Steelheads forward right at home with Idaho

Brett Robinson chose to return for a second season with the Steelheads.

clangrill@idahostatesman.comOctober 22, 2013 

Idaho Steelheads forward Brett Robinson practices at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Monday, Oct. 21, 2013.

JOE JASZEWSKI — jjaszewski@idahostatesman.com

  • Look who's back: Returning Steelheads

    Six skaters who played for Idaho last season are on the 2013-14 opening roster (stats are from 2012-13):

    • Patrick Cullity, defenseman: 39 games, 14 points, 30 penalty minutes

    • David deKastrozza, forward: 66 games, 19 goals, 21 assists

    • Tyler Gron, forward: 34 games, 21 goals, 11 assists

    • James Isaacs, defenseman: 31 games, 12 points, 16 penalty minutes

    • Hubert Labrie, defenseman: 22 games, 5 points, 46 penalty minutes

    • Brett Robinson, forward: 36 games, 6 goals, 17 assists

— 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, it’s really more about where you enjoy being. I love playing in front of the city of Boise, that’s for sure.”

He’ll 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 season’s 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 Idaho’s 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 he’s become a natural leader.

“He’s been playing a few years now, and he’s a little older than that baby face of his shows,” Gron said. “He’s quiet in the (dressing) room, but when something needs to be said, he’ll say it. He’s a good leader, and everybody looks up to him.”

Robinson said there’s almost an obligation to pass along lessons he’s learned.

“Playing as long as I have, I’ve picked up things I’ve learned from older guys, and now I can pass some of that along to some of the younger guys,” he said.

Lesson No. 1: Don’t take winning for granted.

“I won (the Kelly Cup) in my first year, and I don’t really think I appreciated how tough it is,” he said. “It was kind of like, ‘Hey, this is great. Let’s just win every year.’ You don’t realize how fortunate you have to be to get back there.”

But Robinson is convinced he’s 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, we’re going to have a winning team, and that’s probably what’s most important to me, especially playing late in my career.”

But that doesn’t mean he won’t be feeling a little like a rookie again when he takes the ice Wednesday night.

“I’m thrilled,” he said. “I can’t 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

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