It has been 20 years since Brian Brett dropped a puck and barring a recall on gravity he will do it again.
This time, though, there will be 20,000 spectators.
Brian is a 32-year-old Brampton resident who works in marketing. He is also the winner of the Leafs Drop the Puck contest and as such will handle the ceremonial puck drop between Ottawa captain Jason Spezza and Dion Phaneuf when the Leafs open against the Senators.
Brian’s name was drawn from 10,000 applicants.
The last time, the only time he has dropped a puck came 15 years ago in a pickup game. Brian is a goalie but an injury kept him out of the net. He appointed himself referee and handled the faceoffs.
Little different this time.
Brian’s ardour for the Leafs took hold during the 1993 playoff run. Doug Gilmour was the centerpiece of that series but it was the Leafs rookie goalie who captivated the 13-year-old kid.
“There was just something about Felix Potvin that I loved,” Brett said. “I mimicked his style, on the ice, playing street hockey. I had his hockey poster on my bedroom wall.”
When MLSE staff called Brian to let him know he had won the contest, he walked around the office, trying to find the prankster. Only after he double-checked the number of the in-bound call did he believe he had won.
He was so gobsmacked, he struggled to text his wife with the news.
“It took me about 20 minutes to type out a few words,” he said.
A phone call of congratulations from Leafs legend Wendel Clark left him speechless.
The winner of the contest is fittingly true blue.
“I like to think I’m a true fan,” Brian said. “I’m with them no matter what. Some fans jump on and off the bandwagon but I know when things go well, sticking with them will make the feeling even sweeter.”