Linden Teen First Ever in San Joaquin County to Earn D1 College Hockey Scholarship

LINDEN -- Brooke Bryant really has a handle on things.

Last week, the 17-year-old signed her letter of intent to play Division One college hockey at Minnesota State. She's the first person from San Joaquin County ever to do so.

"I just looked at it like another day, a step closer being able to go to college but once I got there and saw everyone there, it hit me that it was a little more than that," she said.

Bryant's journey into the hockey world began a decade ago when she began playing for the Stockton Colts at age 7, competing mostly against boys. Her family knew early on that she had a special love for the sport.

"Girls who play boys hockey kind of have a target on their back, but once the boys figured out that she would push back she was doing just fine," her father, Scott, told FOX40.

Coach Derek Eisler began working with Brooke when she was 11 at the Oak Park Ice Arena in Stockton. Eisler's credentials include a stint on the San Jose Sharks coaching staff.

"She was a talented player with a lot of up-side, but she didn't know how to channel a lot of other stuff," Eisler said.

By the time Bryant was 12, Eisler started reaching out to the best college hockey programs in the country to let them know the type of talent she had.

"That high compete factor and that high level of competency for the game around her was always held," Eisler said. "And you could see that at 12."

Boston University, Penn State and New Hampshire all showed interest, but it was the Mavericks of Minnesota State that won her over -- offering her a full scholarship.

"I'm really excited, I think it's the perfect fit for me," she said. "The facilities are awesome, and the recruits that are coming in with me are awesome too."

Eisler said her conference represents the best college players in the country.

It should help Bryant get ready for her other hockey goal -- the Olympics.

"I think I can make it happen. It's always been my goal since I started. I mean, this has always been one of my goals and now that I've met it, it's just a step on the road to the Olympics," she said.

With the skills Bryant has, that shouldn't be a problem.