ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - It might be a different level of hockey, different league, and a different country but the University of Alaska Anchorage freshman Brayden Camrud feels like playing at UAA was meant to be.
The freshman made his way to Alaska after playing junior hockey for the Humboldt Bronco’s, Camrud was one of 13 survivors of the tragic April 6, 2018 crash that killed 16 in Canada.
The Broncos were green and gold as well, from the team's color to a special shirt his mom found last summer, all signs pointed to Anchorage for Camrud.
“She found an Anchorage t-shirt in one of the old junk drawers it was an extra small, baby one,” said Camrud. “We had no idea where it came from, how it even got in there, but it was there my mom was like there is no way this isn’t God telling you something.”
From game one Camrud's been a difference-maker for the Seawolves with a goal, two assists, and a game-winning shootout goal against Alabama Huntsville.
“He plays with an edge,” said UAA assistant hockey coach Mark Phalon.
Heading into the 2019-20 season the Seawolves were desperate for offense, and that’s exactly what Phalon was looking for when he recruited Camrud at Humboldt last season.
“We needed some offense, and he’s proven scorer everywhere he’s been,” said Phalon
Camrud enjoyed his best statistical season in 2018-19 for Humboldt, but the weight of the crash months prior took its tool.
“It was a little tough sometimes, one of the first time I stepped back out on the ice it felt really lonely and empty,” said Camrud. “Felt like there was a void, and something needed to be filled.”
His motivation was his former teammates.
“Knowing that they’d want me to keep going,” said Camrud. “Being a part of the program that helped me cement my junior hockey career it was really special to finish there.”
The 21-year-old from Saskatoon, Canada has strong ties to his home town and said his family was huge in helping him get through last season. This year he’s began to form a new family with his teammates, especially his fellow freshman.
“Were realty tight, we spend a lot of time together, were not really locked away in our rooms, socializing with one another, playing games or talking about hockey,” said Camrud.
That chemistry off the ice can be seen on the ice as the team has been able to score 20 goals this season, they scored 40 goals last season, and a large part of that scoring coming from freshmen like Camrud, Nick Wicks and Rylee St. Onge.
Camrud acknowledged the struggles of the UAA hockey program in the past and said he wants to be part of the solution.
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