BOISE — Every offseason, Steelheads players weigh their options. Some earn a promotion to the next level. Others take their skates overseas, where more money can be made.
Brett Robinson considered his options this past offseason.
And stayed in Idaho.
He was probably the one guy this summer who said he wanted to come back and said he would do whatever it would take to get back here, coach Brad Ralph said.
Robinson, a fifth-year pro, said the decision was easy.
I really love playing here, he said. At this point in my career, its really more about where you enjoy being. I love playing in front of the city of Boise, thats for sure.
Hell get that chance again Wednesday night, when the Steelheads (0-1) play their home opener against the San Francisco Bulls (1-1).
Ironically, Robinson learned to enjoy Boise while skating for an opposing team. He was a member of the Cincinnati Cyclones squad that defeated Idaho in the 2010 Kelly Cup Finals, and he enjoyed his time in Boise while playing two Finals games at CenturyLink Arena.
We were the opposing team, but it was packed and it was loud, he said. We got to go eat and see the city. I loved it.
So when Robinson had the chance to come play for the Steelheads last season, he jumped.
I knew how great Boise was, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to come here, he said.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound forward was playing in the Central Hockey League and earned the promotion back to the ECHL in January amid a flurry of transactions after last seasons NHL lockout ended. He quickly proved to be a steady, hard-working player for Idaho, scoring six goals and tallying 17 assists in 36 regular-season games.
Robinson was one of Idahos most consistent performers in the postseason as well, when he posted five goals and three assists in 14 games.
At 28, Robinson is the second-oldest player on the roster this season, and teammate Tyler Gron said Robinson is at the point in his career that hes become a natural leader.
Hes been playing a few years now, and hes a little older than that baby face of his shows, Gron said. Hes quiet in the (dressing) room, but when something needs to be said, hell say it. Hes a good leader, and everybody looks up to him.
Robinson said theres almost an obligation to pass along lessons hes learned.
Playing as long as I have, Ive picked up things Ive learned from older guys, and now I can pass some of that along to some of the younger guys, he said.
Lesson No. 1: Dont take winning for granted.
I won (the Kelly Cup) in my first year, and I dont really think I appreciated how tough it is, he said. It was kind of like, Hey, this is great. Lets just win every year. You dont realize how fortunate you have to be to get back there.
But Robinson is convinced hes in the right place and playing for the right coach to do just that.
As far as coming back goes, I knew that coach Ralph was going to do everything in his power to have a good team, he said. So, were going to have a winning team, and thats probably whats most important to me, especially playing late in my career.
But that doesnt mean he wont be feeling a little like a rookie again when he takes the ice Wednesday night.
Im thrilled, he said. I cant wait for the home opener.
Goalie Robinson returning to Idaho
Josh Robinson is back with the Steelheads after being loaned to the Texas Stars of the AHL. He was expected to arrive in Boise late Monday. After practicing with the team Tuesday, he likely will start in net Wednesday.
Robinson was the Steelheads team MVP after posting a 27-8-4 record during his rookie year last season.
He made his AHL debut with the Texas Stars on Saturday night against the San Antonio Rampage, stopping all 26 shots he faced as Texas won 6-0.
Chris Langrill: 377-6424