Born January 1, 1987 (age 25) in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Center for the Phoenix Coyotes
I have a Coyotes loving friend who referred to this guy as Creme Brule. I thought that was cute, so I had to learn more. Turns out this guy has an interesting story. In his first year with the Vancouver Giants, he won rookie of the year, meaning he was eligible to be rookie of the year for the entire CHL too. But he came of age alongside age peer Sidney Crosby. He kept racking up recognitions, including Scholastic Player of the Year for taking on more high school credits than anyone else. But then he was drafted sixth overall by Columbus in 2005 and made their roster right out of camp. He debuted in the Blue Jackets’ 2005-06 season opener, but suffered a sternum fracture the very next game and missed 17 games. Upon his return, he scored a goal in his first game back, though he got hurt again soon after, breaking his leg. After he healed from that injury, the Blue Jackets sent him back down to the Giants. Instead of being insulted by the situation, Brule absolutely excelled again. He was so good that Giants fans voted him the second best Giant of the past decade behind only Milan Lucic.
He promised to not go to Vancouver again the next season and kept getting scratched until Ken Hitchcock took over as coach. After that happened, his ice time on the fourth line increased. Traded to Edmonton in the 2008 offseason, he spent a lot of time with the minor-league Springfield Falcons and registered his first Oilers goal in January 2009. 2009-10 saw his best statistical season, but it was also dotted with injuries and illnesses. The bug continued in 2010-11, where he was healthy for the first three months, but then suffered a stomach flu (ouch), an abdominal injury and a concussion. After the season, he saw a sports psychologist to try to address issues in his game, but the Oilers brass felt he was inconsistent and expendable. They put him on waivers with the intent of assigning him to their AHL team, and then when they called him back up during a bout of injury, the Coyotes claimed him on re-entry waivers. He debuted on Jan. 12 of this year as a ‘yote.
Brule has gotten media attention in May of 2010 and 2011. In 2010 it was for donating money to a sick kid so he could have a surgery in New York that Canadian doctors couldn’t do. In 2011 it was for picking up two hitchhikers who turned out to be Bono and his assistant. Yes, that Bono. (Why they were hitching in Vancouver is beyond me.) Bono was so grateful that he gave Brule and his family backstage passes and even thanked him during the show. What a cool guy. Maybe playing in a different climate will give Brule a chance to improve his game…and maybe even pick up more hitchhiking rock stars.