Gilbert Brulè may not have disappeared only to be found smoking marijuana on a Tahitian beach in a grass hut, but he does share some other traits with the former NFL star, Ricky Williams. Promise wasted. Talent squandered. Confused teammates, fans and league executives left scratching their heads, wondering why?
Brulè came into the league in 2005 when he was selected sixth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the NHL Entry Draft and not uncharacteristically he found himself right back to the Western Hockey League before too long. These things happen, especially if it seems a player hasn’t matured enough to play with the big boys in the NHL. However, we have to wonder if it wasn’t Brulè’s maturity level that kept him off the big ice, but the glare of the spotlight instead.
It’s not as if Brulè was not able to correct his mistakes. He found success with both developmental teams and NHL teams like the Edmonton Oilers (where he was traded in 2008 and had the best season of his career in the 2009-10 Season) . He never suffered any major injuries that kept him out of skates for too long so the question is, what was it exactly that kept a talented player like Brulè so far from the brass ring?
The answer seems simple if you take the words of Coyotes GM Don Maloney to heart.
He decided that he didn’t want to live out of a suitcase anymore, was sick of living at hotels, and told me he was going to quit hockey — maybe become a firefighter.
But while the life of a vagabond isn’t for everyone it’s still hard to understand why the life of an NHL star wouldn’t be. I mean yeah, living out of a suitcase is rough, but room service is AWESOME! Not to mention the fact that you don’t have to make your own bed, wash your own towels and there’s always that mint on your pillow at the end of the night. Gilbert? What’s not to love?
No, I think the real issue is this. Gilbert is a sweet kid and the scrutiny of a large stage was just too much for him to handle. His natural efforts on the ice were nothing compared to the ever watchful eye of the media and pro hockey expectations. And it’s a shame, because mental issues aside, he had great potential.
Here’s hoping Gilbert finds himself out there. Walking the lonely streets of whichever northern country he chooses to call home. Swooping in like a superhero with the blare of sirens at his back. Going from the cold hard ice to the warming glow of destructive fire. If only he had found his own fire much earlier in his career.
Funny enough the Yotes face the Calgary Flames tonight in Glendale. It’s a shame they won’t have their own fireman there to extinguish the opposing teams hopes of win. See what I did there?