From the Chicago Blackhawks to the Bradley Braves, it’s been quite the journey for Bradley men’s golf team member Roy Radke.
Before arriving on the Hilltop, the 23-year-old Geneva native was a fifth-round draft pick of the Blackhawks in 2015, spending three years with the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League.
In 2018, he suffered a career-ending concussion while playing for SaiPa, a team in Finland’s top tier hockey league, Liiga.
“I felt like my whole world ended,” Radke said. “It really took me to kind of a weird, weird stage in my life and I had to readjust my whole life plans.”
Radke readjusted his life plans by picking up golf, a sport he played since he was 6 years old but chose hockey over when he was 12 years old. Once his time on the ice was over, Radke moved from the Chicago area to his father’s property in Arizona, which allowed him more time to play golf in the Arizona desert. Radke reacquainted with the game quickly.
“I started getting better pretty quickly and just kind of wanted to see how good I could get, or I could go from there,” Radke said.
He joined the club golf team at Arizona State last year, exposing him to the competitiveness of tournaments that he was missing from hockey.
“That’s where I got, like, first taste of playing tournaments and stuff, just that competitiveness that I’ve been missing from hockey, so it really helps to fill that void,” Radke said.
The ongoing pandemic forced Radke back to the Chicago area when schools shut down, but, a new opportunity came from it.
Over the summer, Radke’s golf coach David Impastato introduced him to Bradley head coach Jeff Roche. Through videotapes of his swing and multiple conversations with Roche, things began to fall into place.
“It seemed just like a really good fit,” Roche said. “He’s got a lot of talent … because he spent so much time obviously playing hockey, [those] little nuances and stuff in golf that he still needs to learn [are] only going to make him better.”
Since arriving on the Hilltop, Radke provides professional experience, albeit in hockey, to a fairly young men’s golf team that will return five players from last season. He was also beginning to step into a leadership role in the practices prior to the two-week quarantine.
“He’s had his professional career and he knows he wants to play at the highest level he possibly can,” Roche said. “From a golf standpoint, he’s helping the other guys understand what that takes.”
As for the upcoming spring season, Roche said he is looking forward to Radke’s further
progression as a player.
As one of the newest, but also senior members of the men’s golf team, Radke said he is enjoying life at Bradley so far.
“I couldn’t ask for a better situation, honestly,” Radke said. “I haven’t been a part of a team in a while … but it’s nice to have people support you and watch you get better.”