HAZELWOOD, Mo. - Just eight days after arriving in his new NHL city, forward Troy Brouwer is working out with some of his new teammates at the IceZone at St. Louis Outlet Mall. Training Camp is still several weeks away, but Brouwer is already getting situated in his new digs.
Before 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning, he had taken his daughter to her first day of school, finished his morning workout, and did a Q&A with us (what can we say? This guy doesn't mess around).
Here's our full interview with the newest Blue, which covers everything from hockey, to music, to fan clubs and baseball.
STLOUISBLUES.COM: Did you grow up like every other kid in Canada? That is, on skates at an early age and dreaming of one day making it to the NHL?
TROY BROUWER: In Canada, you play hockey. That’s all there is to it. My dad wanted me to play a wide variety of sports. I played hockey, baseball and basketball at school. My parents always thought that if I played more sports, I’d become a better all-around athlete. I played organized hockey since I was 6 years old and I got drafted late in the WHL Draft. My mom didn't want me to move away from home at 16, but that’s what you have to do if you want to try to make a career in hockey. A lot of good things have happened since then.
BLUES: Take us back to July when you’re told you’ve been traded to St. Louis. What are you thinking?
TB: At first, you’re always feeling a lot of emotions and you’re not exactly sure what to think. I remember getting the call from our GM in Washington. All you can think is ‘where am I getting traded to?’ They told me it was St. Louis. As a player, you’re happy you’re getting traded to a contending hockey team, one that is going to give you an opportunity to win for the next few years. The other thing I thought about is I didn’t really know many people in St. Louis, but later that day they signed (Kyle) Brodziak and I actually played junior hockey with him. I don’t really know much about the city, but talking to a few people shortly afterwards, they said St. Louis is a great place to live, a great place to be with the family. It just makes everything easy, plus you know the hockey is going to be good and you’re going to be given a good opportunity when you come here.
BLUES: We didn’t see any little girls crying on YouTube when you got traded from the Capitals, but we know the Brouwer Rangers weren’t happy with the news. Tell us a little bit about your two-man superhero fan club in Washington.
TB: The Brouwer Rangers are made up of Ryan and Nathan, and they are really passionate hockey fans that love the Caps, obviously. They love to cheer for the guys who aren’t superstars, the guys who have good work ethic and are good role models. They were the Knuble Knights before that for Mike Knuble. They picked me maybe because it was just an easy name for them. They dress in their Power Ranger costumes all the time and they were very supportive of me, my family and the Washington Capitals, which I’m very thankful for. They were fun, they always came out to charity events and are really good at supporting their communities. They did a fundraiser at Fort Dupont Ice Arena to make sure it would stay open. They do a lot of other things in the community and with the Caps hockey team. It’s great.
BLUES: You talk about the Brouwer Rangers supporting guys who aren’t superstars but have good work ethic. Does that describe you?
TB: I’m definitely not a huge name out there. My big thing is I try to be consistent, I try to be a player that is very solid. You know what you’re going to get day in and day out from me. Hard work, finishing my checks, being a good leader on the team and being a good teammate. That’s what I pride myself in as a hockey player.
BLUES: Playing with the Chicago Blackhawks (that’s the last time we’ll mention them), you’ve played against the Blues quite a bit. What’s it like being on the other side of that rivalry?
TB: Scottrade Center is a very tough arena to play in. It’s not very friendly to the visiting team. Ever since I got to the League, the Blues have been a heavy, grind-it-out, tough team. The style they play is not a lot of fun to play against and it’s no different now. I think the Blues are one of the best teams in the League. The style they play, the personnel they have…we just need to make sure we can get over that hump in the playoffs.
BLUES: Do you have any hidden talents? Tell us something that nobody knows about you.
TB: Apparently I’m a good dancer. My very first year in Washington, that Gangnam Style song came on and I danced on the ice to that. I like to play video games, but ever since having a kid, that kind of stopped. When I was younger, I was really good baseball player. I played on the Western Canadian baseball team. At 16 years old I had to pick whether I would play hockey or baseball. I feel like I made the right choice.
BLUES: If we searched your phone, what kind of music would we find?
TB: A lot of everything. From Britney Spears to Taylor Swift. And I like classic rock like The Doors and Led Zeppelin.
BLUES: You’ve been acquired by the Blues to help this group of players reach another level. How does it feel knowing you’re coming to a team that considers you an important piece in helping pursue a championship?
TB: It’s an honor that a team wants to bring me in because of my experience, that they feel I’m a player that can push them through and get to the next level in the playoffs. That also comes with a little bit of pressure, but at the same time, I welcome the challenge and the opportunity. I just want to be a good solid piece for this hockey team, to help get to where we want to be, which is win a Stanley Cup.
BLUES: A few weeks ago, you tweeted a picture of you touring Washington D.C. in a Nationals hat. Have you bought a new hat?
TB: I have two Cardinals hats now. I went to the game on Sunday against the Marlins. My big thing is I love going to ballparks. Whenever we’re on the road, if we have a day off in the city, I’ll go watch a game. I try and grab a hat from every ballpark that I go to. With Busch Stadium now, I have 14 hats. You’ll see me wear a variety of them - everything from San Francisco to Toronto, I have both New York teams, Arizona - I’ve been all over. But I’ll wear my Cardinals hat most of the time around this city.