Senior captain Steve Braun has had quite a career with The Blue Hens. His Freshman year, The Blue Hens found immediate success. He was a key cog on a Blue Hen defense that won the national championship. His role grew as the Blue Hens continued to find their way into the playoffs. Finally, in his Senior year he was named team captain of the young, but promising Blue Hens.
Hockey started for Steve when he was only five years old. When growing up, his favorite player was Rangers legendary defenseman Brian Leetch, a champion himself. “I was a Rangers fan, growing up on Long Island” said Braun. “The player I envy the most is Brian Leetch. Part of the reason why I picked number 2 was because of him.”
It took a while for Braun to decide that hockey was the sport for him. “I played three different sports and I didn’t figure out that I wanted to play hockey till later in high school. It was kind of late for me.” The reason Steve chose hockey was the fact that it was quicker paced than either baseball or football. Braun said hockey “kept me more interested than baseball or football.”
When it came to deciding on a college to play for, Braun had plenty of options. “I had always known about University of Delaware cause there’s a lot of kids from my high school that went here. Also, when I was playing juniors, I had a lot of Div 3 offers but I didn’t really like the atmosphere. I had a friend who was on the team that I could talk to. I came down and took a tour of the school and got to look at their academics and really feel in love with the school.”
That decision ended up being a rewarding one for Braun, who won a national championship for The Blue Hens his first season. “It was just a crazy ride that year. We all clicked. I had a real good feeling going into my Freshman year with the group of guys we had. “
Once The Blue Hens got to the tournament, they knew they had as good a chance as anyone else to end up the victors. “I thought we were a good team but there were a lot of other good teams. I had no idea we were going to play the way we played throughout the tournament.”
Other than the national championship, Braun remembered one game in particular that tested the Blue Hens mettle. “There was a game against Ohio where we went into triple overtime. There were times where we thought we were out but we stuck it out somehow.”
After the win, The Blue Hens got a couple dominant victories, which eventually led them to the title game. The team was not happy finishing second, and knew they had to beat Oakland. Braun said that the team “knew then it was our time to win.”
They not only won, but won in convincing fashion. They managed to score the first four goals of the game in route to a 5-1 victory.
It was hard for Braun to put the victory into words, but tried to describe it as “the best feeling. After we won it was insane.”
Fast-forward to today, and Steve Braun is now the veteran leader on a young team. Braun sees a team that can go deep into nationals, and he stressed the importance of the senior leadership if the young team is to get that far. “It’s very important for us to set a good example for the Freshmen, the Sophomores and even the Juniors. We need them to know we are good leaders and can lead them to a really good team.”
When pressed on a rival throughout his time with the Blue Hens, Braun pointed towards Rhode Island as his main adversary. “We always have a really big rivalry with Rhode Island. Its been here since I’ve been here and I’m sure its been here since before I’ve been here.”
By: Tyler Fitzpatrick