CALGARY, AB — Returning to where you start your career is always an emotional experience for players.
Brandon Goodwin, a member of the Buffalo Bandits as recently as two weeks ago, expected to be part of Buffalo’s home opener festivities.
And he will, on the opponent’s bench.
“I don’t know if it will be weird,” Goodwin said. “I’ll be looking forward to it. It’s going to be interesting. They’re still a good team, as are we. It’s more just nerves of playing against the guys that I’ve been practicing with for the last year. I’m looking forward to it, but it’ll be nerve racking being on the other side of the bench.”
When Goodwin was traded to the Calgary Roughnecks on Dec. 28, he wasn’t given a lot of time to adjust. He practiced with the team for the first time three days later.
The whirlwind experience continued when he played in the Roughnecks home opener on Jan. 2.
His new coach, Curt Malawsky was pleased with his performance and expects him to keep getting better.
“I thought he was good,” Malawsky said. “He’s a western guy that I’m very familiar with. He can play at both end of the floor. I think he’ll be the first one to tell you that he needs to be in a bit better shape. That’ll make a difference. When you see Brandon Goodwin fit and contributing, he’ll be even better.”
That familiarity is mutual.
“I’ve grown up playing against Curt so I know his style and the way he runs his team and I’ve got nothing but respect for him,” Goodwin said. “The team we have is an incredibly tight team and it’s one of the most talented teams I’ve been apart of. I can’t be more thankful to be apart of it.”
Goodwin will bring a similar skill set to the Necks as the man that he was traded for, but with one obvious difference.
While Mitch de Snoo, the Roughnecks second-round pick in the NLL draft, was entirely a defensive transition player, Goodwin can, if necessary, play out of the front door. That was one of the reasons the Roughnecks were interested in acquiring his services.
“We targeted him and he’s going to be part of the organization,” Malawsky explained. “He’s going to be that swing guy that can go up front if we get a guy nicked up on that left side. His importance to this team will be invaluable. He just needs to know that we’re there for him and he needs to get himself ready to play.”
While he was happy to join a talented, young Riggers team, it was difficult to say goodbye to his former club.
Having lived with some teammates in Buffalo almost year round, Goodwin had forged strong bonds with the team and his teammates, which makes leaving more difficult.
“It was hard,” Goodwin admitted. “I lived with a couple of guys over there. It was definitely tough leaving those guys. I had some pretty strong relationships there. I had a great time there, the coaching staff was great, and the team treated me like gold. So it was not easy leaving there.”