James General Broomfield was named in honor of his father’s fallen teammate, James General, a Mohawk Indian from the Six Nations tribe in Brantford, Ont., who died in a car crash on his way to visit the elder Broomfield during his freshman year at Potsdam State College.
Broomfield’s father, Bob, and General played lacrosse and hockey together while growing up, winning a state championship with the Niagara VFW junior hockey team in 1979.
The son has paid tribute to his namesake as a prep star in both sports.
The 18-year-old Youngstown resident left Lewiston-Porter High School last fall to play for the Boston Junior Bruins under-18 team. Broomfield, a goaltender, was the most valuable player for the United States Elite Hockey League champions. Next season he will play for the Boston Bruins’ Junior A club in the new United States Premier Hockey League.
After being bombarded with pucks all winter and seeking to silence the goal horns, Broomfield switched sports and went on a scoring spree in the spring. He joined the lacrosse team at Nipmuc Regional High School in Upton, Mass., tallied 71 goals and 21 assists and helped Nipmuc advance to the district quarterfinals for the first time in school history. He was selected to play in the Central Massachusetts all-star game.
This past week, Broomfield was one of three American lacrosse players invited to the All-Canadian Games, and the only import on the Southwestern Ontario field lacrosse team. He plays box lacrosse during the summer with the Niagara Thunderhawks across the border.
Nipmuc coach Eric Brockett said Broomfield’s box lacrosse background made him an elite player in Central Massachusetts, where the sport is still emerging. He said Broomfield’s arrival on the team “was essentially a blue bird flying through the window.”
“He was far and away the best stick-handler on the team,” Brockett said. “He had some stick work that some of our kids have never seen before. And he’s a natural finisher.”
Brockett also found that Broomfield brought a strong work ethic to the lacrosse team. That attitude had been developed during Broomfield’s junior hockey days, first with the Buffalo Junior Sabres and then the Junior Bruins. “A kid that is coming from that kind of elite track, he brought a work ethic that was pretty eye-opening for our kids,” Brockett said.
Hockey, however, not lacrosse, has always been Broomfield’s main sport, and the one that is most likely to land him a Division I scholarship.
In 2011, Broomfield was one of 20 goaltenders invited to the USA Hockey Player Development Camp. He did not make the 16-under national team but performed well at the camp, going 3-1-0 with a 1.60 goals-against average, a .926 save percentage and two shutouts in five games. He roomed with Anthony Brodeur, son of New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur and a seventh-round draft pick by the Devils last weekend.
Broomfield, listed last season at 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds, trains in the offseason with Rochester Americans goaltender David Leggio, a St. Joe’s graduate, and former Sabres assistant Bob Janosz.
Though he has received preliminary recruiting interest from Division I programs, Broomfield will wait at least two years before entering college. He will continue to play junior hockey while taking a handful of classes at nearby schools, following a common trend in hockey.
Either way, James Broomfield is happy with the way things worked out after he decided to leave home before his senior year of high school.
“It was a difficult decision,” he said. “All of my friends were here, and it was hard leaving them. I knew that if I wanted to play college hockey, I had to sacrifice that. I met a lot of new people and new friends, and it was a really cool experience.”