Laich (right) gets into a tiff and loses his flaming bucket.
Brooks Laich is not an NHL player. He’s a hockey player.
The Wawota, Saskatchewan native has played seven seasons in the National Hockey League, scored 116 goals, and tallied 278 points. He makes six and half million dollars a year. But that’s not what drives him. It’s his love of the game. He first stepped on the ice at five months. He began skating when he was two years old. By five, he was playing minor hockey. Laich lives for the sport. And when it didn’t come around to Washington last September, Laich wanted to go somewhere where they were playing the game.
“I grew up loving the game of hockey, not loving the NHL,” he said at the time.
So on September 28, Laich signed with Kloten Flyers of the Swiss National League A. Ten minutes away from Zurich by train, Kloten (pronounced k-LOOOO-ten as Laich is quick to point out) is city of around 20,000. It’s hockey team has been around since 1934, 40 years before the birth of the Washington Capitals.
Laich suited up 19 times for Kloten before the owners and the Players Association reached an agreement to end the lockout just before 5 a.m. on the morning of January 6. He had some good games and he had some bad games. He got hurt once. Then he got hurt again, an injury that could cost him the first two weeks of the NHL season. But, to be trite, it was an experience the 29-year-old will never forget.
“I loved it,” Laich told RMNB recently in an otherwise deserted Capitals locker room. “I loved every second of it.”