HOCKEY JOURNEY

Bryan Rodney is a recently retired Professional Hockey Player.  Born and raised in London, Ontario, Bryan began his hockey career with the London Junior Knights and soon found himself playing up a year with the Major Novice AAA team.  Bryan spent his entire minor hockey career as captain of his Jr. Knights AAA team and collected several league championships along the way.  These formative years were the building blocks to a career which saw him reach hockey's highest level - the NHL. 

 

In 1999, Bryan's junior career did not begin as he had hoped.  For the first time in his life he was cut by his hometown London Nationals forcing him to find another junior team to call home.  The town of St. Mary's, Ontario and the Jr. B Lincolns of the Western Ontario Hockey League (now the GOJHL) quickly became Bryan's new team for his first season as an under age player (age 15).  Bryan's early setback turned out to be a blessing in disguise as hockey was about to teach him the first of many life lessons; it's not always about playing on the best team, but playing on the team that's best for you.  The St. Mary's Lincolns didn't win many games that year but Bryan was given the opportunity to play a lot of minutes in all situations.  At the end of his first junior season Bryan was named the Western Jr.B Most Valuable Rookie Defenseman and a Rookie First Team All-Star.  This success translated into being selected in the first round of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) draft, 18th overall, by the Brian Kilrea led Ottawa 67's.

 

August 2000 saw Bryan move away from home to pursue his dream of playing hockey professionally.  In his first year in the OHL Bryan was part of an Ottawa 67's team that captured the J. Ross Robertson Cup given to the OHL playoff champion each season.  This led to Bryan's first experience at the CHL Memorial Cup; laying the foundation for one of his career's greatest accomplishments.  After the 2000-01 season Bryan represented Hockey Canada for the first time at the U17 Hockey Challenge as part of team Ontario. 

 

In 2001 Bryan was acquired by the Kingston Frontenacs and shortly thereafter diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.  This realization derailed Bryan's hopes for the NHL draft that summer.  After going undrafted in the summer of 2002 Bryan went to work on proving critics wrong.  In the following two years Bryan amassed 136 points (19-117) in 134 games and led all OHL defenseman in scoring in 2003-04 with 76 points (11-65) while only missing two games after his life changing diagnosis. 

 

In the summer of 2004 Bryan was acquired by his hometown London Knights for his over-age season.  At the time London had been awarded the right to host their first CHL Memorial Cup.  Led by future NHL superstar Corey Perry and with 9 other future NHLers on the roster, Bryan was now part of what would turn out to be one of the most prolific major junior hockey teams in the history of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL).  The Knights went undefeated for 31 consecutive games to begin the season, setting a new CHL record, and maintained top spot in the weekly CHL rankings for the entire season.  As part of the London Knights Bryan finished top 4 in OHL defenseman scoring for the third consecutive season and hoisted the J. Ross Robertson Cup for a second time; defeating the Ottawa 67's in 5 games in the league final.  The season's crowning jewel came in May 2005 when the London Knights defeated the Sidney Crosby led Rimouski Oceanic 4-0 in the final of the CHL Memorial Cup.  Winning the Memorial Cup with the London Knights in his hometown was a dream come true! 

 

In 2005, coming off the high of a Memorial Cup Championship, Bryan's foray into professional hockey had a similarly auspicious start.  Bryan started the season with the East Cost Hockey League (ECHL) Charlotte Checkers seeing brief action in 8 games with the AHL Hartford Wolfpack before spending the rest of the season in the ECHL.  2006-07 saw Bryan spend the entire season at the ECHL level.  Undeterred Bryan perservered, after again starting the 2007-08 season in the ECHL Bryan made the most of an emergency call up by the AHL Albany River Rats after their roster was decimated by the flu.  Realizing the magnitude of this opportunity after almost 2 and a half seasons in the ECHL Bryan excelled in his first few games with Albany and quickly became an AHL regular for the remainder of the 2007-08 season and playoffs.  That year, after leading the Albany River Rats in playoff scoring, Bryan signed his first NHL contract with the Carolina Hurricanes. 

 

In 2008-09 Bryan started the season in the AHL with Albany.  After strong play to start the season the pinnacle accomplishment of Bryan's career came December 11, 2008 when he made his NHL debut for the Carolina Hurricanes in Philadelphia against the Flyers.  That season saw Bryan appear in 8 NHL regular season games; recording his first NHL point with an assist on February 3, 2009 in a road game against the Vancouver Canucks.  Over parts of the next two season Bryan would serve as captain of the AHL Charlotte Checkers and ice in 22 regular season games for the Hurricanes learning from coaches like Paul Maurice, Peter Laviolette and Ron Francis.  In 2011, after captaining the Charlotte Checkers to the AHL Calder Cup finals, Bryan was acquired in a trade by the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for former NHL first round pick Ryan O'Marra.  Bryan played 1 game for the Oilers that season making his most significant contribution as a member of the AHL Calder Cup finalist Oklahoma City Barons.  In the following two seasons Bryan would ice for the AHL Manchester Monarchs and Miluakee Admirals; signing his final NHL contract in 2013 with the Nashville Predators. 

 

 In 2014 after a successful season with the AHL Miluakee Admirals Bryan turned his focus to professional hockey overseas.  During his tenure in Europe Bryan played elite level European hockey in Austria (2014-15) and the Czech Repbulic (2015-16). 

 

Seventeen years later, after long odds, a few setbacks and several memorable stops Bryan has now chosen to start a new chapter in his life.  Ready to focus on his young family and give back to hockey's youth paying forward the tremendous life experience he feels so fortunate to have gained as an elite level professional hockey player. 

FUN FACTS:

 

Bryan scored his 1st NHL goal vs. WSH. In the same game John Carlson also scored his 1st NHL goal. 

Both are London Knights alumni who wore #74.

 

Bryan tallied the primary assist on Rod Brind'Amour's last NHL goal.

 

Bryan was the brainchild of the London Knights "house of green" during the 2005 OHL playoffs and Memorial Cup.

The House of Green is still used to this day by the London Knights during the OHL playoffs.

 

 

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