By Warren Rappleyea
Bailey Brant joined the Ottawa Junior Senators early in the 2017-18 season and helped the team win both the Bogart and Fred Page Cups. Now he’s a team leader who provides a veteran presence on the blue line.
An imposing presence at 6-2, the righty-shooting Brant is known for his physical presence and solid play in his own zone. A strong skater with a hard shot, the Greely, Ontario resident is looking to contribute more on the offensive side after picking up two goals and eight assists last season and starting the campaign with the Nepean Raiders.
“When I came here I was kind of slotted in behind a few guys because we had a strong, veteran defense,” Brant said. “In Nepean, I was one of the older guys, so I had to adjust a little bit to playing behind guys. This year I’m back to being one of the more experienced guys.”
Nevertheless, Brant played in 42 regular season games and another 16 playoffs contests for Ottawa. More importantly, he had the opportunity play alongside of and learn from veterans like Zachary Salloum and Devon Daniels.
“I learned a lot playing in Nepean and I enjoyed my time there,” he said. “As soon as I got here though, I saw that the expectations were high. It was a totally different style of play. This is an organization that expects to win. That’s why they’ve been so successful.’
The 19-year-old began playing at an early age under the tutelage of his dad, Kevin. He played both defense and forward and even spent some time between the pipes before settling in on the blue line as an atom.
After progressing through the local youth leagues, Brant was drafted by Nepean and joined the Raiders as a 15-year-old in the 2015-16 season. He became a regular the following year, playing in 62 games and gaining valuable experience as Nepean qualified for the CCHL playoffs before bowing out to Carleton Place in the first round.
“I have to say it felt really good when we beat Carleton Place last year after they beat us pretty good when I was on the Raiders,” he said. “It was an exciting run last year and I was fortunate to be a part of it. There were overtime games and we always had someone step up. We always had the feeling that we were going to score.”
In addition to joining a team on its way to a title and carving out a spot for himself this season, Brant’s trade to the Junior Senators enabled him to continue living at home. Besides playing hockey, he’s studying business part time at Ottawa University. That’s only fitting, since the defenseman is also something of an entrepreneur—Brant and his brother run their own landscaping business.
Following a slow start, the Junior Senators have climbed in the standings thanks in part to a recent seven-game winning streak. In addition, Brant has played a key role for a defense that has tightened up considerably and entering November was fourth in the CCHL—and climbing—in goals against.
“We had a lot of new players here and it showed in the first few games,” Brant said. “Since then we’ve been pretty consistent for the most part—that’s why we’re winning.”