I know “Goal of the Year” is a big statement, but look at this goal and try to disagree.

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Brooks Laich Kloten Flyers

Laich's official team photo.

Laich’s official team photo.

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.”

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Kloten Flyers Fans’ Homemade Sign For Brooks Laich

Brooks Laich has played just nine games for the Kloten Flyers, but he’s already becoming a fan favorite. In the Flyers most recent home game, a couple of fans showed up to Kolping Arena with a special homemade sign for their leading scorer. Two observations. First: why haven’t we done this at Caps games yet? Second: Kloten fans should hold the sign by the glass and if Brooks scores, he should skate over and hit the LAICH button. I promise, I came up with that idea all by myself.

Photo credit: @kukey68_ch.

Thanks to @recordsANDradio for tweeting.

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Brooks Laich’s Bio Picture for the Kloten Flyers

Brooks Laich

Before leaving for Europe, Brooks Laich had some harsh words for Gary Bettman. But in his bio picture for the Kloten Flyers of the Swiss National League A, the man looks downright cheerful. And who can blame him? Look at the sweet helmet he gets to wear. The Kloten Flyers’ stürmer (striker!) is listed as being 188 centimeters tall and weighing 95 kilograms. The metric system makes people sound enormous.

Thanks to blondstrom for initially posting.

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I hate the lockout. You hate the lockout. Pretty much everybody in the entire world hates the NHL lockout. But today, after doing some research with Fedor Fedin, we have found out something that makes the lockout a little bit more bearable.

On Saturday, Brooks Laich followed up that dreadful game against EHC Biel with a brilliant two-goal, three-point effort against Geneve-Servette.

Take a look at the video below.

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From Brooks Laich’s Facebook fan page.

On October 9th, 2012, we all learned a valuable lesson: Everybody has a bad day once in awhile, even a perfect human being like Brooks Laich.

In the Kloten Flyers’ 4-3 loss to Tyler Seguin‘s EHC Biel, Laich had one of his worse games as a pro. He garnered 16 penalty minutes — including a misconduct for checking Eric Beaudoin in the head — and oh yeah, he scored on his own team.

Video below.

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