6 with the Tricks: Phil Bronner
Welcome to “Six with the Tricks,” where we get to know the newest Danbury Hat Tricks in six questions.Today, we’re talking with veteran forward Phil Bronner! Bronner is a skilled power forward making his return to the city after spending the 2015-16 season with the Danbury Titans. Last season, he played with the Quad City Storm of the SPHL, putting up 26 points in 52 games.
Let’s check in with Phil!
Q: What’s it like being back in Danbury?
Phil Bronner: I'm really excited to be back in Danbury. I already grabbed myself a shirt and a hat to work out in over the summer. Danbury is just a great hockey city. It was a tough place to play as a visitor, and a great place to call home. I think the new team, colors, owner, coach and everything is just creating a great buzz and I am sure the fans are starved for hockey and will come out and support us as loud as ever. The last 3 seasons I have played on 8th or 9th place teams in the SPHL. I am excited to have an opportunity to play somewhere that I expect to be contending for a championship.
Q: Since your last stint in the FPHL you’ve spent time in the SPHL and ECHL. How have those experiences in other leagues helped you as a player?
PB: I think my experience playing in the ECHL and SPHL have just helped me really understand what it takes/means to be a true professional on and off the ice, and what is expected of me. Early on in your career you look to the veteran players and see what they do, how they act, how they prepare and so on and come up with your own routine. Now I am one of those older guys so I just want to pass on the knowledge I have attained over the last 300 or so games and help some other players play as long as they can. And just the higher the level you play, the more analytical the game is and the systems are. I think that now when I watch NHL games as a fan, I watch them more analytically out of habit.
Q: You’ve got an FHL championship under your belt from 2015 with the Watertown Wolves. What is it going to take for Danbury to get back to the finals this season? What’s a personal goal for you this year?
PB: There's no better feeling than winning a championship. Watertown from start to finish we knew we were the best team in the league, we played like it and it showed. The next year in Danbury was pretty similar, we just had a little bit of bad luck in the Final series and ran into a hot goalie. The biggest key is going to be finding and defining our team identity. As soon as we establish our identity we just have to make sure everyone in the room is all buying into the system. Get some nice winning streaks early and I think we will be well on our way. Good teams find ways to win, bad teams find ways to lose. Personally, my main goal is to win a championship. That’s why I'm back in Danbury. Playing on some losing teams the last few years the +/- has taken a beating and that’s always been something I take pride in, so I would like to be one of the team leaders in that category, statistically speaking.
Q: Walk me through your pre-game routine. What’s your go-to meal? Who’s on the playlist?
PB: My go to pre game is just chicken, quinoa, broccoli. Usually I add some diced jalapeños and onions because I love spicy stuff. Pre-game playlist is usually techno stuff to get the blood pumping. But I like to mix it up with some old school Eminem or Lil Wayne every once in awhile.
Q You once said that you had your dad fill a backyard rink for you after you saw the Mighty Ducks movies. Who’s your favorite Duck and will you be trying the Knuckle Puck at any point this season?
PB: My dad built a rink for me every winter age 4- 17 or 18 I think. Growing up I would say my favorite Mighty Duck was either [Adam] Banks or Fulton [Reed]. Looking back now with a different perspective I would probably go with Charlie Conway. Charlie went from being really bad in the first movie to being really a top player in the 3rd movie, but he had to adapt his game and do things he wasn't used to doing to be successful at the next level. This is something all players will need to figure out in order to keep moving up the ranks, junior to college to pro etc. If you're a scorer at one level you might need to kill penalties at the next level. You have to work to have a balanced game.
Q: Favorite player growing up? Any notable jerseys owned?
PB: Favorite Player growing up was Cam Neely. He is the reason why I wear #8 and the style I try to emulate. I was a big fan of Bill Guerin as well, and wore #13 after him in college and one of my years pro. Guerin was also from my hometown of Wilbraham, MA. I have tons of jerseys. I think mostly Boston Bruins…Oates, Neely, Bourque, the terrible looking yellow 3rd jersey they had for a few years that I will occasionally break out for some good luck come playoff time. Doesn't quite fit the same though.
You can catch Phil and the Hat Tricks in action starting Friday, October 25th as Danbury opens their season at home against the Port Huron Prowlers. Season and individual game tickets are now on sale at danburyhattricks.com/tickets.