Former 22nd overall pick in the OHL Draft Steven Broek has left the Belleville Bulls according to a report from the Belleville Intelligencer. Broek turned 18-years old on Monday, and has come to the decision that he no longer wants to play hockey, at least in the OHL. Broek left the team last week according to reports, and made his decision known to the club over the weekend.
In 29 games played this season, Broek had six points and four penalty minutes. He had been a healthy scratch in recent games and admitted that he was in poor shape. Broek was acquired from Kingston Frontenacs earlier this season for second-and fifth-round draft picks, and his departure wasn’t exactly met with praise from Belleville’s coach and general manger George Burnett:
“Broeky has decided he doesn’t want to be a hockey player which is really disappointing from our point of… When we looked at the research we did before the trade, it looked like it was something he was hungry to do. He was on the path of getting to where he wanted to get.”
Broek’s reasons for leaving the team were simple, and probably symptomatic of many fringe players in the CHL:
“I wasn’t interested anymore in the full commitment, I wasn’t enjoying myself.”
Leaving a junior hockey team because of a loss of interest or no longer feeling that the commitment is possible is nothing new, former Washington Capitals’ draft pick Eric Mestery left the Tri-City Americans back in August for similar reasons. And who could forget Stefan Legein’s sudden departure from hockey back in 2008, just over a year after he was selected in the second round by the Columbus Blue Jackets? Legein had also reportedly “lost the passion” when he decided to leave the game, although, Legein has since returned to hockey and currently plays for the Adirondack Phantoms of the AHL.
Perhaps Broek had come to the realization that he was just spinning the tires playing major junior hockey. It’s hard to fault an 18-year old for having the capacity to make a decision of such magnitude, but understandable that his team would be upset considering the investment they had made in him. Who knows what the future holds for Steven Broek? His plans for now are to finish Grade 12 and take it from there… just like most kids his age.