July | Patrice Brisebois
Patrice Brisebois- JETELOVE’s Montrealer of the Month-July
With playoffs hopefully starting soon, who better to sit down with than Montreal’s very own Stanley Cup champion Patrice Brisebois.
A bittersweet story unlike no other, Patrice Brisebois started his hockey career without the typical support of parents. Growing up in St Michel, in a very modest environment in the east end of Montreal, the young hockey player learned to pretty much survive and thrive on his own. Soon after his father’s retirement, he packed up and moved to St Donat where Patrice was basically told to follow or figure it out. Being drafted to the junior team Les Titans de Laval at the young age of 16, Patrice had no choice but to reside with families who weren’t necessarily welcoming. His talent was too great not to be recognized. Although his beloved mother Pierrette was his biggest fan, her support was expressed in a humble way attending all games in walking distance from their home in Montreal. With little financial resources, Patrice’s mother did all should could do to encourage her son and remind him that hard work, perseverance combined with raw talent would prevail.
Brisebois ‘s love for hockey was a typical Canadian thing: just like every other young Quebecois male, he idolized Guy Lafleur, his favourite pastime was playing in the city’s outdoor rinks and thankfully, his passion turned into an incredible career!
He often recounts how he started playing hockey later than most children, he didn’t want to burden his parents with the cost of the sport, but one magical night at the “free skate” at the municipal arena, his skating ability and talent was discovered by his friend’s father, Monsieur Meloche. He was the reason Patrice started to play hockey.
There are many mentors that marked the defenceman’s’ outstanding career, namely Claude Ruel, player developer for the Montreal Canadiens. Once recruited by the Laval Titans in Junior, M. Ruel took Patrice under his wing and guided him long before he was drafted to the Montreal Canadiens.
Many moments marked this retired NHL player: winning the Stanley Cup in 1993 at the young age of 22, being awarded many trophies such as the Jacques Beauchamp prize, and the prestigious Jean Beliveau trophy in which he is most proud of, awarded to a player who makes the most impact both on and off the ice. But of all Patrice Brisebois’ accolades, his most humbling and memorable moment was walking into the Forum, as a player of the adored Montreal Canadiens knowing he would practice and play alongside greats such as Patrick Roy, Guy Carbonneau, Kirk Muller and Vincent Damphousse just to name a few.
An outstanding 18-year career (16 with The Habs and 2 with the Colorado Avalanche) and more than 1000 games played. There were many highs and a few lows. Patrice has no regrets and is grateful that he got to support his family while doing something that fed his passion. He is proud to have been able to support many local charities with substantial donations and give back generously to his community.
In 2009 Patrice made the very emotional and difficult decision to hang up his skates and retire from playing professional hockey. In 2012 he was given the great opportunity to re-join the Montreal Canadiens organization as a development coach. This position was short lived due to the grueling travel schedule keeping him away from his young family. He later joined TVA sports as an analyst, later realizing that TV production was something that he wasn’t entirely comfortable with.
Since his retirement from the NHL, Patrice Brisebois stays very active playing with the Habs Alumni, touring to different cities in Canada, offering entertainment to spectators while raising money for various charities. He is also pursuing another passion; his love for racing cars. Brisebois has raced in Ferrari Challenge, Lamborghini Super Trofeo and in Nascar. He continues to track.
With the NHL playoffs hopefully resuming shortly, I asked Patrice what his thoughts are regarding the broadcasted games without spectators? He says that any game is better than none, however it may be a little more challenging for the players without feeling the energy of their fans. When asked what his predictions were for the upcoming series he replied: “the series are like a brand-new season, it’s always a surprise…. but of course, The Habs winning the cup…that would be amazing!”
When asked what advice he has for the younger generation who thrives to reach the success that he has, he says it’s simple; “don’t base it all on talent, talent only gets you so far. You absolutely need a strong work ethic, don’t take shortcuts, put in your hours, play with passion and give it your all.”
Patrice Brisebois remains true to his reputation. Passionate, generous and kind. An inspiration to all.
Merci Patrice #Montrealtelove #Breezer