The Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League announced Wednesday that Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman and Cougars alumnus, Eric Brewer, is part of their new ownership group that also includes fellow NHL defenseman Dan Hamhuis of the Vancouver Canucks.
Brewer appeared in 168 games with the Cougars from 1995-96 to 1997-98 and recorded 76 points (14 goals, 62 assists).
“They were, and still are, a great family,” Brewer said. “It was my first time away from home and I was raised in the same type of small town in British Columbia. I still consider it a major stepping stone in my career.”
While the thought of owning a team was always an idea that circled through his mind, the Bolts blue-liner never expected it to materialize into Wednesday’s announcement. Yet Hamhuis contacted him “out of the blue” and before he knew it, Brewer was in meetings with Prince George’s lead investor during their Western Canada road trip this past season.
For Brewer, being a part-owner of his former junior team is not only significant for the experiences he had on the ice, but he also met his future wife, Rebecca, when playing with the Cougars.
“I didn’t know what to expect when I went there, but it ended up being such a good experience,” he said. “I met my wife there and we still have friends and in-laws living in the area. We’re still pretty current with the area and it just seemed like an easy fit.”
The plans for Brewer’s involvement with the team are still in the early phases, as he said Hamhuis and himself are learning how to be involved with the Cougars when still playing in the NHL, but it is something he is eager about exploring further.
It is believed Brewer is now the second player (Brad Richards, PEI Rocket) in Lightning franchise history to own a team in some fashion while still playing for the Bolts.