On the biggest day of his hockey life, the 2010 draft, Brett Bulmer
was at home with his family in Prince George, British Columbia, rather than Staples Center in Los Angeles with his fellow prospects. That he was home working on his game rather than living in the limelight of LA speaks volumes about him and his work ethic.
Bulmer, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound forward who finished his rookie campaign with the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League, skyrocketed up draft boards across NHL war rooms in the second half of the season. In fact, he had one of the biggest boosts among prospects on the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau, going from a 164 ranking at the mid-term to a ranking of 65 at the end of the season.
On his improvement from the beginning of the season at Kelowna to the end, Bulmer directly credits his ability to take instruction from coaching staff and immediately putting it into his game. Adding a physical aspect certainly didn’t hurt his positioning as a prospect. Bulmer grew over six inches in the last two years, and it showed with his physical play.
“I was getting more confident,” he said. “I was getting used to my body. I had great coaches and it definitely helped along the way…getting me to work hard at every practice and on every shift helped me get the best out of myself.”
On having his name called so high in the second round, Bulmer says he was, “maybe a little surprised, but I don’t expect anything less from myself. You always want to play at the top level, and it was definitely nice getting called there.”
Bulmer clearly isn’t afraid to work hard, likes to take the body. During Sunday’s Development Camp scrimmage he proved that, mixing it up with a couple opposing defensemen.
“I see myself as a guy who can play in the corners, work to get the puck free, protect it, get physical down low and make things happen in front of the net,” he explained.
Bulmer came development camp with the mindset that he will take what he is told by Aeros coach Mike Yeo and Darryl Sydor with him over the next season in Kelowna.
“These guys know your game; they know what to expect out of you, that’s why they draft you,” he said. “Now it’s a matter of knowing that this is the NHL, and you have to make good impressions on the staff. You have to work hard, skate hard, listen in the room and show that you’re working hard out there.”
Working hard every shift, learning from every practice and improving on the ice...these assets are echoed in the comments from his coaches at Kelowna. Ryan Huska told NHL.com, “He doesn’t say a lot. When we talk to him, it’s yes or no, and then he applies what we tell him.”
During development camp, Bulmer enjoyed getting on the ice and working to impress his new, and hopefully future coaches.
“It’s fun,” he said. “As a kid, you always dream about playing in the NHL, and here I am at an NHL development camp. I just want to take what I learn here, get better and make solid progress over the next season.”
After his first full week in Minnesota, Bulmer fell in love with a city and atmosphere that he hopes to one day call home.
“The city, the beautiful arena, great fans and staff, hanging out with the other guys. I can’t wait to come back for training camp in the fall and see what happens next.”
Bulmer admits he’s living a dream that many wouldn’t have thought possible when he was learning and working on his game on lakes around Prince George.
“Even as a kid, I always wanted to be playing hockey,” he said. “It came naturally, being on the ice, playing with my friends. Even in summer when I was fishing or boating with my family, I wanted to be playing hockey. If I couldn’t be an NHL player, I don’t even want to think about that. This was the goal.”