MONTREAL - It was just your average day at Habs training camp this morning at the Bell Sports Complex until news broke of Brisebois’ retirement announcement. Once the players were off the ice, everyone in the room had Brisebois on the brain.
“Patrice was really important to me at the beginning of my career when I was breaking into the league,” said Guillaume Latendresse. “He’d often take me aside to talk to me or help me any way he could. No matter what was happening on the ice and whether he was in the lineup or not, Breezer always had a smile on his face and was always nice to everyone he met.”
“He can hang up his skates today knowing that he had a great career and he was lucky to experience all that he did over the years,” continued Latendresse.
Brisebois’ impact wasn’t limited to fellow Quebecers. The veteran’s influence knew no boundaries.
“Breezer was a really good teammate,” said fellow defenseman Ryan O’Byrne. “He came to the rink just happy to be there even after playing in 1,000 NHL games. Having gotten the chance to pair up with him and learn from him meant a lot to me.”
The infectious energy generated by Brisebois also wasn’t lost on blue-liner Josh Gorges
“What I will remember the most about him is that he knew how to keep things light and have fun,” recalled Gorges. “He was always blaring his music, singing out loud and dancing. On those days when you’re tired and then you see the oldest guy on the team with all that energy, you have no choice but to follow.”
Brisebois was so popular in the dressing room that even the normally mum Andrei Markov
couldn’t resist showing Breezer some Russian man-love.
“He was a great teammate and while it’s sad to see him retire it’s part of life in the NHL,” said Markov. “He was always such a positive guy who gave 100-percent in everything he did.”
Tonight, Brisebois will get his final warm ovation from Canadiens fans, but he will never stop being a Hab. Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Manny Almela.Read alsoGame preview: Habs - BruinsHighlightsMy Essentials: Patrice Brisebois My Playlist: Patrice Brisebois Small talk with: Patrice Brisebois