Hockey has followed Brandon LaBumbard everywhere he’s gone.
Just three days after he was born in Wisconsin, LaBumbard and his family moved to Minnesota. He lived there until he was 7 years old, and moved once more to Ontario, Canada.
He started skating when he was 3 years old and began playing organized hockey when he was about 7 years old, said LaBumbard, a freshman criminal justice major.
He played AAA hockey for the Toronto East Enders from 2012-15.
After graduating from Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School in 2012, LaBumbard enlisted in the U.S. Marines. He served from 2015-19.
“Growing up you’re kinda always pushed to go to high school, then college, then get a job,” LaBumbard said. “I learned fairly quickly that wasn’t really me.”
LaBumbard was a sergeant and was stationed in South America. He never fought in active combat, and his daily job was to oversee maintenance of all weapons, he said.
LaBumbard and his section would wake up and start physical training around 5 a.m. On Fridays, they would divert away from their usual training and play football, basketball or soccer, but never hockey.
“We never actually got a chance to play hockey, which is funny,” said Tyler Craig, a former sergeant in the same section as LaBumbard. “It brought us all together in a fun way and got us away from work for a little bit. It was just a fun way for us to get to know each other. It was pretty therapeutic.”
The Marine Corps has a hockey team LaBumbard could have played on, but he didn’t have enough time, he said
Temple’s club hockey team influenced LaBumbard’s decision to enroll at Temple after he left the Marines, he said.
LaBumbard hadn’t skated in four years before his tryout for the team in August.
“Going into the first tryout I was super nervous,” LaBumbard said. “So going out there the very first night was a little, little rough. I had to get my feet back under me, but I kinda just picked it up where I left off, whenever the last time I played before that was.”
Club President and Captain Charles Ghiazza said LaBumbard was rusty in his first tryout but started to impress once he got his feet under him.
“He’s a physical player,” said Ghiazza, a senior risk management and insurance major. “He’s not even the biggest guy. He’s maybe 5-foot, 11-inches, but he plays super physical. He’s not scared to use his body and go into the corner and battle for pucks.”
In 17 games this season, LaBumbard, who plays right and left-wing, is seventh on the team in points with eight. He has three goals and five assists.
The Owls are sixth in the Eastern Collegiate Hockey Association with a 4-5 record.
After sitting out the first game of the season with an injury, LaBumbard scored his first collegiate goal against Cornell University in the Owl’s second game of the season.
“He’s really easy to get along with, he’s just always super friendly all the time,” Ghiazza said. “He always has great stories…about when he was in the Marines.”
Editor’s Note: Sports Editor Jay Neemeyer is a team reporter for Temple’s club ice hockey team. He played no part in the reporting and editing of this story.