Bryce Walcarius Experiences Whirlwind Season, That Starts And Ends In Success

Bryce Walcarius

Bryce Walcarius – Photo by the Chatham Maroons

Things don’t always go as planned. Bryce Walcarius entered the 2019-2020 GOJHL season with one plan in mind.

He had just been drafted in the U18 OHL Draft by the Erie Otters after a spectacular Major Midget ‘AAA’ season with the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs. He had signed with the powerhouse, and reigning champion London Nationals, and started the season with an impressive 8-2 record.

Then, things changed. He was traded to the Chatham Maroons.

“I was definitely not expecting to get traded this year, especially going into the season with a team like we had in London, we had a solid record and I thought based upon my record that I was in a good spot with the team,” said Walcarius.

“But they wanted an older goaltender so there was nothing that I could really do at that point except to believe in my abilities and wait for an offer to be made, and thankfully the Maroons were interested in me and made and offer to London to acquire me.”

When Walcarius first came to Chatham, the crease wasn’t any clearer. Chatham had already gone through young netminders Tiago Rocha and Noah Zeppa, and had veteran goalies Kevin Linker and Darian McTavish in the mix.

“The coaching staff in Chatham was very good with communicating to me what their expectations and goals were for me this season, and were very open and responsive whenever I had questions about what was going on and what they were thinking for moving forward in the short term and long term for the team. Since I had been off for a while prior to the trade, the coaching staff thought it would be best to let me get some practice time and extra ice time in before getting me more starts with the team, along with adjusting to my new teammates.”

For Walcarius, who started the season on such a high, the waiting and watching wasn’t easy.

“Mentally it wasn’t easy not getting playing time when I got traded to the team, but I just had to keep going with my schedule, working out and giving my full effort in practices, and wait until the opportunity came my way. If you had told me during the last off-season that I would be traded from London to Chatham during this season, I wouldn’t have believed it, but it’s just how junior hockey works, and you just have to believe in yourself and your capabilities and keep pushing to be the best that you can be.”

Soon enough, that patience turned into starts for Walcarius, who won four straight starts in the final month of the season helping Chatham build momentum heading toward the playoffs. It was confidence Walcarius was showing, much like he’d built from the previous season.

“Last year’s season with the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs Major Midget team really did a lot for my confidence in myself and my ability to play,” he said, pointing to Elgin’s coaching staff, his selection in the U18 OHL Draft, and his teammates as keys to his success leading into this year.

Now that the whirlwind season is over, Walcarius is setting his sights on a strong offseason, leading into a smooth transition into a winning season.

“My goals for this offseason are to continue to train and become stronger and continue to develop my game. There are always areas of your game that you can improve on, so my plan is to work on all of the aspects of my game, so that by the time next season comes around, I’ll be better as a whole and won’t skip a beat jumping into the season.”

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