MONTREAL - There's reason to celebrate in the Juulsen household this weekend.
Defenseman Noah Juulsen's older brother, Tyler, will wrap up his 12-month stint as a probie with the Surrey Fire Service on Sunday, officially graduating to full firefighter status.
He joins his father, Neil, in the firefighting business. Neil is a 21-year veteran of the Surrey Fire Service, who currently serves as a captain. He also served as a volunteer firefighter for half a decade prior to making it a full-time gig.
To say that Noah is proud of Tyler's accomplishment is an understatement.
"He put in a lot of work to be where he is today. Nothing was given to him. All the hours studying. Even last summer, I remember he was studying pretty much every day to get here," praised Noah, 22, who is back home in British Columbia for the offseason. "I think he's going to do great. He talked to my dad about little things he can do to improve, and he's been learning a lot from other guys at the fire hall. Watching and learning has been a huge help. Moving forward, he's going to just turn that into helping others."
Tyler, 26, essentially learned the fundamental tricks of the trade while acting as a paid-on-call (POC) firefighter in Abbotsford and Chilliwack for two years before joining the Surrey Fire Service to begin his probationary work.
"Paid-on-call gives you a lot of hands-on experience. It helps you get your basics and improves your understanding and knowledge of firefighting. It's kind of like practice," explained Tyler, of his tenure in the POC ranks. "You get a pager or there's an app on your phone. It'll give you a buzz when you have a call, you drive to the hall and you head to whatever call it might be. Through paid-on-call, that's when I knew this was something I wanted to do for the rest of my career and the rest of my life."
Over the last year, Tyler has been put to the test in several of the Surrey Fire Service's 15 halls.
"You work your days, you work your nights. We do two days at 10 hours, and then we do two nights at 14 hours. Then, we do four days off. We bounced around month-to-month because we're on probation. We meet a lot of the crews and experience the different types of calls," mentioned Tyler, on the subject of his rookie year. "You also do a lot of drills, tabletop presentations and other things you have to do to meet your probationary requirements."
So, what does Tyler enjoy most about his chosen line of work?
"It's that team environment. You have that camaraderie with everyone you work with. They all understand what you're going through and they've been there and they can shed light on what you're doing," shared Tyler. "Being in the same field as my dad is extremely cool. It's rare that you get a father and son that work within the firefighting profession, let alone to be on the floor at the same time. Just being out there, trying to make a difference, helping people in distress where you can and giving back to the community is huge."
And Noah believes Tyler's make-up is perfectly suited for the position.
"The type of person he is, he'll get along with anyone no matter who it is. I think it's a huge bonus for him. The character he has, he's shown that and it's gone a long way. I think other people are starting to notice it now, too," concluded Noah. "In school and everything, he has always done his best to succeed. He's very dedicated. That's why he made it to this point."
Noah and Tyler make every effort to stay in close contact during the hockey season.
"He checked in on me once or twice a week throughout the season just to see how everything was going," said Noah, who was sidelined indefinitely in February with a vision-related issue, but confirmed in mid-April that he'd been cleared to play in the fall. "He was busy doing all the stuff he needed to do for firefighting, but I know he was watching because he was texting me. I know he's got his eye on me no matter what."
As do Tyler's fellow firefighters, who are big fans of the young blueliner.
"A lot of the guys do watch hockey. They enjoy watching my brother play. There's a few really die-hard Canadiens fans," said Tyler. "It's cool to have people throughout the department keeping tabs on Noah, seeing how he's doing and seeing how things are progressing and how his season has gone along."
Video: Noah Juulsen on his injury
It goes without saying that Tyler is hoping that the 2019-20 campaign will be both a healthy and a productive one for the former first-rounder.
"I just want to see him continue to do better and continue to make strides for himself," concluded Tyler. "I couldn't be more proud of him for where he's at right now."