We all know the famous names and their stories, but what about the others? Their climb to the NHL still have value. Some might say their stories are the most important for this region given the intangibles they possess. These players and their stories shouldn’t be forgotten, if anything they should be celebrated.
Liam O’Brien is the forgotten Maritime NHLer.
The hard nosed gritty forward from Halifax has already surpassed a career high in NHL games played with the Arizona Coyotes this season. It’s been a long and winding road for O’Brien becoming an NHL regular, one that would galvanize any person and player.
Going undrafted and making it all the way to the NHL isn’t easy. You need someone to believe in you, you need amateur and pro scouts alike to pound the table for you in player personnel meetings. The Washington Capitals organization were the first to believe in O’Brien and give him a chance and as they say the rest is history.
All some people need is a fighting chance and an opportunity. The former Rouyn-Noranda Huskie earned his through hard work, not backing down from anyone and always standing up for his teammates. O’Brien is a heart and soul player who’s earned every ounce of success throughout his career.
From the QMJHL, to the American Hockey League and beyond, the proud Maritime continues to prove anything is possible when it comes to the game of hockey.
O’Brien’s road to becoming an NHL regular wasn’t linear to say the least. He’s embraced the grind which makes his story that much more compelling.
There’s no question O’Brien’s style of play and energy he brings night in night out has made him a fan favourite at every stop along the way. Nevertheless, there’s very little attention or fan fare around his path in the game.
You see you don’t have to spend too much time around O’Brien to realize what type of person he is. His drive, dedication and character are unmatched.
One of the fiercest most intense competitors on the ice, gives way to a quiet soft spoken gentle person away from the game.
Liam O’Brien is the type of player and person that organizations value not only for critical the role he plays on the ice, but what he does in the room and in the community.
He embodies the true essence of a glue guy, the true essence of what great teammate really is.
The Maritimes and Nova Scotia in particular have produced some amazing talent. Arguably, three of the games best call Nova Scotia home, but we should never forget all the others fighting and clawing their way to the top. Even though their journey in the game isn’t as glamorous or high profile, their efforts to play under the bright lights of the NHL will continue to inspire the next generation of youth that perhaps model their game after theirs. The influence and impact these players may have on next top prospects from the region might be more relatable and in fact immeasurable.
Liam O’Brien isn’t your prototypical enforcer, he’s so much more than that and I’m sure if you asked every one of his current and former teammates they would be the first ones to say how valuable he really is.
At 27 years old Liam O’Brien is an NHL regular and his path to the best league in the world shouldn’t be forgotten, if anything it should be celebrated.