with the Flyers,
MacPhee centered arguably the teams most effective and complete line playing along side Tristan Sanchez and Alex Pitre.
Game in game out that trio provided the Flyers with energy, grit and chipped in offensively scoring very timely goals.
“I was happy with my year with the Flyers,” MacPhee said proudly.
“As a rookie, I wanted to contribute in any way possible. I was fortunate that John Decoursey gave our line a goal to be effective in shutting down the other team, and in particular on the PK.”
“We had a solid season and I loved playing with Tristan and Alex.”
The gritty skilled forward understands his strengths and played to his identity every time he stepped on the ice.
MacPhee isn’t flashy.
He won’t blow people away with top end talent, but it’s the intangibles that MacPhee brings to the game that are so valuable, but yet often overlooked.
You don’t win hockey games when it matters most without a Braedan Macphee in your lineup.
MacPhee skates and thinks the game well, has good puck skills in traffic and distributes the puck efficiency and effectively through the middle and is extremely good in the face off dot.
You know exactly what you’re going to get from Braeden MacPhee each time he steps on the ice.
Consistency and character.
The young forward is confident he can bring that same exceptional two-way presence to the next level.
“I see myself as a teammate who gives hundred and ten percent every shift.”
“I play with an edge and like to shut down the other team. I have a lot of respect for my coaches, teammates, oponents and the game itself,” MacPhee.
Spoken like a glue guy and team first player.
It’s easy to see who MacPhee modelled his game after.
“I’ve always been a Bruins fan,” MacPhee said proudly.
“Growing up Joe Thornton and Patrice Bergeron were my favorite players.”
Two amazing centers, leaders and roles models that certainly understand the importance of being accountable in all three zones.
“I love being a solid two-way center,” MacPhee said.
It’s really hard to believe it was the first year that MacPhee ever played the middle.
“Growing up I was always a right winger and shutting down the other teams top players. I try to play a similar style to Bergeron.”
“Bergeron is so solid on defensive side and contributes offensively when possible,” explained MacPhee.
What would it mean to be drafted into the QMJHL?
“I would love to find myself on a QMJHL team.”
“Ever since my father started taking me to the PEI Rocket games in Charlottetown when I was around one, my dream was to play in the Q.”
“It would be a dream to get drafted into the Q.”
“All aspects of my game need to get better to be an impact player in the QMJHL,” said a reflective MacPhee.
“I’m willing to put in the work to get drafted, and play in the league in the years to come.”
MacPhee realizes first hand the commitment it will take to get to the next level.
“I’m working on my physical strength, a faster release, and a harder shot.”
“All these things will be needed for me to play in the Q.”
At 5’8, 150 pounds some organizations may look at Braeden MacPhee’s size as a deterrent.
They would be drastically misjudging the size of his heart and unwavering passion for the game.
MacPhee and his line were predominantly used in a checking role with the Flyers.
If given more opportunities perhaps MacPhee’s offensive numbers may have increased, but it’s his play away from the puck and his dogged determination and consistency that sets him from other draft eligible players.
Shift in, shift out Braeden MacPhee takes pride in his style of play.
Takes pride in doing the little things right.
That takes character and grit.
That takes skill.
As a scout you can just tell when some players want it more than others.
You can just tell when some players love the game and understand the sacrifices that those close to them have made to get them to that point of their career.”
“I really appreciate the sacrifices my parents have made over the years,” confessed MacPhee.
“From the 7am practices back in Initiation to late night Flyers practices, my parents are always there for me and are my number one fans.”
“I have a younger brother who also plays competitive hockey, so there’s many weekends both of my parents are in different rinks, but most of the time they find a way to make it to my games.”
“They support me with my off ice training in the summer and stand behind me one hundred percent as I pursue my dream.”
“I’m lucky to have parents like mine.”
Every team needs heart and soul, a player of character and grit that’s going to win races and battles in all three zones.
Every teams needs a player that will never back down, a player that brings all the other intangibles that it takes to win, but above all a player that will never lose sight of how special it is to have the opportunity live out his dream.
From the imaginary ice surface in his living room with PEI Rocket mini sticks in hand at two years old, to the minor hockey ranks and beyond, Braeden MacPhee has never lost sight of the value of hard work, passion, and dedication to the game he loves.
Grit, character and an relentless desire to live out his dream.
For Braeden MacPhee it isn’t about draft rankings or people’s perception, it’s all about competing staying true to himself, his identity and character as a player and person.