OAKVILLE, ON. – How many people can say they retire from their favorite sport, just to do another sport you love?
Patrice Brisebois can.
Brisebois played 18 seasons in the NHL, 16 of those with the Montreal Canadiens, winning one Stanley Cup with the franchise during the 1992–’93 season. By 1999, Brisebois had become a staple of the Habs defence, specifically as their power play anchor. Brisebois was rewarded for his strong play with a three-year contract worth a hefty $12 million. In 2004-’05, he signed with the Kloten Flyers of the National League A in Switzerland. After the lockout, he played with the Colorado Avalanche for two seasons, and then returned to Montreal for his final two seasons.
After retiring in the summer of 2009, Brisebois decided to buy a NASCAR Canadian Tire series car and race in two NCTS races that August, including Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres.
My two favorite sports are hockey and NASCAR. So when I found he, along with former Habs defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron, were driving in NASCAR, I was extremely jealous. I had always wanted to be a NASCAR driver, and I had raced myself. I’ve been a NASCAR fan since birth.
The Canadian Tire Series is a NASCAR racing series in Canada that races in places like Montreal, Edmonton, Toronto and Hamilton. Some of the series top drivers, J.R. Fitzpatrick, Andrew Ranger, D.J. Kennington and Scott Steckley, have raced in NASCAR’s top two series, Sprint Cup and Nationwide. After winning in Montreal in 2007, Andrew Ranger drove around the track with a Montreal Canadiens’ flag, which got the crowd on its feet.
In August, the NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Canadian Tire Series were in Montreal for what was thought to be the final NASCAR race in Montreal. Nine Canadians were in the Nationwide Race, the most Canadians in a single NASCAR race.
“It’s a great team sport, like hockey,” Brisebois said of NASCAR. “Your mechanic is kind of like your coach, and there’s a game plan, race strategy, so it’s a bit like a hockey team. I’m going to try and go as far as I can in auto racing. I’d love to be able to move on to the Nationwide or Sprint series, but it’s going to be very tough. Another dream of mine would be to do the 24 hours of Le Mans.”
Brisebois drove in the Canadian Tire series during that weekend, finishing 28th. His best finish was 12th in Montreal in 2009. He had no professional race experience when he joined the NASCAR circuit, so he has done quite well.
As many drivers who raced their entire life know, its hard to get a ride in the big leagues. And when he only drives a few times a year, it gets even harder. While making it to Sprint Cup isn’t likely, he still is doing another sport he loves and is doing well for a former NHL defenseman.
In 2010, Patrice was runner-up in 2010 season of Battle of the Blades. I don’t think he understands the idea of retiring, he’s just as busy. But he loves doing what he does, it gives him something to do, and its better then sitting around for the next 50 years.
Patrice is living the dream.
Category: Fan Focus
About the Author (Author Profile)Growing up with a Leafs fan for a father and a Habs fan for a mother, Steven had to decide which team he would cheer for. One day, before a Montreal and Toronto game at the Air Canada Center (because he lives in Toronto), he was given a Montreal jersey, and that's all it took. Steven's favorite players include Pk Subban, Dan Ellis, Tom Pyatt, Jose Theodore, Guillaume Latendresse, Ryan Ellis and Sergei Bobrovsky. His favorite positon is goalie, having played it himself.
Sites That Link to this Post
- Former Habs, Where are They Now? | All Habs | February 12, 2012