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Ex-Groom Heading To The Olympics

Published: January 15, 2018 4:34 pm ET

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The close ties between harness racing and hockey definitely do not stop at the 49th parallel. The most recent proof of that is the son of an established Canadian Standardbred trainer who has been named to the U.S. Olympic Men’s Hockey Team.

Goaltender Brandon Maxwell was officially named as one of the netminders for the American Olympic hockey team in an announcement this past Thursday (January 11). Brandon grew up splitting time between two kinds of ‘barns’ — the hockey and the equine varieties — much like his father, trainer Brad Maxwell.

The elder Maxwell, who has earned over 800 training wins and $17 million in purses through his career, is no stranger to the ice, either, having enjoyed a four-year stint as an assistant coach with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League.

Brandon, who has spent the past three years playing professionally in the Czech Republic, is ‘an elite puck-handling goaltender,’ according to U.S. general manager Jim Johannson in a report from the Washington Post. “It potentially gives you another weapon on your breakout or alleviating pressure from your defence with his abilities with the puck.”

The 26-year-old netminder has played exclusively in Europe since 2015 after spending three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), one with the University of Guelph, and proving victorious in his lone appearance in net for the Utah Grizzlies of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) during the 2014-15 season.

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