For the Love of the Game

Some people are forced to leave the sport they love due to injury, while others just know it’s time to step away. Brady Petrie knew at ten years old in his heart that the game of hockey would never have the same meaning ever again.

The Connection

The game of hockey has an unique way of connecting us all. Hockey like no other sport forges unbreakable lifetime bonds that are commonly rooted in a shared dream, the dream of one day skating under the bright lights of the NHL. Brady Petrie was a dreamer and in many ways still is. His introduction to the game and subsequent love for it grew rapidly.

“I started playing hockey at four,,” Petrie said proudly.

“My dad held me up while I did a lap at the 4-Plex during the public skate.”

“Playing hockey was my escape at a young age whether it was on our outdoor door rink that my dad built for my brother and I every year.”

“I always had a smile on my face walking in and out of the rink because I was playing the sport I loved,” confessed Petrie.

Sport was a way life for the Petrie family and hockey was the epicentre. One can only imagine how hectic life was with two young aspiring hockey players living under the same roof. From the early morning practices, to the jammed packed action filled weekend games, the constant shuttle runs from home to the rink became second nature for the Petrie’s.

The hustle and bustle of the almost daily commute to rink took on special meaning for Petrie because he knew he was going to share the experience and all the action with his dad who was also his coach.

A shared love and passion for the game grew instantly. Andrew and Brady Petrie were inseparably.

Hockey grew and strengthened their connection and love for one another.

From father to son, the dream, passion and love for the game of hockey is always shared. 

The diminutive skilled forward was starting to his stride and finding his place in the game, when the unthinkable happened. In that moment everything stopped

Andrew was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 and tragically passed away from it in 2016.

There are no words to explain the loss of a loved one. We all handle it differently. We all mourn in our own way.

One can only imagine what Petrie and the rest of the family were going through at this devastating and tragic time.

“I was 10 years old when my dad passed away and even though the doctors told us that his days were numbered it was still a shock to know that my dad, role model and coach was gone besides memory’s and pictures.”

“It was hard losing a parent at such a young age, but I had my family to help me through it. My whole family was always there for me no matter what.”

“At the end on the day it was my mom that I felt I could really open up to about how I was feeling.”

“I stepped away from hockey at that time because it didn’t feel the same without my dad there.”

“My dad was a huge part of the game for me not only because he was my dad and my coach, but he was also my motivation.”

“Every time I stepped on the ice, I wanted to impress him because I always said that I wanted to be as good as him.”

Hockey was an escape for Brady Petrie, but his other escape and passion was the solitude and speed of a dirt bike.

“From a young age I always wanted a dirtbike.”

“I was eight when my neighbours moved in to their new house and the built a motorcross track on the side of their house. As soon as they pulled the bikes out I went over and watched because I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Shortly after my dad passed and I stopped playing hockey I decided to try out motocross.”

“My mom was supportive of my decision and got me my first dirt bike, I loved it.”

“I felt in my element every time I started riding it.”

“About a year after I got my first dirt bike, I decided I wanted to try racing instead of just trail riding.”

“I started racing in May of 2018 and I felt out of place at the track only knowing a few people, but the Dealy family and as well as Larry Northrup were always there to help me out played a huge role in the sport for me,” Petrie said proudly.

Petrie was content that the track would be his new home away from home for a long time. The love and unwavering support from friends and family isn’t lost on the mature well spoken 15-year-old.

“My mom is by far the strongest women I know and will ever meet.”

“She does everything she can to keep me and my brother healthy and she is constantly working hard to provide for us.”

“She works really hard to help me and Alex through everything in life.”

“I don’t know where I would be today without her.”

The Comeback

Everyone loves a comeback story, but no one ever expected Brady Petrie to return to the ice.

“Everyone deals with certain situations differently, Brady was only ten when we lost our dad and I think it was tough for him to keep playing hockey knowing his biggest supporter wouldn’t be there,” said Alex Petrie.

Petrie, who played for the Grand Falls Rapids of the Maritime Hockey League this season received a text message early in the fall that certainly caught him off guard.

“I get a text from Brady saying ‘you got any old sticks I could use’”?

“I was shocked, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited, I was happy he was getting back into the sport he once loved.”

“I’ve always been a hockey guy, so to share the love for the game with Brady again is a great feeling.”

“I did not see that coming, but I loved every minute of it,” said Brady’s mom Trish Petrie when talk of a comeback surfaced.

“Unbeknownst to me he packs up mismatched hockey gear, Andrew’s skates they almost nothing left of blades and too small, mismatched elbow pads, again too small, two different knee pads, borrowed pants, Andrew’s coaching gloves- with holes and says, ‘hey, mom I am trying out for high school hockey.’”

“I was like oh, when and we are going to need gear.”

“I stared at him likely with my mouth gaping open in sheer disbelief wanting to ask why? How? Thought you hated it?”

“Brady calmly says “it would be fun, and I found gear. It’s just a try out and I don’t want you to spend money on gear, this will do.”

