Dan Cloutier. Carey Price. Roberto Luongo. Marc-André Fleury.
In addition to being some of the best goaltenders in the recent history of the NHL, those are also the faces on posters that once graced the bedroom walls of Laurent Brossoit.
Brossoit has now done something that only one of his boyhood heroes has.
On Tuesday night, as the final seconds ticked off on his Vegas Golden Knights 9-3 win over the Florida Panthers, Brossoit added his name to the Stanley Cup.
Coming from a family of big hockey fans and other goalies, Brossoit knew from a young age he was destined to be in the crease.
“When I was living in Port Alberni, I don’t know why, but my brother and I always begged our parents to put us in hockey,” he recalled.
“My grandfather, three uncles and my father were all goalies. I think they all blessed me with some goaltending genetics.”
Born in Port Alberni, Brossoit and his family lived there until he was seven. Then, they moved to the mainland, to Surrey. A ferry ride didn’t keep him from his small town roots however.
“Every summer since then, I’ve been back to visit my dad’s side of the family. I’ve had a small upbringing and consistent exposure to Port Alberni, and it still feels like a community that’s very close to me.”
“You know it’s the typical small town people, that’s my kind of people.”
By the age of 10 his begging wore down his parents enough for him to hit the ice, and he never looked back from there.
“I fell in love,” Brossoit said.
As he looks back, the now 30-year-old Brossoit is the most thankful to his parents for getting him where he is today.
“My parents, they had to sacrifice a lot of money. Hockey is not a cheap sport, goaltending especially. They sacrificed a lot of their time and money so I could play. My mom had to remortgage the house so I could keep playing.”
Now 30, with 10 years of professional hockey behind him, Brossoit also had to rely on himself after facing hardships throughout his athletic career. His road to the cup began with a double round of surgery at the end of last season. He then started this one rehabilitating in the minors. When he was well enough to get the opportunity to come back up to the NHL, Brossoit seized it. Enough so that he made an impression leading to starting the playoffs.
“Going from what felt like rock bottom in my NHL career to the pinnacle of where I’ve been in my career was probably the coolest thing for me,” he said.
Though he was swapped out of his starting role in the playoffs during his eighth game due to injury, there’s no animosity to be had for the man who took his place, Comox-born Adin Hill. In fact, he finds a sense of pride in representing the small Vancouver Island communities that they come from, and paying it back to those communities they hold dear. Brossoit and Hill have remained close friends and teammates, and as he puts it, just “a couple of Vancouver Island guys.”
Interviewed two days after reaching the top, he’s ready to have his big “celly” off the ice. In terms of his plans for his day with the cup, besides making sure to drink out of it and snap photos, he said he is undecided.
“I’ll probably keep it more low-key. I spent more time around the Vancouver area and invite my Port Alberni people and family out,” he said. “I think I would get the most support from my Port Alberni family. They’re all goalies, and big hockey fans and they’re just an absolute riot. Bringing it to Port Alberni would be awesome, I definitely wish had more than just one day with it.”
Though he is reaching an age that is considered the older side of the NHL range, his flame for playing hasn’t been extinguished by reaching his dream.
“I heard it gets addicting, and once you win one it makes you want to win another. I get that now. It’s pretty incredible, and it’s ongoing. It’ll last through the summer.”