Brindley CBJ debut

The last six months have been nothing short of an adventure for Blue Jackets forward Gavin Brindley. 

Beginning his streak of success, Brindley paved the way for Team USA at the IIHF World Junior Championships, tallying six goals and four assists as the team secured a gold medal in January.  

Immediately following the trip to Sweden, Brindley turned his sights back on his sophomore season at the University of Michigan. Despite the Wolverines falling short after a Frozen Four appearance, Brindley was named Big Ten Player of the Year, an AHCA West first-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten selection thanks to 25 goals and 53 points in 40 games.

The standout right wing then signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Blue Jackets before stepping foot on the ice for his NHL debut the very next day.

Despite his numerous achievements, it didn’t stop there. Just one day before heading to the tournament, Brindley was named to the Team USA roster once again, but this time on the big stage at the IIHF World Championships. 

“I didn’t even know I was going to Worlds,” Brindley said. "I found out the day before and ended up getting a plane to Czech."

At just 19 years old, Brindley was one of only four players on the U.S. roster that competed in NCAA hockey this season. The three familiar faces, along with two fellow Blue Jackets in Zach Werenski and Johnny Gaudreau, added a sense of comfort and ease in the transition as he arrived in Czechia.

Drawing on his prior experiences in elite competitions, Brindley captured his first Worlds goal in the team’s 10-1 rout of Kazakhstan, humbly attributing it to luck. 

“We just get to the net and hopefully get rewarded one of those times, and sure enough I got a little lucky and went behind him and tapped it in,” he said. “We were all pretty excited, just like when those guys score too. It was great.” 

For Brindley, the camaraderie wasn’t the only highlight. He spoke extensively about how the opportunity provided him an invaluable chance to learn from the best and prepare for the next steps in his journey.

“Just seeing how they operate on a day-to-day basis, going to the rink, taking care of their bodies and all of that stuff. There’s so many things that go into it and seeing how dialed in they are … there’s a reason they are the best in the world,” Brindley said. “And (Werenski), he is a pro’s pro. The way he carries himself is unbelievable, and he cares so much about winning and the team’s success. It was awesome to be there with him and talk to him and kind of learn from those guys. Same with Johnny (Gaudreau).

“I just feel like you take it step-by-step and day-by-day. You don’t want to look too far in the future and you want to be as present as much as you can and just enjoy it. You’re 19 years old and you’re gonna do all these things and it's great, but realistically you’re not an NHL player yet and a lot of things still have to fall into place.”

An up-close glimpse at the world’s best players is exactly what Brindley needed before summer, where he is looking forward to spending time with friends and family in Florida and preparing for the upcoming season. 

If all goes well, with a pro contract under his belt, he could be a contributor for the Blue Jackets this upcoming season.

“I am excited,” he said. “This is the first summer I've had where I kind of just take a little bit of time off and really have nothing crazy to look forward to, so I just plan to enjoy it and train. Obviously there’s things on the ice and off the ice I want to get better at, but just being around my family and enjoying the time at home.”

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