The road to the top is seldom lined with lengthy pit stops. For most players, home is wherever they set their hockey bags. Richard Bachman may be the exception to the old saying that you can’t go home again.
No matter where his hockey journey takes him, from Massachusetts, Illinois or Iowa, Bachman seems to find his way back home to the base of the Rocky Mountains.
After playing youth hockey in the Denver suburb of Highlands Ranch, Bachman ventured east to perfect his craft in Massachusetts. He split seasons between Cushing Academy and the Boston Junior Bruins of the Eastern Junior Hockey League, and even backstopped the the Junior Bruins to a USA Hockey Tier I 18 & Under National Championship in 2006.
Bachman spent part of the 2006-07 season with the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League before being traded to the Cedar Rapids Roughriders.
No matter where he set up shop between the pipes, Bachman used every stop along the way as an opportunity to improve his game.
When standout goalie Matt Zaba graduated from Colorado College, Bachman saw another opportunity, not only to come home, but to continue to develop as a player.
“The timing worked out perfectly,” Bachman recalls. “I didn’t really know exactly what to expect at the beginning. I’d just come in and work hard and take advantage of any ice time I got. I had been committed for a couple years, so I was eager to get here and get started with the whole college hockey deal.”
From the drop of the first puck, Bachman proved to be a force between the pipes, leading the Tigers to a WCHA regular season title and a berth in the Western Regionals on home ice. Although CC eventually fell to the defending national champs from Michigan State, Bachman and the Tigers accomplished more than expected.
"It’s a ton of fun but it’s almost more of a business, at least in the WCHA because we get so
In addition to CC winning the prestigious MacNaughton Cup as WCHA champs, Bachman became the second player to earn the WCHA’s Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards in the same season. He also grabbed First-Team West All-American honors, First-Team All-WCHA honors and a spot on the league’s All-Rookie team after breaking CC school records with a 1.85 goals-against average and .931 save percentage.
Bachman knew that coming back to Colorado would give him the environment he would need to succeed at the collegiate level.
“It’s a ton of fun but it’s almost more of a business, at least in the WCHA because we just get so many fans,” Bachman says.
“But I think that’s the nice thing, at least here in Colorado Springs, the fans really support you and the community kind of gets behind you. There’s not a ton of other sports here so there’s a lot of support.”
With his first season a success, despite the early exit from the NCAA tournament, Bachman is ready to see what he can do for an encore. Off in the distance, he hopes to have an opportunity down the road in Dallas, where the Stars selected him in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
“Right now, I want to just get ready for next year and kind of take it one season at a time and one game at a time,” Bachman says. “Stuff happens and if there is a chance for me to go play [in the NHL] I will kind of deal with it then.”
For now, there is no rush for this 20-year-old as he continues to enjoy, and excel, at the sport that brought him home again.