It had been about a dozen years since Cody and Trey Bradley last played together. One can only imagine the excitement when the brothers, almost exactly two years apart, took the ice at the start of this season as teammates at Colorado College.
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It was a moment that had been building for a couple of years since Trey committed to attend the school, which is in Colorado Springs. Cody, who is a senior and led the Tigers in scoring last season with 30 points, was eagerly anticipating his brother coming on board.
“It is exciting to be playing with him because I had not played with him since we were little,” said Cody, a center. “What is most exciting is that we have been able to be on a line together and things seem to be going pretty good. I know he is excited to be here and he wanted to come here for some time.”
Trey is a freshman forward who scored in his collegiate debut against visiting Massachusetts on Oct. 9. Through 16 games he led the team with nine points and was tied for the lead with five goals. That is not a bad way to start a career, especially for a player who simply wanted to see his name in the lineup.
“I wanted to make the lineup every game and have a strong start,” he said of his preseason goals, clearly accomplishing both. “I thought maybe I could get some power play time here and there if I deserved it. It has been great playing every night and playing with my brother on one of the top two lines.”
Being the older brother and having been on campus since the summer of 2012, Cody was sure to lay out the welcome mat and help Trey get acclimated to most everything having to do with being an athlete at what is a demanding academic institution.
“I want to try to set examples and make sure he is doing everything the right way,” said Cody, who is scheduled to graduate in the spring with a degree in economics. “You are playing a Division I sport and also going to class so it is important to manage your schoolwork and get everything done. You do not want to fall behind, and like any Division I athlete at any school, time management is important.”
Cody and Trey traversed similar paths en route to Colorado College. Both opted to leave the family home in Tampa to compete in a high-level high school environment and both played two seasons of juniors before heading to college.
Cody suited up for two teams in the United States Hockey League and Trey played for three teams, one in the North American Hockey League and two in the USHL.
Seeing them play together has been enjoyable for their parents. Their father, Brian, played all or part of 14 seasons in the NHL. He scored a career-high 42 goals for the expansion Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992-93 and retired with 182 goals.
“It is really a neat experience to see both the boys playing on the same team in Colorado,” said Brian, who for more than a decade has been a member of the Lightning’s community relations department. “It is fun for both of them to be on the same team. Trey could have gone to a few other schools and it was a touching moment for me and my wife, Carrie, to have Trey play with his brother. They love the program, they love the college and they are getting a great education.”
Cody and Trey have a great appreciation for the support and advice their parents have provided over the years. Cody referenced a discussion he had with Brian following ninth grade about moving away to pursue a higher level of play and how helpful and supportive Brian and Carrie have been every step of the way.
Trey embraces that same support system and feels that his father is the reason why he has made it this far.
“I definitely would not be here without him,” he said. “He taught me everything I know about hockey and how to handle myself off the ice. He went through everything and he knows all about the ups and downs. He understands because he went through all of these things before.”
Brian understands what it is like to play with a brother, as he did with Darryl for one season of junior hockey in Canada. In fact if he was living in Colorado he might have to step in and referee every now and then. After all, brothers will be brothers. Then again, Cody just may have everything under control.
“There are some ups and downs and we get into a little bit of being brothers,” said Trey, who also intends to pursue an economics degree. “Cody and I are close and he definitely lets me know if I am doing something wrong on or off the ice. He is tough sometimes, but it is all for a good reason. However, sometimes I have to give it right back to him on the bench.”
Brian and Carrie need not worry.
Above: Trey Bradley followed his older brother Cody to Colorado College and has the opportunity to play with his brother for the first time in more than 10 years (Courtesy Casey B. Gibson)
Middle: Cody Bradley helped his younger brother Trey adjust to college life and college hockey (Courtesy Casey B. Gibson)