A year ago, Hayden Bradbury wasn't on anyone's radar in terms of becoming an All-State player.
A lot can happen in a year.
Bradbury dedicated himself to the weight room, and with added strength and speed, Bradbury gave himself the tools to succeed.
And after 16 players had graduated from the 2017-18 New Richmond boys hockey team, there was opportunity. Bradbury took full advantage, scoring 31 goals to earn honorable mention honors on the Wisconsin Hockey Coaches Association All-State team.
The growth and success Bradbury generated has earned him The News Male Winter Athlete of the Season Award.
The success Bradbury earned this year has got him additional notice as he was informed last Thursday that he was selected for Team Wisconsin to compete in America's Showcase Hockey Tournament, held April 11-15 in St. Louis. Games can be seen on hockeytv.com.
Another possible opportunity is playing junior hockey, though Bradbury is still undecided on whether he will play take that route or go directly to college. He's been accepted at several schools, but said he will attend UW-Eau Claire if he doesn't pursue hockey.
Several members of Bradbury's family have played junior hockey, so he has good sources for information. He said his cousin, Drew Kelly, an assistant coach for New Richmond this winter, played junior hockey and they've talked about the possibility extensively. Bradbury has had several tryouts with junior teams.
"Hockey's definitely in our family," Bradbury said.
Bradbury's always been on the small side, so the dedication to the weight room was needed for him to get to the level he wanted. He said he was 5 feet, 4 inches, 130 pounds as a freshman; and that might be generous. He now stands at 5-10 and weighs 165 pounds. He said he'd like to add more muscle mass if he continues in junior hockey.
Bradbury's season included a pair of five-goal games. He said he never dreamed he'd see that type of success. The second of those games stands out more in his memory, because every goal was needed in a 7-6 playoff win against River Falls. Bradbury had seven points in that game.
The start of the season meant big changes for the returning Tigers, led by Bradbury and senior goaltender Max Davis.
"It was definitely different, being a role player (as a junior) to be a set-in-stone first line guy," Bradbury said. "Getting the ice time helped me get more confidence."
Bradbury earned a number of Tiger team awards, including Most Valuable Offensive Player, the Hobey Baker Team Character Award, and The Ross Kittel Memorial Most Dedicated Award.
Now the focus has switched from hockey to baseball for Bradbury as he's hoping to be the starting second baseman for the Tiger baseball team this spring.