Gavin Brindley, from Estero, is turning his dream into reality after hearing his name called by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round of the NHL draft.
Gavin’s lifelong hard work playing hockey day after day in Southwest Florida paid huge dividends the moment he was selected with the 34th overall pick.
“Heart starts bumping a little bit, and you can’t really believe it at first. You put on the jersey and you’re like, wow, this is actually happening,” said Gavin.
Gavin’s journey to the NHL draft began at Hertz Arena where he learned every aspect of the game while watching Ryan Brindley, his father, carve the ice for the Everblades.
“That’s when he learned to skate. He would come on the ice after practice,” said Ryan.
“I’ve skated pretty much ever since I could walk, so just being around the locker rooms and being around all of his buddies that played, I mean, we’re really never not talking about hockey,” said Gavin.
Cultivating and honing his skills, Gavin developed his hockey talents while playing for the Junior Everblads and Florida Alliance.
“Just having fun as a kid, being on the ice playing around at stick-in puck. Like pretend fighting with my teammates and I mean so many good times, and it never donned on me to leave the ice early or go home. I wanted to be out there all day long,” said Gavin.
Taking the next step, Gavin decided to become a Wolverine by playing hockey for the University of Michigan.
“He’s always got a smile on his face. He loves going to the rink. It’s never, you know, a grind. He never calls me and says, ‘Oh my God, this season’s getting long.’ He just loves the game, and so for him, I just want him to keep doing that,” said Ryan.
Gavin just finished the Blue Jackets development camp with the team’s other prospects. He said the organization got a guy who will do whatever it takes.
“I’m not the biggest guy in the world, so hard work and passion is a big thing for me. I love to score goals, love to contribute as much as I can in any situation I can,” said Gavin.
Gavin hopes maybe he will inspire someone around Southwest Florida to pick up a stick, just like his father did for him.