He ended his junior career in style after moving from the Western Hockey League to the Ontario Hockey League and the Soo Greyhounds. And now at age 22, goalie Bailey Brkin is off to a good start in his first season of professional hockey.
Brkin, who took university classes and did not play any hockey during the 2020-2021 season due to the COVID-19 shutdown, began the current 2021-2022 campaign with the Quad City Storm of the Southern Professional Hockey League.
The 6-foot-2, 175 pound goalie posted sparkling numbers — an 8-1-1 record with a 1.97 goals against average and .937 save percentage with Quad City before being recently loaned to the Fort Wayne Komets of the higher level East Coast Hockey League.
Brkin stopped 24 of 26 shots for Fort Wayne in his ECHL debut.
Nicknamed the “Croatian Sensation” when he played for the Greyhounds in 2019-2020 — his dad, Zlatko Brkin, was born in Croatia — the slender goaltender was a standout in his one and only OHL season. By far the best goalie of any of the four who tended twine for the Greyhounds in ’19-20, Brkin had a 17-8-3 record with a 3.37 goals against average and .895 save percentage in a Soo uniform.
Hailing from Sherwood Park, Alberta, Brkin has taken a long and winding road during his high level hockey career, playing for four teams in the WHL — his best season was with the Spokane Chiefs — before ending up in the OHL and the Soo and now starting out his pro career.
And as the relentless warrior noted about his hockey path: “Not everybody has the perfect road to where they want to go.”
Well said, young man.
It takes a lot for any hockey player to reach whatever high achieving goals they might have. And in the case of Brkin, he has a history of not giving up — and then defying the odds.