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Brantford plays big factor in hockey pro’s success

Community ProfileBrantford plays big factor in hockey pro's success

For Michael Crocock hockey has been a way of life. It has opened up countless doors in areas of academics, professional growth, and an opportunity to make life-long friends. And it all began right here in Brantford. Crocock explains, “I started playing from a very young age and I did the Timbits program. I remember one of my first fun hockey memories was winning the Wayne Gretzky tournament title a long time ago now [and then] playing in Branford right up until minor midget. I gained so many lifelong friends from playing here. So, Branford means everything to me and I’m really proud to come from here.”

Crocock, who has played defense throughout his junior and professional career, continues, “I was fortunate enough to be called up to the Brantford Golden Eagles [and] being able to play Junior in my hometown. I really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed having family at the games.” Crocock then had a chance to continue his hockey dream when he joined the Welland Canadians. “[Along with] making a lot of new friends and having a really good season that year; I learned how to take care of myself living away from home.”

Michael Crocock is in action with Sacred Heart University of the Atlantic Hockey Association – Division 1 of the NCAA. Photo courtesy Sacred Heart University.

Crocock then went on to play at Sacred Heart University on a scholarship. “I was recruited [by] another Brantford hockey player who was the assistant coach at the time. I received a scholarship to go to Sacred Heart to play NCAA division one hockey, which was a goal of mine at that point. Crocock continues, “I was named Captain, my junior year and it was a huge honor [and] something that I take great pride in.” Along with his on-ice success, Crocock excelled academically earning his degree in finance and management.

Michael Crocock captained Sacred Heart University for multiple seasons and blossomed into a dedicated leader. Photo courtesy Sacred Heart University.

After graduation, Crocock jumped around several leagues until he signed a professional contract with the Guildford Flames of the EIHL.  Crocock discusses his initial signing with the team. “I got a call from my agent midway through one of my seasons and he said [there was] a great opportunity for me to go over to Europe, and play in England. And I jumped on it. I didn’t know too much about the town or the team. But I couldn’t be happier with that decision. I love playing over there and love to play for Guilford. The fans are amazing. The coaching staff is great.”

However, Crocock, who just signed on for a 3rd season with the Flames, notes his thoughts on playing for a team based in the United Kingdom. “England is of course known as a big soccer country. But I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of support that the fans have for hockey there. A lot of them know the game. And they show up every night and they cheer and they have a lot of fun.”

Michael Crocock making a play while with the Guildford Flames. He has provided the team with strong on and off-ice leadership for the past several seasons. Photo courtesy Guildford Flames.

Along with his flourishing professional hockey career, Crocock has been working as an instructor and mentor to future hockey players in the local area. Crocock notes, “My dad owns a small hockey rink here in Branford called the Crow’s Nest. I have been working for him for many years and I’ve been very fortunate to learn how to not only improve my game but learn how to be a coach and learn how to mentor the other kids in the Branford area.”

Crocock also works as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the Athlete Farm Training run by Luke and Taylor Van Moerkerke. Crocock says, “We do strength and conditioning for kids in Brantford [as well as] skills practices over the summer months. I think it’s been helping a lot of local area kids and their careers.” However, Crocock initially started at the Athlete Farm Training as a client.  “I started training with Luke when he first opened close to 10 years ago. I come back every summer and train with him. It has had a huge impact on my game and I haven’t had any major injuries and I’ve gotten a lot stronger.”

Michael Crocock has had a solid pro career, especially with the Guildford Flames of the EIHL, however, he is looking to be a Firefighter after his playing days are over. Photo courtesy Guildford Flames.

Along with training, coaching, and playing professional hockey, Crocock also has put significant work into becoming a firefighter when his playing days are through including earning his NFPA 1001 Level I-II in Fire Science & Firefighting. Crocock notes, “I have been getting my certifications and networking with the different firefighters to learn as much as I can…I’m ready to fully commit to it [and] I am really looking forward to that aspect of my life.”

Crocock is now back in Brantford after the completion of the Guildford Flames’ season. Crocock says, “I’m home for the summer right now to train and get ready for the upcoming season… [I am also] working with some of the younger players throughout Brantford region [and] working on their game [which will] hopefully have a positive impact on not only their careers, but their lives going forward.” Crocock continues, “It’s something that they’ll look back on and be very proud of for the work that they’ve put in time and effort that they’ve sacrificed to be able to get to where they want to go and achieve their dreams. I think just being able to be around for that throughout the summer months is really special for me.”

Michael Crocock celebrates a goal while playing for the Reading Royals of the ECHL. Crocock spent two seasons with the Royals before signing with the Flames. Photo courtesy Reading Royals.

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