In Ethan Rudbeck's case size sometimes equals intimidation.
At 5-foot-11, 220 pounds, Rudbeck's size is an exception in adapted floor hockey which features players with physical impairments and doesn't permit checking.
Warriors coach Bruce Thompson offered an example of how Rudbeck's size can intimidate an opponent.
"I have to laugh," Thompson said. "At one home game Ethan was moving along, a guy from the other team stepped out in front of him and Ethan hit him. Ethan walked right to the penalty box. He's just a big guy who couldn't stop his momentum."
Rudbeck gives Brainerd momentum in many ways. One is scoring. The center led the Warriors with 34 goals and 21 assists for 55 total points. His totals included five goals and two assists as Rudbeck helped Brainerd to sixth place in the state tournament. His state performance earned Rudbeck a spot on the all-tournament team.
"It was really a great honor," Rudbeck said of being named to the team. "The kids on the all-tournament team are the best of the best. It's really an honor to be on that."
Rudbeck is the first to credit linemates Austin Annable and Tyler Theien for his success this season.
"I thought I stepped up but it's not all me," he said. "It's the work of our front line and what we can produce.
"Austin was a first-year wing player. He came a long way. He started with us a little bit after the season started, but he really stepped up a lot. He's just a good player all-around. He knows how to pass, he sees the floor like I do, he does a lot of good things.
"Tyler is pretty much the same as Austin. About the only difference is he's a one-year veteran."
Thompson said Rudbeck's speed, quickness and agility make him dangerous with the puck.
"When he gets two hands on his stick, watch out, it's a laser," Thompson said. "Ethan can push the puck toward the net. He can snap a shot off.
Sport: Adapted floor hockey
Weight: 220 pounds
Memorable sports achievement: Scoring his first goal as a seventh-grader
Grade-point average: 3.0
Favorite subject: History
Favorite food: Pizza
Hobbies: Hunting, fishing
Future plans: Attend technical school in Wadena, become electrician
Athlete he admires: Marion Gaborik
Parents: Nick and Deb Rudbeck
"At the state tournament, about the middle of the floor against Minneapolis South, he snapped one off and everyone just stopped. Their goalie never saw it coming."
Opposing teams will see one more season of Rudbeck, already a veteran of five varsity seasons. He will be a senior in 2008-09 and will return along with the entire Warrior team, which had no seniors this season.
"The state tournament was kind of a testing ground to see what we could do," Thompson said. "We have a lot to work on yet. The state tournament was the start of next season as we looked at it as coaches.
"We left some business unattended. We didn't get where we wanted to be. It would have been nice to win the Dakota United game (for fifth place). They kind of outplayed us and took the game over. We're better than that. We recognized we have to get things together.
"Ethan is the glue that bonds us together. He has a presence on the floor. He's a good leader. At times we had some kids not doing what they were supposed to be doing. It's just a matter of collecting ourselves and playing better as a team. Ethan's one of the guys we count on for that kind of leadership. He's that kind of player."
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.