HHS golfer feels benefits from years of playing hockey
May 8, 2012 • Patrick Miller, Sports Editor
Filed under Sports
Howell High School senior Andrew Brownlee has been on the hockey rink as long as he can remember.
“When I was four years old, I would watch my dad play in his men’s hockey league. I thought it was pretty cool, and I definitely wanted to give it a try.”
This experience marked the beginning of something special.
At age six, he joined the Adams program at Grand Oaks to learn how to skate. He really enjoyed it and decided to take up the game of hockey.
Since his younger years, Brownlee has opened many eyes and turned several heads on the ice.
He made one of the best Triple A travel teams in the state, the Lansing Capitals, in eighth grade and played on the squad for three years, earning the starting goalie position in his last two seasons.
In Brownlee’s junior year, he transferred from Fowlerville High School to Howell High School, since they didn’t have an organized hockey team. During the season, he established himself as one of the top goalies in Michigan, helping the Highlanders win a conference championship and earning individual all-state honors. To top it all off, Brownlee was also inducted into the Howell High School’s athletics hall of fame.
Brownlee’s father has been one of his biggest inspirations for playing hockey.
“My dad played for Ferris State before they became division one and was a really good goalie. He has given me a lot of guidance and advice.”
Speaking of advice, Brownlee didn’t start playing goalie until he was ten years old since his father wanted him to learn the fundamentals of the game.
He recalled the first chance he received to be on net.
“The coaches use to give rotations at every position for all the players on the team. When it came my turn to play goalie, I would always have fun since I always did well. In practices, I would volunteer to play the position whenever the coaches made the offer.”
While Brownlee has played hockey most of his life, he hasn’t had the same experience when it comes to the sport of golf.
He began playing golf when he was 14 years old.
“I started watching the pros play golf on T.V. and it really caught my eye. I tried to do it in my backyard, and it just took off from there.”
In his freshman year, Brownlee joined the Fowlerville High School golf team. While he earned his varsity letter, he still was trying to get into the flow of the game since he didn’t have much experience.
He knew he had a knack for the sport when he won the most improved award on the team during his sophomore season. He then had a solid junior year for Howell, notably shooting 73 and medaling at the conference tournament.
His hockey experience has made it easy for him to transition to golf in the spring.
“Golf has similar motions to hockey so it has definitely helped to have my background.”
Brownlee can’t wait for his final season of high school golf.
“I feel like I’ve really improved and come a long way over the past two seasons. I’m playing great golf right now and I’m excited to show it on the course.”
Brownlee credits his success to the strong work ethic he has maintained throughout his career.
“It’s all about being dedicated to the sports. You have to put the proper amount of time and effort into it to truly become great. There has been many times where I have stayed after practice to improve my skills and tune-up my game.”
Brownlee has a tough decision to make for next year. He has a scholarship offer from Davenport University to play hockey and possibly golf.
He also has been invited to attend camps by a few teams from the North American Hockey League (NAHL) and the United States Hockey League (USHL). If he performs well at these, he will potentially be offered a spot on one of the teams.
The NAHL and the USHL provide Brownlee with the best opportunity to possibly get drafted into the NHL. However, Brownlee wants to make sure he receives a good education.
“It would be great to make it to the NHL someday, but my schooling is more important. I plan to use my athletics to pay for college. I want to do something along the lines of nursing.”