Jr. Ducks alumni Brendan Williams with NAHL Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld after the Oklahoma Warriors won the Robertson Cup on May 23, 2023. Photo courtesy of the NAHL
Forward Brendan WIlliams, a longtime Jr. Ducks player, was selected the MVP of the North American Hockey League's Robertson Cup playoffs on May 23.
Williams, who scored during the Oklahoma Warriors' 4-3 victory over the Austin Bruins in the league's championship game, had eight goals and 12 points in nine postseason games. The goals were the second most of any player in the playoffs and the point total was fourth most. Oklahoma ran the table in the playoffs, winning all nine of its games.
"This was a special group," he said. "We had great depth, and everyone was so close - players, coaches."
Williams' goal off a 3-on-2 rush 4:52 into the second period of the championship game gave the Warriors their first lead at 2-1.
Oklahoma led the league with 90 points (44-14-1-1) in 60 games during the regular season, and Williams played a big role in that.
A 2002 birth year who also played for Santa Margarita Catholic in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League, Williams had 52 points (21 goals) in 55 regular-season games for the Warriors. The franchise relocated from Wichita Falls, Texas, after last season.
"My whole life I've been more of a playmaker, and last summer I realized I needed to get better at scoring," Williams said, giving credit to his work with Jr. Ducks Director of Player Personnel Alex Kim. Kim coached Williams during 12U and 16U.
Williams also was highly productive during his time with the Jr. Ducks. He had 87 points, including 50 goals) during 75 games as a 16U AAA player during the 2018-19 season after 45 points in 51 games at 14U AAA the previous season.
He was part of a USA Hockey National Championship team at Santa Margarita, and credited his coach with the Eagles, Jr. Ducks Director of Coaches Craig Johnson, as his biggest influence.
"He's molded me as a player and as a person," Williams said. "He's that perfect blend of a coach because he can be authoritative but he lets you be you. He makes you feel comfortable.
"I really rediscovered my love for the game thanks to him."
The results this spring spoke for themselves.
"I gave it everything I had," Williams said. "We won the Robertson Cup and I won the MVP award. I feel confident I did everything I could."