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Playing With Fire

by Mike Doyle / Minnesota Wild

Hockey is a game played with passion. On the ice, Wild Prospect Brett Bulmer exemplifies the passion needed to make it to the professional level. Off the ice, his passion for the game often spills onto his Twitter feed. Although Bulmer isn’t the most prolific tweeter, he regularly uses the medium to give inspirational lines, often with the hashtag #fire.

“Put your heart in to it, and you'll never go wrong. #fire.”

“Dreaming is the easy part. Go get it #believe.”

“Better wake up and have that #fire #liveit.”

These are just a few examples of tweets the Prince George, British Columbia native uses to get motivated, whether it is going to the gym in the summertime or trying to improve at the rink during practice. For Bulmer, these sayings have individual meanings and help him get mentally focused for his next challenge.

“If I think it in my head and it’s something that can motivate me, I’ll put it out there,” Bulmer said. “The hashtag fire is just about having that fire in you.”

The forward doesn’t look outward for his fire, as the desire to improve, and share his thoughts, is an intrinsic trait.

“I don’t really look at other people’s quotes,” Bulmer said. “After a workout, I’ll be excited and just say something that motivates me and I’ll display it on (Twitter).

"If other people like it, maybe they re-tweet it. If it’s something I believe in I’ll tweet and others might like it, too.”

The 20-year-old forward has already learned the importance of staying hungry. Last season he had a taste of the National Hockey League, playing in the Wild’s first nine games of the season. Bulmer also joined the Houston Aeros during the Calder Cup Playoffs for the past two years, after completing the season with his junior team, the Kelowna Rockets. The morsel of pro hockey has left him wanting more.

Bulmer’s approach and preparation hasn’t gone unnoticed. Wild Director of Player Development Brad Bombardir thinks that getting reassigned to Kelowna after starting the season in Minnesota helped focus the forward. Since then, he notes that Bulmer has had the mentality to try and improve every day.

“We’ve really noticed it over the last year,” Bombardir said. “The greatest thing I saw out of Brett last year was when he left (Minnesota) and went back to Kelowna, he really started to take his game seriously and his career seriously.”

Bombardir, a former NHLer, thought Bulmer’s time spent in Minnesota helped him turn the corner – from wanting to be a successful junior player to learning what it takes to be a successful pro.

“He knows the work that goes in day in and day out to become a professional hockey player and certainly a player who wants to have a meaningful career in the National Hockey League,” Bombardir said. “For me, that’s been the most pleasant thing to see: his growth.”

Heading into Aeros Training Camp this weekend, Bulmer is excited for his first full season of professional hockey and the opportunity to develop with fellow prospects in Minnesota’s organization.

“We’ve got a great young crop coming in together,” Bulmer said. “For us to all come in at the same time, there is going to be a lot of learning to do, but it’s going to be exciting.”

That crop includes a handful of highly touted first and second round picks including Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Zack Phillips, Jason Zucker, Johan Larsson and Jonas Brodin – all of whom will be at Xcel Energy Center for Aeros camp this weekend.

The Wild’s second round pick (39th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft knows when to work hard, but also knows when to relax and enjoy the moment. During practices last season and at Wild Development Camp during the summer, Bulmer was often seen smiling between drills, chatting it up with teammates or engaging in some lighthearted roughhousing.

“I try to keep it light, too. In practice, I’ll jab a guy or make a guy laugh,” Bulmer said. “You can’t always be too serious; you have to have some fun along the way.”

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