Penticton – one of them is a burly young defensive man, handsome as only a Swede can be, and his stride as smooth as the roads his father designs as a civil engineer back home.
The other is a hillside kid, as comfortable in the saddle of a mountain bike as with a fly rod in his grip. It’s a left wing from the tiny Bragg Creek, Alta. , raised by eventual helicopter parents Bruce and Tori Holloway – they fly skiers up the mountain all winter, helping put out wildfires in the summer months.
Philip Broberg and Dylan Holloway are the hallmark of the hat era: two young men, two decades at the entry level, who can help a befuddled team in the championship.
Ken Holland, general manager of Edmonton Oilers, put it simply: A point on Edmonton’s blue streak is for Bruberg to lose, while Holloway will have to earn a spot among the top 12 strikers. With Holloway still only 20 years old, GM won’t let him stumble into the NHL press box when he could play the best minutes in the MLS.
So it’s fairly simple, isn’t it? Their chance is waiting for you, starting here at the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton. All they have to do is seize the moment.
“I certainly don’t think it’s easy to be the right person at the right time. I will do everything in my power to try to earn a place here, as I said, youngster,” said Holloway before the Oilers’ opener in Penticton, 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets starters. Younger has some kind of lower knot.”
Evander Kane will play on the left side alongside Conor McDavid when the National Hockey League season begins, and Zack Hyman or Ryan Nugent Hopkins will surround Leon Drystle. Warren Foegele returns on the left side, has 282 games and four NHL seasons at young Holloway.
However, there is still room in the inn if Holloway can make his way up the list.
And if this is a job Holloway faces, well, he has some digging experience. His first summer job was to clean pastures back home. “I basically washed up the horse droppings.”
He worked for Carl’s Jr. We were chopping trees and chopping firewood. People love to come to Bragg Creek to go camping, so we sell them firewood.”
Today’s player is more like Bruberg, the son of two well-educated former professional athletes. Fewer and fewer are reaching the NHL via the back roads as Holloway did, from a town with no small hockey system that was the only outdoor rink.
Broberg came through the Swedish ranks as the back-keeper whose superior strides gave him every advantage, classic defender Tres Kronor, an export that country has mastered, captained his World Junior team in 2021. At six feet three, he added 12 pounds this summer on Hope to be able to defend with some extra powers at the NHL level.
“I feel like the field is ready for this year. I’ve been working really hard this summer, so I feel good,” Bruberg said.
He’ll enter on the left side in Edmonton behind six-foot by four-foot nurse Darnell and Brett Colack, and the plan is that the Oilers can have a pair of trees in the top 4 some day soon.
But like Holloway, you’re told there’s a job waiting for you, and in fact, grabbing that ring can be very different things.
The physical aspect has been taken care of, but the mental aspect? You will soon find out.
“You are getting stronger and more physically ready to play, but you have to be there mentally. You have to be able to believe that you deserve to be there. That you are good enough to be there.”
In a team that lost a left-footed shot to Swede Oscar Clevboom to a shoulder injury towards the end of his career, Broberg arrived like the perfect replacement part. The new Volvo, which may not be the same as the old one, but may end up being better.
What kind of defenseman does Broberg want to be?
“A big part of my game is to be a two-way defense,” he said. “I want to be trustworthy in Zone D. I want the coach to trust me defensively, play big minutes and play fast. And then the insult will come through my skate.”
Broberg played 23 games last season. It is ahead of Holloway.
However, the moment had come for both of them.
Which one can seize the moment?