Off The Beaten Path: Broussard’s well-traveled success story
Not exactly a hockey hotbed, Fayetteville, North Carolina is best known for producing a long line of NFL football stars and the odd baseball player.
Daniel Broussard is one of just a handful of former OHLers to come out of the Tar Heel State, joining Winston-Salem’s Patrick O’Sullivan (Mississauga, 2001-05), Indian Trail’s Bryan Moore (Sarnia/Sault Ste. Marie, 2012-15), and more recently Raleigh’s Josh Wesley (Plymouth/Flint/Niagara, 2013-16) in taking the path less traveled.
After falling in love with street hockey as a kid, Broussard eventually took his game to the ice and remained enamoured with the sport while his childhood friends spent their evenings playing baseball and Pop Warner Football.
Like so many hockey parents, dad Brad, a former college basketball player at Seton Hall who works as an orthopedic surgeon and wife Maria, a stay-at-home mom, put a lot of time into Broussard’s playing career. That investment would soon pay off.
“When I turned 14 I moved to Atlanta to billet and play hockey with the TPH Thunder program,” Broussard reflected. “I learned a lot about life and the game in those years playing for Uwe Krupp. Having a Stanley Cup champion as my mentor really helped shape me as a player.”
Broussard became fast friends with Krupp’s son Bjorn and together the two competed for TPH in the 2007 OHL Cup alongside other future OHL players in Andrew Yogan (Windsor/Erie/Peterborough), Tyler Hostetter (Erie Otters) and Zach Tatrn (Peterborough Petes).
The two made the leap to the Ontario Hockey League a year later, but not before garnering interest from a number of American college programs.
“I had a fair bit of interest from schools,” he said. “My parents and I took the time to educate ourselves and looked at the options in front of us and it became clear that the OHL was the best path for us.
“Fast track a few years later and not only did I get to have the full OHL experience in Sarnia and Ottawa, but I took advantage of my Education Package and played three years at the University of Guelph where I made some great friendships and we won an OUA Championship in my last season.”
Broussard would play four OHL seasons with the Sting and 67’s from 2008-12, recording five goals, 31 assists and 36 points in 218 career regular season games. His three-year playing career at Guelph also featured a third place finish at the U SPORTS National Men’s Hockey Championship in 2015.
Now 26, he’s wrapping up his first season as the OHL’s Director of Player Recruitment and has enjoyed helping both young prospects and graduating veterans on their journey through life and the game.
“It’s been great to meet our Priority Selection prospects and their families, to hear their stories and be with them through this process,” he said. “I’ve also had a great time with our guys on the other end of their OHL careers; the overage players and veterans who are moving on to a new chapter after this season.”
With Overage Professional Development Day initiatives and the continual growth of the OHL Alumni Association, Broussard says resources are right at the fingertips of the league’s graduating veterans.
“We’re really trying to build a strong network of OHL graduates who are established professionals,” he said. “We’ve got guys who are firefighters, police officers, lawyers, CEO’s and in the OHL Alumni Association we’re all looking to help each other.”
Broussard, who served as team captain in his final year with the Guelph Gryphons, says his OHL tenure developed him just as much off the ice as it did on it.
“Once my playing career was over and it came time to find a job, I found that my time in the OHL and years at Guelph afterward equipped me with a lot of qualities that are attractive to employers,” he noted. “Things such as leadership ability and time management skills were valuable as I transitioned into my professional career.”
Now that professional career is centred on helping young men navigate their way into the Ontario Hockey League and out the other side, whether that’s into the NHL, into University or into the workforce.
By the sounds of it, he couldn’t be happier.
“Doing this every day, working with people who are passionate about hockey and pursuing lifelong success in the process, that’s something I’ll gladly wake up to each morning.”