Brayden Boies, 10, of Auburn played goalie for the Boston Jr. Bruins at the Brick Invitational Hockey Tournament in Edmonton, Alberta, earlier this month. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Brayden Boies played the game of a lifetime in a 7-0 loss, and it led to an incomparable experience for the 10-year-old goalie from Auburn.

Boies made 41 saves on 48 shots for the Maine Lumberjacks travel hockey team against the Boston Junior Bruins Black team at the Shamrock Elite Invitational in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, in early April. While in the end the game was a blowout, Boies had shut out the Jr. Bruins for much of the game, until he got exhausted towards the end of the second half (games were 20-minute halves) and the Bruins started finding the back of the net.

“I felt good and I knew I played really good,” Boies said. “I just thought about (how) I almost had 50 shots (taken on me), so it’s pretty good to have 41 saves.”

Shortly after the tournament, Boies’ family got a call from the Jr. Bruins saying they wanted him to try out for their 2012-birth-year Brick Invitational Hockey Tournament team.

The Brick Hockey Invitational Tournament has been running since 1990 and involves 14 teams across North America for the 10-year-old age group. It takes place at the West Edmonton Mall — the second largest mall in North America — in Edmonton, Alberta.

“They reached out to us after the (Shamrock) tournament and said (they) would like to take another look at him and have him come to one of their practices,” said Ryan Boies, Brayden’s dad. “We made the trip to Marlborough, Massachusetts, and he did really well at the practice and scrimmages that they did.”


A few weeks later, the Jr. Bruins phoned to say Brayden he made the team for the prestigious tournament.

“(The Jr. Bruins) tried to explain what the Brick Tournament was, but it wasn’t until we got there (that we saw how big it was),” Ryan said. “They treat the kids like they are NHL players — they wear player badges — and you can’t go into certain areas unless you are a player. It was an amazing opportunity he had.”

Brayden Boies points to his name on the wall at the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta that has every kid who has played in the Brick Tournament. Submitted photo

The West Edmonton Mall has a wall with the name of every player who has ever played in the Brick Tournament. Some of the names included are NHL stars like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner (Brayden’s favorite player), Steven Stamkos, PK Subban, and Johnny Gaudreau, as well as other players who have played minor league, college or junior hockey.

Brayden and Jr. Bruins teammate Ethan Welch of Falmouth become the second and third known Mainers to compete in the tournament. The first was Oliver Wahlstrom of Yarmouth. The current New York Islanders player played for the Toronto Bulldogs in 2010.

Brayden’s mother, Sarena, said the family didn’t hesitate to accept the invitation, even with the five-hour round-trip car rides to and from Marlborough for practices. They traveled across the East coast and Montreal to prepare for the Brick Tournament.

“I think, initially, we were so proud of him that there was no hesitation,” Sarena said. “It was a long three months, and towards the end, my biggest fear was he would get burnt out of hockey. A lot of five-hour round trips for one hour of ice-time. We just tried to make it as special as we could for him.”


Before the Brick tournament began, the NHL Boston Bruins gave good luck messages to the Jr. Bruins. One came from captain Patrice Bergeron and Brayden got a personal message from goaltender Jeremy Swayman.

“His advice was to stay confident and just have fun when I am there (at the Brick Tournament),” Brayden said.

Brayden wants to follow in Swayman’s footsteps and play at the University of Maine. Swayman kept in touch with Brayden throughout the summer.

“For my 10th birthday, he gave me a happy birthday wish,” Brayden said. “It was the second time (he messaged me), it was so cool to have him reach out. I really like that when he does that.”

The Brick began on July 4 and Brayden played in two of the Jr. Bruins’ six games. He made 18 saves in a 3-0 loss to the British Columbia Canucks on July 6. He stopped 15 shots in a 3-1 win over Team Pennsylvania on July 7.

Brayden said he enjoyed playing in a mall and enjoyed competing against players from across North America.


“It was a lot harder competition, but I got used to it after the practices,” Brayden said.

Sarena said she was filled with nerves during the tournament.

“I was told by other parents that I handled it very well as being a goalie parent,” Sarena said. “But, I feel like I was an anxious mess the entire time, but I held it together.”

Brayden finished the tournament as the 11th ranked goalie, out of 28, with a 2.03 goals-against-average and a .892 save percentage. The Jr. Bruins finished the tournament 2-4.

The experience didn’t burn out Brayden, but his parents have kept him off the ice since the tournament ended. He’s eager to get back on the ice in August.

Brayden summed up his experience at the Brick with a simple statement: “It was amazing.”

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