Hayden Bradbury played so well for Team Wisconsin at the USA Hockey America's Showcase that he earned the chance to play for Team Wisconsin in another national tournament.
Bradbury, who was the leading scorer for the New Richmond High School boys hockey team this winter, helped Team Wisconsin win four of its five games at the USA Hockey tournament, played in St. Louis on April 14-15. Bradbury finished the tournament with four goals and three assists. Wisconsin's only loss came to Pittsburgh, the eventual champion, in the tournament's semifinals.
Bradbury's best game came in an 8-1 win over Team Indiana, where he scored two goals and assisted on two others. His seven points in the tournament shared the team lead.
Bradbury wasn't initially on the roster for Team Wisconsin at the CCM High School National Invitational Tournament (NIT) on April 25-28. But when a roster spot became available, his Team Wisconsin coach from the America's Showcase recommended Bradbury. The tournament was played at the Plymouth Ice Center in Plymouth, Minn.
Bradbury said the play he saw at America's Showcase was the best he'd ever seen. That opinion changed when he took the ice at the NIT tournament, where Bradbury was playing for the Wisconsin Seniors team. Wisconsin lost to Team Minnesota 3-2 in a shootout in the opening game. Wisconsin then won its next two games to win its pool. Wisconsin drew the Michigan Seniors in the tournament championship, where Wisconsin won the tournament title with a 5-2 victory.
Bradbury said there was a clear reason Wisconsin won the tournament.
"Both our goalies were insane," he said in reference to the play of Hayward's Gavin Abric and Waukesha's Garrett Larsen. "They were the reason we won any games."
Bradbury is hoping to find a junior hockey team to play for this fall and he has a number of tryouts scheduled for the summer. He said this tournament was the best thing to get him ready for those tryouts.
"The pace was crazy, faster than any hockey I've ever played before, by far," he said.
Bradbury said the tournament also showed him where there's room for growth in his game.
"I feel I can keep up in the scoring aspect. The decision-making was the definite difference. I feel I got better as the weekend went on," he said.
There were numerous college and junior hockey scouts attending both tournaments, so Bradbury's hoping someone was impressed with his play. He's hoping to catch on with a team in the North American Hockey League. He is also accepted at UW-Eau Claire, which he will attend if he doesn't find a hockey option to his liking.