Brendan van Riemsdyk heads to play club hockey in Massachusetts then onto college
By Jim Hintelmann
MIDDLETOWN – When former Christian Brothers Academy’s Brendan van Riemsdyk recently scored two goals and an assist to lead Monmouth County over Ocean County in the annual Shoot For The Stars all-star game, it marked the end of an era for CBA ice hockey.
Van Riemsdyk was the last of three brothers to play for CBA. James and Trevor are currently playing professional hockey and
Brendan will be leaving shortly to play junior hockey for the Islanders Hockey Club in Andover, Mass.
“[The club] has an age limit of 20 and it will play between 50 and 60 games this year, beginning in mid-September,” Brendan said, noting the Islanders are not affiliated with the NHL’s New York Islanders.”
Islanders coach John Tremely, however, is no stranger to van Riemsdyk.
Tremely coached Trevor van Riemsdyk in junior hockey “and has won a lot of championships with the team,” Brendan said. “He also sent a lot of players to Division I schools.”
Van Riemsdyk’s ultimate goal is to one day play hockey with one or both of his siblings. “That would be a cool thing to play with or against my brothers,” he said.
“James is currently playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Trevor was drafted by the Chicago Black Hawks,” Brendan said. “James was traded to the Maple Leafs three years ago and he really enjoys it up there.”
Brendan van Riemsdyk closed out a successful season at CBA after scoring 20 goals while helping the Lincroft school to a 20-3-1 record. The Colts reached the semifinals of the Gordon Cup before losing to Don Bosco Prep.
CBA came back to gain a share of the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public A championship by rallying to tie Morristown-Beard, 4-4.
“We were down, 4-1, but scored three goals to tie the game in the second period,” van Riemsdyk said. There was no scoring in the third period or in overtime and since there was no shootout, Brendan explained, the officials declared a tie.
That was a disappointment to van Riemsdyk and the rest of the CBA team. “It didn’t make much sense to me,” he said. “That took away the opportunity for a school to win it outright.
“We had a balanced offense this season,” he said. “I think that our first three lines can compete with any team in the state.”
CBA elected to skip the Shore Conference Tournament, which was won by Red Bank Catholic, 5-1, over Howell, a team that handed CBA one of its three losses.
“We came out flat against Howell but, because we are CBA, it is the biggest game of the year for a lot of teams. You have to give Howell credit for playing a good game,” Brendan said.
“We didn’t play in the tournament because we were playing in the Gordon Cup at the same time,” van Riemsdyk said, adding “the competition was much better in the Gordon Cup.”
CBA won the Gordon Cup in van Riemsdyk’s junior year with a 5-2 win over Delbarton. “That was one of the best moments in my high school career,” he said. “Delbarton had an unbelievable unbeaten streak of over 50 games, but we lost to Don Bosco in the NJSIAA finals.
“Both tournaments are very important, but the state tournament means more because you always want to win a state title,” he said.
Van Riemsdyk won the Shore Conference Player of the Year award as a junior. CBA’s Bobby Hampton earned the award this year but van Riemsdyk wasn’t disappointed.
“I was happy that Hampton won the award because he was a teammate,” Brendan said.
Van Riemsdyk began his hockey career at an early age.
“I began playing hockey when I was 4 or 5 years old,” he said. “I also played basketball and soccer, but I concentrated on hockey when I was in the sixth grade.”
The first game of van Riemsdyk’s varsity career as a freshman was one to remember. “It was against Middletown South and I scored my first varsity goal,” he said. “I live in Middletown and I had a lot of friends on the team. That would have been the school I would have attended if I didn’t go to CBA.”
Brendan said his senior season was special. “I think that the team I played on as a junior had better talent but this year takes the cake,” he said. “The players were so close as a team. We overcame a lot of injuries … I missed 10 games because of a couple of injuries.”
After playing with the Islanders, van Riemsdyk will play hockey the following year at the University of New Hampshire. It’s the same school James and Trevor attended.
“We all wanted to do the same things,” van Riemsdyk said. “We wanted to play at an eastern school so that my dad could see us play. They have an excellent hockey program and are usually in the Top 20 in the nation. They play in the Hockey East and compete against teams like Boston College, Boston University and Providence.
“Hockey is a big thing at New Hampshire,” he said, “They play their home games at Merrimack College and usually draw 5,000 to 6,000 spectators every game.”
Van Riemsdyk is uncertain how long he will play at New Hampshire.
“James left after his sophomore year to play in the NHL,” he said. “I’ll play it year by year.”
After his hockey career is over, Brendan wants to remain in the sport in some capacity.
“I definitely don’t want to be a head coach, but I would like to be an assistant coach,” he said.
Looking back on his high school days, van Riemsdyk has many enjoyable memories. “I had a great time playing hockey at CBA.”