“I love the game, a lot of people say that and I have a hard time even imagining not playing.” Tim Brent has played for a variety of teams, but he never forgot where it all started out. During the lockout Carolina Hurricanes Forward Tim Brent came back to help out the local Junior B hockey team the Cambridge Winter Hawks, where he got his start in Junior hockey. Although he only played one year with the Winter Hawks it was a very successful and rewarding time for him. I had the opportunity to meet up with Tim and talk hockey with him.
Hometown: Cambridge, Ontario
Birthdate: March 10th 1984
Career: NHL Hockey Player
LS: How did you get your start in hockey?
TB: My dad got me on skates when I was 18 months old and that jump started it. I loved hockey for as long as I can remember, and hockey was always on TV.
LS: Tell me about your time with the Cambridge Winter Hawks?
TB: It was one year (in and out) and it was the most fun year of hockey I’ve had in my life. That happened to be the year we won the Sutherland Cup. I grew up watching the Winter Hawks as a kid, and the great thing about playing in your home town is you get to play with your buddies.
LS: In 2000 you won a Sutherland Cup with the Cambridge Winter Hawks, what was that experience like?
TB: It was a great experience, I was only 15 years old and drafted to the OHL, I had an older team and I was the youngest player, the young guy that got to ride everyone’s coat tails.
LS: Who were some of your friends when you were playing on the Winter Hawks, and are you still friends with them today?
TB: Facebook has been great for keeping in touch. Some of the friends I played with include Nick and Jake Bayley, Keefe Snowden and Colin Bower. I see some of them on a daily basis right now. Two summers ago we celebrated the ten year anniversary and had a golf tourney with the guys.
LS: How did playing for the Winter Hawks help you prepare for your NHL career?
TB: Playing with the Winter Hawks was integral to growing as a player and was the first time playing against men. Jeff Brick was the coach and was disciplinarian and hard-nosed. I was the youngest and had to earn my stripes to say the least. I learned a lot about myself as a player and ‘grew’ the most that year than any other year.
LS: After playing for the Winter Hawks what other teams did you have the opportunity to play with?
TB: I was drafted by the St. Mikes and played there for 4 years, also an outstanding experience. Played my whole junior career with them which doesn’t happen very often. I’ve played with the following teams at some point in my career: Toronto St. Michael’s Majors, Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, Portland Pirates, Anaheim Ducks, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Rockford Ice Hogs, Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Marlies, Toronto Maple Leafs and now the Carolina Hurricanes.
LS: What team did you enjoy playing for the most, and why?
TB: It’s been a great experience playing in Carolina but made no excuses, I grew up a big Leafs fan and it was a pretty big thrill to play in Toronto.
LS: Did you follow any local Jr. or Sr. hockey when you were growing up?
TB: My dad took me to games and I was a big Winter Hawks fan. We went to some Kitchener games. We went to one Cambridge Hornets game and I saw Ryan Robichaud got in a fight and it had to be one of the best fights I ever saw, I met him later that fall.
LS: In the “No Guts, No Glory” video from the 2010-11 season when you were with the Toronto Maple Leafs you were on an insane penalty kill. You played the entire 2 minutes, blocking shots and what not when it was clear you were in pain. You even got the puck out and down the ice before you went back to the bench. That must have been an AMAZING feeling, what was going through your mind the entire time?
TB: We were at a point in the season if we didn’t turn things around it was a lost hope. It was in my role to do that and I wanted to win. You don’t really think of pain or what it takes to do it until it’s over and you have to ice things down. It couldn’t have happened in a better place because of the people in Toronto. Not everywhere do you get a standing ovation for something like that.
LS: What is your greatest hockey moment so far in your career? (NHL or otherwise)
TB: My first NHL game. As I sat in the locker room thinking of all the hard work I put in my whole life. When guys like Chris Pronger, Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer are sitting across from you, I just think about how these are guys I idolized and now I’m playing with them.
LS: What about your most embarrassing moment?
TB: When I was knocked into the bench.
LS: Who was the biggest inspiration for you throughout your hockey career?
TB: My parents, they sacrificed a lot and spent a lot of time driving me to games when I wasn’t old enough. They were very supportive, along with stuff people don’t see.
LS: The locker room can be a place for fun and games. Have you witnessed any good pranks in the locker room during your career?
TB: I’ve witnessed many, from clipping skate laces to hiding cups of water under helmets and even some I unfortunately can’t repeat!
LS: What is it like playing in the NHL compared to other teams you’ve played for?
TB: The idea of playing in the best league in the world is something that is very appealing to me. You play because you’re a competitor, there’s nothing better than competing against the best players in the world.
LS: What do you like to do away from the rink?
TB: I’m an avid outdoors man; I hunt, I fish and I golf in the summer.
LS: If you didn’t get into hockey, what do you think you’d be doing at this point in your life?
TB: Growing up I had a fascination with eyes, so I probably would have become an Optometrist.
LS: What would be something that someone would be surprised to find out about you?
TB: I think I spilled the beans on almost everything, but I played the guitar since I was 14.
LS: Do you have any nick names, if so what’s the story behind them?
TB: When I was very young I was called “Meat” because I was skinny as a rail. Now I just get called “Brenter”.
LS: If you could play for any team, which would you pick and why?
TB: Whatever team that wants me. I love playing in Toronto, I grew up watching the Leafs and I was very excited and it also felt great to be wanted by Carolina.
LS: What are your plans after the NHL? (Coaching, Scouting, Etc…)
TB: The lockout made me think about it more, although I never thought I would want to coach, after helping the Winter Hawks and talking to Pete Crosby I understand what he goes through as a coach. I also helped out with the girls’ Junior team in Hespeler, the Rivulettes. I like to see that kids or younger players take what you say and apply it to an actual game and learn from it; it’s very rewarding. Down the road coaching is something I would be interested in, kind of goes hand in hand with the way I’ve played my whole life and the way I’ve got to where I am because I just try to continue learning, that would be a good spot. That being said I will play as long as the NHL wants me, or until they kick me out. I love the game, a lot of people say that and I have a hard time even imagining not playing. Maybe go play in Europe. It’s such a different game, not as physical so I could squeeze out an extra few years over there.