Video Spotlight - Brad Bakken

LANGLEY, British Columbia - When you walk into the Trinity Western men’s hockey dressing room, you’ll see a white piece of tape, about four feet long and two inches wide, stuck to the floor under the door frame before you enter the main area, nicely carpeted, of the Spartans home digs.

Written on the piece of tape, the Spartans make it clear that there will be no shoes allowed beyond that line.

Anyone who enters the locker room with footwear will be fined.

The idea of the line and the penalty for violating the line came from Brad Bakken. For those keeping score at home Benson Wu is the official team cop in charge of handing out fines.

While the Langley, B.C. product who has played in the WHL, the BCHL and the ACAC has only been around the Spartans dressing room for just over a month and Trinity Western’s official captain for even less, at times it feels like the stay-at-home defenceman is already a savvy veteran.

So when the player vote for captaincy nearly unanimously chose Bakken to be the team leader, it was no surprise.

It’s not every day a team has a first-year player waltz into a dressing room and command respect just by his sheer presence but that basically happened with Bakken. With 53 WHL games to his credit, with the Seattle Thunderbirds, 161 BCHL games under his belt, with the Langley Chiefs, and 17 games played in the ACAC, with the Mount Royal Cougars, Bakken is easily the most experienced player on Trinity Western’s team and, since returning to Langley, has become the face of the Spartans.

For the first time in his life, Trinity Western’s defensive blueliner, who coach Dwayne Lowdermilk is encouraging to become a more offensive, is the captain of a hockey team, but, despite having only two regular season games with the “C” on his chest, his early perspective typifies why he was given the captaincy in the first place.

“You can’t let the ‘C’ go to your head,” Bakken said when asked what he believes are the keys to being a good leader. “Obviously the assistant captains and the whole team in general, should have a big input. We’re all trying to strive for the same goal so hearing from the whole team on how to approach that goal is a huge key to being successful.”

Fortunately for Bakken and his captaincy learning curve, it just so happens that just down the hall within the bowels of the Langley Events Centre his younger brother Ryan was recently named captain of the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen. He too has never donned the “C.”

The two of them grew up together less than 10 minutes away from Trinity Western in Walnut Grove and, with just two years between the two, have pushed each other their entire lives. So, just like when they were younger, Bakken now has someone very close to him to help make him better.

“Having a younger brother who could push is probably one of the reasons I was successful and was able to play at a junior level and an intercollegiate level,” Brad said. “I could work on one-on-one individual things with him. We were just always trying to make each other better, whether it be baseball, which we were pretty involved with, or hockey.”

Growing up in on a two acre lot with a fenced-off roller hockey area in the backyard, the Bakkens were constantly competing with each other. And while neither Brad nor Ryan, both of which are defencemen who prefer to play it safe, is particularly offensively skilled, the hours they spent messing around in the backyard have gone a long way for both players.

“He definitely did push me to become better on the black top in our back yard,” Brad said. “We would play posts out there for six or seven hours at a time. He actually won three out of four times so that was a little motivation throughout minor hockey to get better and challenge myself to become better than he was.”

And it seems things have worked out just fine.

After four years of junior hockey and one year of collegiate hockey in Alberta, Bakken has had a very successful hockey career already. And after helping his Mount Royal squad to a league championship last year, he was very much at the top of his game.

But over this past summer, he decided it was time to focus on a school a bit more and fortunately for the Spartans, Trinity Western he destination of choice.

“Dwayne [Lowdermilk] contacted me and said he had a spot for me if I wanted to join,” Brad said. “Dwayne was definitely a big influence. He had nothing but good things to say about the guys and the school and the atmosphere. Dwayne told me that there are a lot of guys here that are really committed to excelling outside of hockey within their education so that was probably one of the biggest factors in me coming over.”

Right now Bakken is taking general studies but his ultimate goal, once his hockey career is over – and he’s not ruling out playing beyond TWU, is to become a pilot.

 And for Bakken, that sounds like just about the perfect job for this mild-mannered leader.

Just don’t wear your shoes into the cockpit.

Last Updated: 2011-10-14
Author: Mark Janzen