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Photo by Liv Schanck

Nadeau brothers breathe life into Black Bears men’s hockey team

With the 30th pick in the 2023 NHL draft, the Carolina Hurricanes selected forward Bradly Nadeau months after he committed to the University of Maine. He became the fourth-ever Black Bear to get drafted in the first round since Barrett Heisten was selected 20th overall in 1999 by the Buffalo Sabres. Bradly Nadeau’s older brother Josh Nadeau also committed to UMaine. 

Bradly Nadeau and Josh Nadeau are from Saint-Francois-de-Madawaska, New Brunswick, Canada. Before coming to UMaine, the brothers played for Penticton Vees in the British Columbia Hockey League in the Junior A league. In their first season playing at Junior A, Josh Nadeau was second on the team with 70 points, totaling 40 goals and 32 assists, while Bradly Nadeau scored 46 points with 20 goals and 26 assists. They helped lead their team to win the Fred Page Cup.

In their second season with the club, Bradly Nadeau took off, winning the Vern Dye Memorial Trophy. He led the league, scoring 113 points on 45 goals and 68 assists. Josh Nadeau was not far behind his brother, scoring 110 points with 44 goals and 66 assists and leading the team to their second consecutive Fred Page Cup. While Bradly Nadeau could have chosen to play for a higher division in junior hockey, he instead chose to follow his brother to UMaine.

In their home opener against RPI, Bradly Nadeau immediately showed everyone why he was a first-round pick, nearly scoring a hat trick in just the second period alone. Although the third goal was called back, as the puck hit the upper net, this ultimately did not matter, as UMaine won 4-1. While Bradly Nadeau was the more well-known out of the two coming into the season, Josh Nadeau proved himself in the next game, as he matched his brother, scoring two goals himself and helping to lead UMaine to the 6-3 victory.

“That’s a prime example of why [Josh Nadeau] is a special player,” linemate and captain Lynden Breen said after the second RPI game. “Both those guys make the game easy for me, and I hope I can make it a little easier for them.”

In the year’s biggest series, the Black Bears faced off against No. 1 seed Boston College. Bradly Nadeau scored on a snapshot right near the net, contributing to the 4-2 upset victory. In game two, UMaine lost in a shoutout, though Josh scored both on a power-play goal and in the shoutout.

So far this season, the brothers are tied with Breen for the most points on the team, with 10 each. Bradly currently leads the team with six goals and four assists with a +/- of seven. Bradly was named Hockey East Rookie of the Week. Josh Nadeau is tied with Breen for most assists, with seven to go along with three goals with a +/- of five. 

“It’s been great,” Josh Nadeau said about his experience with the Black Bears so far. “I’ve been working hard, and we’ve had a good start to the season with 6-1-1, and we’re really happy with it.

The brothers’ impact has not just been felt on the ice, however. Their Saturday game against Boston College on Saturday was sold out before game time. For each home game, Harold Alfond Arena was at near full capacity, and it paid dividends on both the score and record sheet.

“It’s fun, as hockey players, to play in front of those fans,” Bradly Nadeau said when asked about the atmosphere at Alfond Arena. “To know that we have their support, it helps us perform on the ice.”

Currently, UMaine sits with the No. 9 seed in the nation and will return home on Dec. 1 to face off against arch-rival University of New Hampshire Wildcats at 7 p.m.

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