The 17-year-old has come into his own as one of the top goalie prospects in hockey with the Kelowna Rockets.
Roman Basran is on a mission and nothing is going to stop him from being part of the National Hockey League (NHL) ahead. The 17-year-old has come into his own as one of the top goalie prospects in hockey with the Kelowna Rockets.
After making his debut at just 16 years old last season, he has taken the reigns of the starting goalie for the Western Hockey League (WHL). This season, his stats are 17-15-2 with 2.90 GAA and a .905 SAV% while also saving 100 per cent of the shots he has faced in shootouts.
Roman is in his second year with the team and has even been noticed on the national level. Roman was selected to the Canada Black team of the 2018 World Hockey Challenge U17 tournament. His play was outstanding as he finished with the best GAA and best SAV% in the entire tournament. “I knew I had to just get out there and make my mark. It was an honour and a privilege to wear that jersey for my country,” recalls the Delta native. Roman was selected in the third round of the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft by the Kelowna Rockets. Ever since that moment, he had always dreamt of getting a shutout in his first game.
That dream becamea reality last season as Roman made his first career start and also won that game with a miraculous 38 save shutout. Roman recalls how “it was a surreal experience. I knew my game was good enough and just carried that confidence through the game.” He was very thankful of the opportunity to get that start as a 16-year-old.
The young goalie’s great start last season was put in jeopardy as he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the offseason. This is a significant injury for athletes and it took six months for Roman to get healthy again. “I fought hard to come back, and I owe my training staff a lot of credit for their world class help in rehabilitating me,” he shares.
According to the NHL Central Scouting Rankings, Roman is the 11th ranked goalie prospect in North America. Some draft projections sites rate him as a third or fourth round draft pick in the upcoming NHL Draft here in Vancouver. Roman discusses how “you do hear things or see things about draft projections, but I just try to keep my head straight and focus on my game and do what I can to keep getting better.” He is always grateful for these opportunities and is looking forward to see what’s in store for him in the summer with the upcoming draft.There have been some Punjabi hockey players entering the NHL, but none have been goalies.
Roman can become a role model for any young Punjabi player who is inspired by his journey. “Its amazing for the community, I am starting to see more young Punjabi goalies in the youth leagues which is really great to see.” The star athelete knows his main focus is to be the best goalie he can be but the chance to be a person that young Punjabi kids can look up to is certainly a honoured responsibility.
Roman holds a high level of love and respect for his family as he would not be where he is without them. He illustrates how his parents “were a huge reason for my success as they took me to my games and practices and supported me throughout my entire childhood.” It was a family effort in the Basran household. Roman started playing soccer as a kid but he had a sudden change of heart watching the Canucks play when his grandpa booked season tickets and took him to the games. He reminisces how “Roberto Luongo was my favourite player and ever since I saw him play, my main goal in life was to become a goalie just like him.”
Roman’s mother, Roop Johal, sadly passed away this past summer. There is a scholarship in her honour called the Roop Johal Memorial Scholarship, created to assist children in pursuit of youth hockey across Canada. Roop’s belief was that every child deserved the same opportunity to excel regardless of their circumstance. She volunteered countless hours through different hockey organizations to support youth hockey. For more information on the scholarship, visit https://ca.gofundme.com/roop-johal-hockey-scholarship.
Photos: Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images, Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze