For 6’3”, 196-lb goaltender Garret Hughson, a native of Foremost and the latest addition to the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s South Division leading Brooks Bandits (29-6-2), that couldn’t be more true. After having a bad start to the year with the Western Hockey League’s Spokane Chiefs — a team he had been with since the 2012-13 season (0-2-1, .833 save percentage) — he was released and picked up on the waiver wire by the Niagara Ice Dogs in late October.Then he was immediately traded to the Windsor Spitfires for a draft pick. For those keeping score, that’s 3,337 km from Spokane Wash. to Windsor, Ont. Now he’s back in Alberta in Brooks near his hometown (150 km from Foremost) and couldn’t be happier. “It feels really good to come home and be part of a great team (and) great organization ... (the players) have been good since I got here,” explains a tired, yet relieved-sounding Hughson Jan. 5, who had only arrived in Brooks that morning. “It’ll be fun with family being able to come watch me.” A big goalie, Hughson is different physically than current starter Josh Davies (5’11, 165 lbs) or even current backup Jonathon Reinhart (6’0”, 175 lbs). Hughson says he likes to play out and doesn’t like being jammed in the crease too much. Bandits’ Coach and General Manager Ryan Papaioannou is excited to have Hughson. “He’s a guy who we’ve been keeping tabs on since his days in midget (in Medicine Hat). He took the path with the Western Hockey League and when the opportunity came up, we wanted to get him here,” explains Papaioannou. We like his size at 6’3” and he is considerably bigger than anyone we have now and he has big time experience and he has been on the big stage with Spokane.” In rodeo circles, travelling is all part of the sport. Going from town to town, it’s not uncommon for a competitor to drive amongst three provinces to get to three different events in one weekend. This is a probably a good thing for Hughson who participated in a rodeo or two in his time as a roper and has a slew of family who have also participated. His brother Kale is in novice riding and his dad Vane Hughson was a saddle bronc champion in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association in the mid-eighties. Garret understands travelling long distances to compete in sports that one loves. As Spokane’s starter in 2014-15, he played in 53 games and went 23-23-4 with a 2.80 goals against average and .902 save percentage. Before that, he was in 48 combined games in the prior two seasons and went 18-13-2 with a combined .892 save percentage. In March 2015, he was the Western Hockey League’s Goaltender of the Week. In total, he had four shutouts with Spokane. Hughson noted one of the reasons he quickly blended with his new teammates is they are of the same mindset as they are all championship-focused as many of them won’t be around next season. A whopping 15 Bandits are committed to play in the United States with NCAA Division I institutions next season anywhere from the University of Vermont, Colgate, Cornell, University of Massachusetts and even Arizona State to name a few. “We have the same mindset,” explains Hughson about winning now. “It’s great to have a good team in front of you and just worry about playing your game.” To read the full article CLICK HEREGDI President Ryan Cyr is the goaltending coach of the Spokane Chiefs. Hughson also traveled to Winnipeg to work with GDI during 1v1 lessons at The Rink Training Centre.