Brody Roybal: Scoring Machine

GANGNEUNG, South Korea—- On Sunday in the press room of Gangneung’s Hockey Centre, an unidentified reporter joked, “The way that the U.S. is scoring goals out there, you might need more air for those fog horns.” The horns are what call out the goals here at the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympics Sled Hockey events, and the person who has been stealing the air from the stadium Is U.S. Forward Brody Roybal.

Roybal stands at 3’1” and is 120 pounds. He still towers tall over the competition game after game putting up huge numbers. Brody entered his Team USA Sled Hockey career as the youngest player in the team history at the age of 15 at the 2014 Sochi Paralympics. He needed permission from the International Paralympic Committee to be on the team due to the minimum age being 16 years of age. The Roybal explains his experience in Sochi by saying how great it was to play with his teammates:

“It was such an honor to represent my country at such a young age, and to do it with the 17 guys that I got to do it with and to win a gold medal there is no better feeling than that.” Said Roybal, who is now age 19 continued, “I know the ropes now so nothing’s gonna surprise me here. I was kinda caught up in the atmosphere and everything last time and i know what I am here to do and I know how it’s gonna be so I am ready to compete.”

Roybal scores one of his three goals versus the Czech Republic on March 12, 2018 PHOTO CREDIT: Michael A. Clubine

Roybal, who grew up just outside Chicago, Illinois in the suburb of Melrose, Illinois, now plays full time in the United States Sled Hockey League’s  Chicago RIC Blackhawks Club, making him quite the local favorite. He is one of three players from the Chicago area representing Team USA (Josh Misiewicz and Kevin McKee). Growing up there, he started playing sled hockey at a very young age,

“Well I was just looking for any disabled sport to play, and I fell into sled hockey and I fell in love immediately.”

Brody’s biggest inspiration forces are his parents he said of them:

“They’ve taught me to never give up, They have supported me in everything i’ve done and taught me to never give up. They’re awesome to me.”

Brody Roybal addresses the media following the 10-0 win over the Czech Republic on Monday, March 12, 2018. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael A. Clubine 

For this teenager, who has been piling on the points at Gangneung, South Korea with 9 total including 6 goals over his first two matches, things are a little different. Rather than the normal things that you would find in his drawers at his home, Brody keeps something very special in a sock at his parents house… his gold medal from Sochi. Roybal, has an insatiable lust for another one stating,

“We didn’t come here not to play in the gold medal game, That’s all we are here to do. We’re ready to play and we hope that we can bring back another gold medal.”

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