Friday, September 24, 2010

BYI post #19: Little Bro

Although you would never know by the actual “comments” sections of these blog posts, I do in fact receive several comments by other means.  My wife and daughter say nice things in person, my parents say nice things on the phone, and my brother Jaimie says nice things via e-mail.  And just recently, Jaimie suggested that I blog a bit about how my “little bro became such a feared power forward.”  OK, dude, you asked for it.  Better getcha popcorn ready, ‘cause this blog entry is gonna be epic.

Dad told me one time that he didn’t put us in hockey - and build the backyard rink - to make us NHLers.  He just wanted us to be good enough so that we would be able to play some pick-up later on in life and and not suck too badly.  Growing up, I was good enough to play with and against some good hockey players, notably Andrew McKim, who played in the NHL a bit and tore up the AHL for a few seasons.  I also played against a pretty decent hockey player for FHS named Matt Stairs, who was even better at another sport (check out this link).  After intramural hockey at University, and when I moved away, one of the first things I did in my new town was to call the local Recreation Department and ask about gentlemen’s hockey.  That was almost 20 years ago, and I am still playing with a great bunch of guys every Friday night.

Jaimie was a better hockey player than I was - he played a good amount of high-level hockey - and the “feared power forward” tag is actually fairly accurate.  His favourite player growing up was Bryan Trottier and he kind of modeled his game after him (and, of course 19 was his favourite number).  Jaimie could put the points on the board like Bossy’s set-up man, but I’d say he was more aggressive than good ol’ Trots.  He also played with and against several good players, but the most… lets say interesting teammate he had was a guy named Andy Bezeau.

Sometimes, after we got bored of practicing our shots or skating or whatever on the backyard rink, Jaimie and I would practice our fighting.  We discovered that it was a good idea to whip off your gloves into your opponent's face instead of dropping them, then follow up with the knuckles.  Fighting was never a big aspect of my game, but Jaimie would put those particular finely-tuned skills to use on occasion.  However, Bezeau was in a category all his own.

Hurrikanes #19
Jaimie and Bezeau played together on the Saint John Pepsis, which was the top Midget team in southern New Brunswick.  Well, I say they played “together” but technically either one or the other guy was in the box for a good portion of many games, and when they weren’t “feeling shame” they were scoring goals.  Bezeau went on to play hockey for several minor-pro teams for about 10 seasons, but I’d have to say his most notable season was with the Fort Wayne Komets in 1995-96.  Here are the stats for that year, according to 74 GP, 10 G, 11A, 21 Pts, 590 PIM.  Yes, 590 PIM….almost 10 full hours.  And, thanks to YouTube, you can enjoy plenty of Andy Bezeau’s handiwork.  My favourite is the one where he fights the opposing team’s bench.

Being born almost two and a half years apart meant that Jaimie and I were never on the same team growing up.  We did play against each other in an exhibition game once, when he was on the High School team and I was on a Juvenile team.  We actually collided during the game, right in front of Mom, and I think she may have fainted.

Of course, we eventually ended up on the same team not that long ago at the World Pond Hockey Championships. In our famous game against Brian Skrudland, Jaimie was battling with a couple of Skrudland’s teammates, and after some impressive little moves he came out with control of the puck. I happened to be skating next to Skrudland at the time, and Skrudland quietly said, kind of to himself, “that guy’s a good hockey player.”

Hey man…that guy’s my little bro.
L-R: Jaimie, me, another guy, Brian Skrudland

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