Saginaw Heritage’s Brady Rappuhn is named 2019-20 Mr. Hockey
Like most of us, Brady Rappuhn is still trying to get his head around the events of the last month as the coronavirus pandemic has taken its hold on earth, the United States and, of course, Michigan.
But the Saginaw Heritage senior knows one thing for sure: He is Mr. Hockey for the 2019-20 High School hockey season.
Rappuhn was announced as the winner of the award that goes to the best High School hockey player in the state during the Michigan High School Hockey Coaches Association’s virtual banquet held on-line on Wednesday night, April 8. Rappuhn found out while he was watching the event at home.
“It was kind of surreal, I was in shock,” he said later Wednesday night.
Rapphun’s numbers certainly back up his selection. He had 37 goals and 40 assists for 77 points in 24 games during the regular season. Then he added seven goals and 12 points in four state playoff games as he led the Hawks to the Division 1 Final Four for the third consecutive season.
“He’s a really smart player, No. 1,” said Saginaw Heritage coach J.J. Bamberger. “He thinks the game extremely well. He’s a natural goal scorer, and he has the ability to make other players better.”
Bamberger said that Rappuhn was an outstanding High School hockey player from the get go.
“As a freshman, I put him on the line with my two best players on the wings, just to see what would happen and how he would react,” the coach said. “And he started scoring goals and kept doing it.”
Rappuhn was much smaller as a freshman than he is now – Bamberger says he was about 5-7 and skinny. Today he’s around 6 feet tall and a little under 150 pounds.
He had 10 goals and 20 points in 26 games as a freshman but more than doubled that point total as a sophomore with 18 goals and 30 assists for 48 points in 24 games.
“As I got bigger and stronger, I got more confidence,” said Rappuhn, who also added that he had been only a third-line player in Travel hockey.
As a Junior, he kept improving, to 24 goals and 62 points in 25 games.
Despite those numbers, if Rappuhn does have a weakness, it is his skating.
“I know there’s been a knock on his skating, but I’ve never seen him not get to a loose puck (first),” Bamberger said.
He also added that, however good a player Rappuhn is, he is an even better person.
“He’s the kid out there doing all the right things, and it’s not fake,” Bamberger said. “That’s who he is. He always does the right thing.”
The coach added that just to bestow this season's Mr. Hockey title to a player from outstate is a tribute to the kind of respect the High School hockey community has for Rappuhn.
“I’m very, very excited and happy for him. I’m very proud,” Bamberger said.
Rappuhn is still coming to terms with the way the season ended. On March 12, the Michigan High School Athletic Association suspended all play only hours before the Division 1, 2 and 3 Final Fours were set to begin at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth.
“I’m doing better with it, but it’s still tough,” said Rappuhn.
As to his hockey future, he’s still undecided. “I’m just sitting at home and staying safe,” he said.