Cole Brady’s calm demeanor plays a big part in his continued rise as a goalie prospect in the hockey universe.
When the Pickering, Ontario, Canada, native was between the pipes for the North American Hockey League’s Janesville Jets last season, there were rarely signs of stress. If he was scored on, there was no indication that it got into his head or affected his game negatively.
When Brady found out he was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the fifth round of the 2019 NHL Draft on June 22, however, there was no controlling the excitement.
“All of your emotions just kind of come right out of you. It’s pretty crazy to see your name on the screen,” Brady said.
Brady was in another room when his agent called to tell him he was about to be picked. He ran to the living room and watched his lifelong dream become a reality.
“When you first put the skates on it’s for fun, but as you grow up you realize this dream, and I remember I always wanted to play in the NHL and be like the guys you see on TV,” Brady said.
Brady was the Jets’ MVP Award recipient in his rookie year with the club last season and amassed a 21-17-1 record. His five shutouts were tied for third-most in the league.
Jets coach Corey Leivermann knew Brady was a solid goalie from day one.
After helping select Brady in the first round of the 2018 NAHL Draft, Leivermann had a feeling his net-minder would be an NHL draft pick.
“I think when it hit me the most was Top Prospects (showcase tournament) and how unbelievable he was there,” Leivermann said. “It was kind of like, ‘Holy (cow), this kid’s going to play in the NHL someday.’”
The Jets coach said Brady was a big reason the Jets were in the playoff race throughout the season.
“Cole Brady in a nutshell is that he won us games we probably shouldn’t have won, and he kept us in games that could’ve been big losses,” Leivermann said.
Brady talked to multiple teams prior to the draft, including the Devils and the Calgary Flames. He said part of the reason being drafted was possible was his time in Janesville.
“It was a big year for me,” Brady said. “Janesville was a really good developing step for me, and it opened many doors for me in the future.”
Other former Jets have been working toward the NHL, as well.
Brady is the third Jets player to be drafted after the Carolina Hurricanes selected goalie Jack LaFontaine in 2016, and forward Jakov Novak went to the Ottawa Senators in 2018. Nine former players will skate in development camps across the NHL this summer.
For Brady, the possibilities ahead are plentiful as he prepares to attend the Devils’ development camp starting July 8.
Brady will play the 2019-20 season with the Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League (USHL) before eventually advancing to play NCAA Division I hockey at Arizona State.
“I just want to continue to develop and grow and get stronger,” he said. “I did what I needed to do to get drafted, and now each year I have to work to hopefully someday get to the NHL.”