The CBR Brave have laid the foundation for the next generation of local talent by earlier this year establishing the 'Junior Brave' and supporting them as they compete in, and currently lead, the NSW Midget League.
Alexandre Tetreault is the current Junior Brave goaltender and is sitting second overall in the competition for save percentage on 0.919% and third in GAA on 1.70.
However, Tetreault has recently been given another opportunity in his development as backup goalie for the senior Brave team. Despite not yet tasting AIHL action, the promotion is testament to the hard work, dedication and commitment Tetreault has shown the Brave over the past year.
The 17 year-old Canadian-born netminder, who moved to Canberra 10 years ago, only picked up the goalie position over the past four years. His father Daniel has helped ensure that his son is on top of his game and at peak fitness.
"My dad is a huge part of my goaltending,” Tetreault said. “He was my first coach and I think he always will be my coach. He has heaps of experience in sports training as he was a world champion for Canada in underwater hockey.
“He always tells me that off ice training is the key, and it is. I have to admit he comes up with some strange off ice training methods but they really work and I'm glad he tries to help me in every way he can."
With the CBR Brave only in its second season, Tetreault was quickly identified as a prospect for the future, having trained with the Brave’s senior team for about a year.
"I have been training with the Brave since mid-last season,” Tetreault said. “Training with an older group of guys is really good. The more challenging the better and I'm learning heaps."
"Being with goalies like Josh Unice and Stuart Woodall is great. They're really supportive and have so much experience so anything they tell me or teach me I take it in."
Tetreault recalls when he found out that he was being called up to the senior team, when his dad received a call from Brave coach Brad Hunt while the family was sitting around the dinner table.
"I was really excited,” Tetreault said. “This call up was huge, my friends and family were really happy for me, especially my parents who’ve done so much for me.
"I definitely wouldn't have been able to achieve what I have without the help of mum and dad, they're extremely supportive and they want me follow what I really want which is to play the highest level of hockey that I can and represent my country."
As training and preparations leading up to the game were positive, nothing could prepare Tetreault for the walk into a packed out Phillip Swimming & Ice Skating Centre, affectionately known as the Brave Cave.
"When I walked out of the change room and out in front of the home crowd, it was crazy, unreal,” Tetreault said. “I felt that I was really part of this team. Growing up watching the Canberra team, I always was one of the kids who high fived the players as they walked out and skated onto the ice, but now it was my turn to be one of those players walking out onto the ice."
Emotions were at a high as he warmed up with a team that he watched so many times sitting on the other side of the boards. Alex admitted feeling nervous but tried to stay calm and focused as he prepared physically and mentally in case he got his opportunity to take the ice.
With the Brave winning a competitive game against the Melbourne Ice, Alex wasn’t needed to take the ice, but the experience has inspired the youngster to work hard to retain his place in the senior team.
"I love the fan’s, that’s the best part,” Tetreault said. “I want to be a role model for young goaltenders and players.”
Alex will continue to represent the Junior Brave in the NSW Midget League, as well as training with the CBR Brave, and is hopeful to claim the starting goalie position for Australia in next year’s under 18’s IIHF Division 3 Group A competition, the location of which has yet to be announced.