March 21, 2002

He is a fast skater. He is an excellent stick handler. He has an extremely hard, yet accurate shot. He is a hard hitter. He plays with an edge. He is a stellar passer. He is Radnor forward John Brennan and he is the Daily Times Hockey Player of the Year Brennan racked up 47 goals and 53 assists for 100 points in the regular season on his way to claiming Delco’s top hockey honor and joins his brother and fellow Red Raider forward Chris and a formidable cast of athletes on the 2001- 2002 All Delco team The team is chosen by the Daily Times in consultation with county coaches. Forwards Gaeton Castiglione (Cardinal O’Hara I), Dean Papougenia (Monsignor Bonner I), Ben Reynolds (Strath Haven), defensemen Bob Kenworthy (Pennerest), Jeff Bagosy (Cardinal O’Hara and goaltender Jason Mardinly (Cardinal O’Hara I) join the Brennan brothers as the county’s finest. “The four years that I’ve had at Radsor have been unforgettable,” said John Brennan. “They’ll probably be the best four years of my life as far as school and hockey go.” John Brennan made hockey look easy for those four years, but it was not always that way. “When I was 7 I started watching Flyers games with my uncle Tommy Hemcher and he’s actually the one who got me into hockey,” said Brennan. “I started playing that year for the Valley Forge Colonials and I was horrible. “A couple of guys that play for Malvern were on that team with me and they always joke with me now about how bad 1 was. That year really made me want to work harder and get better.” And work harder he did. “I went to a lot of camps the following summer and the next year I came out and led the team in scoring,” said Brennan. “I was really into soccer and baseball back then, but when I started getting really good at hockey. I dropped both of them. “I just started playing baseball again for school last year and I look forward to it again this spring.” It was through that work ethic and the support of his family that Brennan excelled. “My parents (Amy and John) were huge in helping me get better,” said Brennan,

whose father was the quarterback on George Corner’s undefeated Central League championship Radnor team in 1976, “I wouldn’t be anywhere without them They were the ones sacrificing and getting up at five in the morning to take me to practices. They were paying the bills And they never missed a game, whether it was Junior Flyers or Radnor. Chris Brennan appreciates his brother’s sentiment and also the time he spent skating with his brother for Radnor. “It’s been awesome and just a really great experience,” said Chris Brennan. “He knows where I am on the ice at all times and it makes it so much easier to perform with him out there. “We’ll miss him next year.” Along with being Radnor’s main gun, John Brennan is the leading scorer for the undefeated (23-0-1) Junior Flyers Midget National team. That is saying a lot considering the enormous amount of talent on that squad. Other top-notch forwards joining Brennan on that team are his brother Chris, Mike McMullen, Mike Curran, Brandon Jackmuff, and O’Hara’s Brian Pollock, just to name a few.

“Each year I just feel like I’ve gotten bigger and stronger and just kept on improving,” said Brennan. Earlier in the season, Red Raiders coach Ed Ritti described just how much Brennan meant to Radnor. “John sets the tone for us with his play,” Ritti said. “He’s a great scorer and he looks to get his teammates involved, but he’s also a very physical player. “You can see the kids on the team look to him for leadership and he provides it every night for us.”

Brennan’s leadership helped elevate the level of play of his teammates in many ways. Just his presence opened up scoring opportunities for his teammates. The trio of John and Chris Brennan and winger Ed Devine combined for an astounding 229 points as a line. Brennan has not come to a conclusion on where he will go to school next fall, but he is certain that he will be attending college. “I considered playing Juniors, but I really want to go to school in the fall,” Brennan said. “I enjoy going to school and playing hockey and hopefully next year I’ll get to do both.” Currently, Brennan is looking at Johnson & Wales University, Hobart University, and the University of Delaware as potential destinations, but there is still work to be done for Radnor. Brennan is still leading Radnor, as the Red Raiders are hungry for a Flyers Cup and a state championship. After an opening-round win against Roman Catholic, the Red Raiders are just three wins away from playing for a state title. “That’s been the goal all along,” said Brennan, who led the Red Raiders to the first Central League championship in hockey this winter. “I don’t really think too much about personal things, I just really want to win a state championship. “I think that would be a great way to go out.” Just the kind of thing you’d expect to hear from a true champion and the Daily Times Hockey Player of the Year.

By Chuck Smith
Delaware County Daily Times