Making sacrifices for the betterment of your team is one of those sports clichés that gets tossed around quite a bit. Delaware goaltender SJ Broadt served as a prime example as he captured tournament MVP honors as the Blue Hens captured their first ACHA National Championship this year.
Broadt played the duration of the tournament with a broken metatarsal in his left foot, a painful injury that he suffered just prior to his conference tournament. Broadt missed the duration of the ESCHL tournament because of the injury.
“I tried to practice on it because I thought it was just a bruise,” Broadt said before learning of the break.
The injury was supposed to shelve the goaltender for up to six weeks, a prognosis that would leave him on the shelf well beyond the end of the 2012 National Tournament. However, like many sports stories regarding injured players in championship games, it was an injury that couldn’t be made worse by playing on it.
“I knew we had a chance to go deep [at Nationals],” Broadt said. “I just wanted to finish what I started.”
Broadt said his motivation was seeing his team make an early exit from the ESCHL conference tournament. After such a strong regular season, Delaware’s early exit was somewhat unexpected. While it was not the sole factor for their struggles, Broadt’s absence certainly didn’t help matters in the league playoffs.
The injury occurred during a team practice when one of his teammates collided with Broadt during a battle drill, knocking the goaltender’s foot into the post in an awkward position. While he knew there was something wrong immediately, Broadt didn’t realize his foot was broken at first. However, upon learning that the injury couldn’t have been made worse, Broadt began to work his way back in.
Broadt acknowledged that he would not have tried to play at Nationals if he wasn’t at 100% or if he needed to make any major adjustments to his game. After slowly ramping up the intensity at practice prior to the beginning of the tournament, Broadt just needed to be sure he wasn’t putting too much pressure on the foot.
“I just needed to make sure I adjusted my weight properly on the ice,” Broadt said. “I didn’t need to change the way I played and that is when I told coach I would be in net.”
Broadt also didn’t leave his return up for debate. While he had spoken with his coaches and teammates about working back into game shape, he simply told his coach he would be starting upon realizing he was able to play his game.
It was clear that Broadt had no issues getting back on top of his game. He claimed tournament MVP honors after winning all four games for the Blue Hens and posting a 2.00 GAA and dazzling .940 SV%. Broadt held Oakland University to one goal on 27 shots in the National Championship game and turned aside 52 shots in a 5-4 double overtime win.
“Everything really hasn’t hit me yet,” Broadt said. “The entire situation was awesome, I am really glad that I decided to play and the story behind it makes the win that much sweeter.”
Broadt did admit that he was playing with quite a bit of pain, but that the adrenaline and distraction of each game was often enough to get him through 60 minutes – 89 in the Ohio game – each day. However, Broadt also noted that the pre and post-game pain he felt was often fairly significant.
Of course, winning tournament MVP honors and helping guide your team to their first National Title makes all the pain negligible