Brewer’s Snowboard Expedition Leads to BC Hockey Hall of Fame | Sports

It’s a sure sign you’ve done the NHL when your road trip itinerary includes New York’s Madison Square Garden, Chicago Stadium and Bell Center in Montreal.

But you can’t be sure that will happen when the early voyage included 100 Mile House, Logan Lake and Revelstoke in the sparsely populated interior of British Columbia.

This was the hockey ride of Vernon-born Eric Brewer, whose small hockey start was in Ashcroft (population 1,500) and whose hockey journey earned him a place in the BC Hockey Hall of Fame.

“We mostly played hockey and always played for a year. My dad (Frank) was a coach,” recounted Brewer, a defender who eventually scored 271 points in 1,009 NHL games with six different clubs.

“Our season was short, so we played ball and I was big on cycling because we have so many great trails.”

The trails lie on the banks of the majestic Thompson River in the small desert community of Ashcroft with a plaza aptly named: Drylands.

The family moved to nearby Kamloops when Brewer was still a teenager.

A year in the Kamloops Minor Hockey Association led to Brewer being selected by Prince George Cougars in the 1994 WHL Bantam Project.

Brewer played another season in Kamloops, then spent the next three campaigns with Cougars.
“Loved it. I lived with the same family for three years and it was a great environment.”

Next came the 1997 NHL entry draft, which saw Brewer selected fifth overall by the New York Islanders. He spent two seasons on Long Island, before being traded to Edmonton in 2001.

It followed stops in St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Anaheim and Toronto, before Brewer called it a career in 2015, without getting a chance to lift the Stanley Cup.

“Everyone wants it but it’s not easy and[going out in a nutshell]is a reality you’re dealing with,” Brewer said.

He found more success on the international stage, however, helping Canada win three world championships, an Olympic title and a World Cup.

Brewer will be honored at the BC Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony on July 22 at the South Okanagan Event Center.

Also entering the hall are 2011-12 National Champion Penticton Fies, 2002 Memorial Cup winner Kotenay Ace, and former NHL defender Matthias Hollande, along with longtime NHL official Jay Sharers and builder Ray Stonehouse.

Tickets cost $75 per seat and are now available at the SOEC box office or online at www.valleyfirsttix.com.

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