HARTLAND, MI - It's often said that a successful hockey teams builds from the net out.
For the Hartland Hounds, that means starting with goaltender Andrew Brownlee.
A 18-year-old Howell native (he turns 19 later this month), Brownlee signed a tender agreement with the Hounds earlier this summer after jumping at the opportunity to play for a team so close to home.
"When the Hounds came about, I thought that would be the perfect opportunity to play close to home and still have the chance to possibly play some sort or college hockey and a chance at some sort of scholarship," explained Brownlee, who saw brief time at the junior level last season with the Metro Jets of the North American 3 Hockey League. "I like the pace of play at the junior level because I feel more in the game when the pace of play is faster."
Hartland head coach Randy Montrose is also someone Brownlee is familiar with having played under Montrose at Howell High School.
"I think we are here to get our best chance at moving on in the hockey world to the next level with the amount of connections Randy has," explained Brownlee. "I expect Randy to be there as a coach this season and no one's friend because he's a very competitive guy and wants to do nothing but win."
That certainly bodes well for Brownlee, who said he models his game after NHL Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy.
"I love to battle when I step on the ice," Brownlee said. "I need to get myself to compete in practice as much as I do in a game because practice is where you get better and try new things and maybe if I get a better in practice, my game could improve a little bit in games as well. This year, I want to have a better season than the last because I always want to improve in anything I do."
That said, Brownlee knows hockey is a team game and wants nothing more than to be a contributing factor in any success the Hounds may have this year during the inaugural season of the Midwest Junior Hockey League.
"My expectations this year are to not only make the playoffs, but to also win the playoffs and represent our league at nationals," said Brownlee. "I'd like to win nationals as well."
Big goals from a competitive player can only mean big things for the Hounds this season.