Merrimack freshman Ben Brar was one of the top scorers in the British Columbia Hockey League last season. The Abbotsford native scored 61 points (35 goals, 26 assists) in 57 games with the Prince George Spruce Kings last season before adding 11 points in 17 playoff games, helping the Kings win the Fred Page Cup and the Doyle Cup en route to an RBC Cup appearance.
In fact, Brar not only led the Spruce Kings in goals last season, he led the team in goals during the 2017-18 season as well, showing a knack for the net. In 225 BCHL games over the last four seasons, Brar scored 85 goals and finished with 156 points.
Name: Ben Brar
Hometown: Abbotsford, B.C.
Last Team: Prince George (BCHL)
TMR: As you went through the recruiting process, why Merrimack?
Brar: “I’ve known Coach Borek for a few years now, as I’ve gone through the recruiting process, and I wanted to be a part of the new culture he is trying to bring here to Merrimack.”
TMR: Was there anything, in particular, you were looking for when you were looking at schools?
Brar: “Well I wanted to go somewhere there would be an opportunity for me to help the team right away. I wanted a situation where I could come in and hopefully make an impact and help the team wherever I can right away.”
TMR: This might be the most unique situation in the country in that regard.
Brar: “Exactly. It’s a unique opportunity and it’s one I am excited to be a part of.”
TMR: How would you describe your style?
Brar: “I think I am a 200-foot player. That’s what I want to be. I think I have a good scoring touch but I also get back and take care of things in the defensive zone as well. You have to be a 200-foot player.”
TMR: You guys had a great run last year in the playoffs. What was that experience like?
Brar: “It was a lot of fun. The biggest thing I learned from that experience was how much you have to take care of your body. Between the regular season and the playoffs, I think we played something like 80 games? To remain successful and play well when you are playing that much means you have to eat right and do the little things like stretching and getting a proper amount of sleep. Sometimes you have to just put your phone away and do the little things to take care of your body so you can play at a high level.”
TMR: That has to be hard to prepare for … your playoffs were almost another season, it’s so long.
Brar: “Yeah, exactly. It could have been a lot longer, too. I think we only lost one game in the BCHL playoffs, so if we lose a few more games and those series go longer, it’s even more games.”
TMR: You spent a lot of time in the BCHL. Where do you think your game grew most there?
Brar: “Our coaches in Prince George put a big premium on taking care of the little details and making sure you have good habits that are going to make a big difference in your game.
“Also, it’s never a bad idea to go to the net. We work in practice a lot about getting to the net because that’s where good things usually happen; you need to be in the right areas.”
TMR: There also seemed to be a premium in recruiting placed on recruiting guys who were team captains on their teams, and I know you were one. Is that something unique about this class?
Brar: “For sure. I think it helps us as a freshman group because we can all push ourselves. We’ve all been leaders in the past. I think it’s going to make for a great locker room.”