“I made a few phone calls to hockey mama friends to borrow some key pieces, safety first and away he went days later,” she said.

“I was a little bit nervous when I stepped back on the ice for the first time in almost five years, but I had a lot of friends that were trying out with me which made me more comfortable at try outs,” Petrie said.

“Every time I would go into the garage to work on something or get something I would always notice a old hockey bag filled with hockey gear and would always joke around telling my brother “what if I played hockey again.”

“Alex would always said just do it man you’ll have fun.”

“When the pandemic hit and I found out there would be less fans and no tournaments it was almost like it was meant to be.”

“When I told my mom and brother I wanted to tryout for the high school team they didn’t really know if I was serious or not because I had joked about it many times.”

“I wanted to try out so bad that I wore my dads old skates and my scrambled up some gear that was around my house.”

Petrie’s comeback and goal of making the Harrison Trimble’s High School team was quickly put on hold.

“I didn’t think I would be upset if I got cut because I was off the ice for almost five years, but when I was told that I didn’t make it I was a little sad because I wanted to play with my friends like I did years before,” Petrie said.

“When the coaches cut me they said, ‘we want you to play somewhere this year and try out again next year, we’d love to see you here again next fall.’”

“That gave me so much motivation to play hard and practice harder then I ever had.”

Two weeks later everything changed.

“I started playing house league hockey and about two weeks later, I was helping my step dad with something when my mom’s phone started ringing.”

“I didn’t think anything of it, but when she hung up she said “so I just got off the phone with the Trimble coach and they want to know if you would want to play for them.’”

“I was shocked,” Petrie said

I called Alex and asked him what I should do. He said yes without hesitation and that’s what sealed the deal for me.”

Every comeback is meaningful, but this one holds a special place in the hearts in entire hockey community.

Andrew Petrie’s impact on the hockey world and community has and will continue to live on through his sons.

“As of right now hockey means the world to me,” Petrie said.

“I love getting on the ice.”

“Sure, you can be upset at the game while playing, but you never have a bad day when your playing hockey.”

Brady Petrie is driven, there’s no other way to put it. The goal to make the Trojans next season continues to fuel his rediscovered love and passion for the game.

I see myself playing for Trimble again next year because it’s fun playing for your school and with all of your friends.”

“I would like to work hard throughout the summer and next season to improve my skills in the game and maybe tryout for a higher level team in the future,” confessed Petrie.

Staying true to the humble athlete, hockey player and person he is Brady Petrie is quick to downplay his success pointing to several people that have played an instrumental role in his life and return to the game.

Photo Credit by Normand Leger

“I’ve had tons of great coaches in my life that have helped in the game, but my favourites would have to be my dad, Todd Bursey and Kevin and Kyle Furze,” Petrie said proudly.

“Having the opportunity to coach Brady or “Tree” as we call him, this past winter was rewarding in so many ways,” said Trojan’s Assistant Coach Kyle Furze said.

“Starting as a quiet and shy kid, Brady quickly turning into a leader on and off the ice.”

“He is everything you look for in a young man looking to improve his game. You can always count on him to show up to the rink with a smile and give his 110%.”

“We look forward to the years to come and are excited to see him grow as a player and person,” Furze added.

Sadly Kevin and Kyle Furze lost their father, who was also heavily involved in the game last summer.

“It was an honor to coach Brady,” said Trojans Head Coach Jeremy LeBlanc.

“As a coach you typically love to see a kid’s face light up when you teach him something new. Brady gives you that look whether it’s something new or old.”

“The more intense the situation got the more Brady gives you that look. He just loves the game,” confessed LeBlanc.

“It’s not easy going through what he did, and at such a young age. I can’t even imagine the pain that the family went through.”

“Hockey is a great, fast-paced sport to watch. But if you ask me bringing people together is the real beauty that lies within the game.”

“The game of hockey needs kids, but in a lot of cases the kids need the game. I know Brady will do great in life. He loves all sorts of things, he’s a great kid with a great attitude, he’s a true winner,” LeBlanc said.

“Brady now has a coach that can always be there for him no matter what and two assistants that know exactly how he feels. Our brotherhood is a lifelong bond. We will always be there to help,” LeBlanc said.

The bond between Alex and Brady Petrie has always run deep. What impact has his big brother had on his life on and off the ice?

“My brother was always playing at a high level of hockey so I’ve always looked up to him from the first day I every stepped foot on the ice,” said Petrie.

“He was always a step ahead of me and to this day I’m still asking him for tips and he’s always happy to help. He was so proud when I started playing hockey again that he would text me or call me after every game to ask how it went.”

“That means a lot to me. It means a lot to me to have him here.”

Everyone loves a comeback story, especially when it’s for the love the game. Brady Petrie’s rediscovered love for the game is truly an inspiration.

3 comments

  1. Brady, you are an inspiration to many and know your strength and determination will help others….I know Denis for one would be so proud!

    Like

  2. Brady, you will always be good in whatever you do because you put your heart in it. We will always be cheering for you and Alex.

    Like

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