Through the first four rounds of the NHL Entry Draft, the Brodzinski house in Ham Lake was on edge, waiting to hear the names of brothers Jonny and Michael come across the television.
The pair, along with their younger brother, Easton, and parents, Kathy and Mike, waited through the first 140 selections on NHL Network June 30 before a family friend called Mike to congratulate his son, Michael, on being the 141st pick or 20th selection of the fifth round by San Jose.
Jonny, who is 23 months older, added the icing on the cake when he was selected by the Los Angeles Kings seven picks later.
“It was a pretty weird day,” said Mike Brodzinski, the father, said going from waiting for the selection to both being drafted so close together.
“We had a delay on the TV and Michael walked outside because he was frustrated and the next [pick] was him so Jonny ran out to tell him,” he said.
After some celebrating around the house, it was back to work for both. Jonny returned to St. Cloud to continue off-season training sessions, while Michael continued summer classes after a morning skating session at the University of Minnesota.
According to Brodzinski, “Let’s Play Hockey” Publisher Doug Johnson did some research and the brothers were the first non-twins taken in the same round of a draft.
“It feels awesome. I’m still kind of speechless,” Michael said Monday afternoon after class. “We were all freaking out and then to see Jonny’s go a couple picks later was pretty exciting.”
Jonny added, “It was definitely exciting to go in the same round as my brother.”
He had an idea it was going to come down to Montreal or Los Angeles, Jonny said. “It was kind of a waiting game and if I wasn’t drafted it wasn’t the end of the world,” he said. “I was going round by round and I’m happy to be drafted by such a good organization.”
Being taken after his younger brother didn’t disappoint Jonny. “Michael was projected to go a lot higher and even if I beat him by one shot in golf he’s a hot-head so I know he’ll give some crap for a while,” he said.
Brodzinski and his sons said their phones were constantly going off into the early morning hours.
“I was answering texts until 1:30 [a.m.],” said Brodzinski, a proud St. Cloud State University alumnus, while Michael’s Twitter account shot up from 500 to 800 followers as the night moved along.
“It’s a pretty surreal deal though,” Brodzinski said. “You hope they get to play high school hockey and progress from there.
“And possibly to the best junior league in the world in the USHL and possibly college. That’s why you started to dream and to reach that goal too, [NHL draftee] is the icing on the cake, but they both have a lot of work left to do.”
Jonny, the Huskies leading goal scorer (22) had 33 points in 42 games and led NCAA Division 1 hockey with a player rating of plus 28. The sophomore joins teammates Nic Dowd and Kevin Gravel as Kings’ draft picks and will take part in a developmental camp July 7-12.
Two of Jonny’s first texts were to Dowd and Gravel, first to thank them for their well-wishes about joining the Kings, then to call for the window seat on the flight to developmental camp.
Jonny said he’s setting himself up to elevate his entire game, including quickness with the three remaining collegiate seasons left at St. Cloud.
To do so, he’s practicing on the ice three days per week and heading back to Ham Lake each weekend.
Michael hasn’t heard from the Sharks about developmental camp so he’s focusing on the transition from the United States Hockey League’s Muskegon (Mich.) Lumberjacks to the University of Minnesota blue line.
While in Michigan, Michael completed high school at Mona Shores High School and said the class sizes were significantly smaller than Blaine.
He had 17 assists and 33 points in 61 games in his only season in the USHL. Michael finished with 153 shots and a plus-10 rating, second best for the Lumberjacks in each category.
His hard shot and offensive ability from the blue line were two reasons the Sharks were looking at him, Michael said.
“I know I have a long road ahead of me to get [to the NHL],” he said.
He said overall speed, footwork and strength were areas he’s working on the most this summer before joining the same collegiate level as Jonny.
Michael was also invited to take part in USA Hockey’s World Juniors tryout camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., in August. “That’s also a huge honor and I’m really glad they selected me,” he said.