SBOTD Presents: Brooks Laich, Forward of the Washington Capitals, NHL
Sports Babe of the Day Presents: Brooks Laich, Forward of the Washington Capitals, @BrooksLaich on Twitter
The first hockey game I ever went to was a Bruins/Capitals game way back in 1989. I was 3. Needless to say, I don’t really remember too much from it. And while I don’t remember that game, I do remember that my dad raised me as a Capitals fan. And when thinking of who to feature as Sports Babe of the Day, you’d be hard-pressed to find a woman in DC who wouldn’t say that Brooks Laich fits the bill.
Growing up in a small town, chances are good that Brooks could’ve either gone the route of farmer or hockey player. Luckily for Capitals fans and hockey fans alike, his parents directed him towards the rink instead of the fields. While his days of peewee hockey in Wawota are far removed, his mark in the NHL is still growing. It would definitely seem as though the best of Brooks is still to come. And as we found out this past summer, GM George McPhee seemed to think so too, having signed Brooks a six-year contract. Not only can he win face-offs in the dot, set up the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and others and score goals of his own, but he is also touted as one of the best two-way players in the game today. He is always called upon in a penalty kill situation. He has even been known to play defenseman a time or two. Brooks has proven through his time with the Capitals that he is the epitome “Mr. Consistency.” Coupled with his quality play on the ice, Brooks is also known as a good guy off the ice too. Not only is he a leader for his team, but he is also an active member of the community in DC.
While his fans (and you know, anybody who can see) could probably gush all day over his model good looks and his stellar play on the ice, it is his humbleness that truly sets him apart. During the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, I’m sure no hockey fans could escape the story of Brooks helping a mom and her daughter change their flat tire. He’ll tell you it was no big deal because why not help someone in need, right? Well despite what Brooks will tell you, his helping hand that night definitely spoke volumes as to the kind of person he is (a good one).
And while other people could also probably go on about how wonderful of a person he is on and off the ice, lets be real, at 6’2″, 210lbs with blonde hair and blue eyes, does it get any more babely than Brooks Laich? Doubt it. So here’s what you’ve all been waiting for:
1. How did you get into playing hockey and what inspires you to keep playing?
My parents got me into the game at the age of 2, and I have been in love with it ever since. It’s just so much fun, I’m so lucky to play the game that I love for a living. The drive to improve each day to become the best player I can be, and the drive to win the Stanley Cup are my main inspirations.
2. How is playing in the Swiss National A League different from playing in the NHL? Was it hard to adjust?
It is a different brand of hockey, but it’s still hockey. The Swiss League is a very good league, the players are talented and the hockey is fast. The biggest difference between it and the NHL is that the players in the NHL are a lot bigger and stronger, and the game is more intense. It was a slight adjustment just because the style of play is a little different, but I had great teammates that helped me understand and adjust quickly to it.
3. Who in your life has had the biggest influence on your career?
That’s an easy one, my family – and certainly my mom and dad. They mean everything to me and I owe my success to them. I can’t say enough about their influence, even to this day. Also though, I have been very fortunate to have excellent coaches all my life at all different levels of hockey – each helping me along the way.
4. Why pick jersey number 21?
I didn’t. When I was traded from Ottawa to Washington, it was for long time Capital Peter Bondra who famously wore number 12. When I got to Washington, I was just given #21. Maybe they just flipped the numbers and gave me 21, or maybe it’s just coincidence, I don’t know – but I really like #21.
5. What is the funniest prank you’ve heard about or had a hand in welcoming a rookie to the team?
I’m not big into rookie initiation type stuff, and honestly that stuff doesn’t go on anymore. But once a year we do have what’s called a “rookie supper,” in which the entire team goes for supper to a nice restaurant and the rookies have to pick up the tab, those are always enjoyable.
6. If your teammates were asked to describe you in 3 words, which words do you think they would choose?
Haha I really don’t know. Hopefully they would say I’m a good teammate, I work hard, and have fun everyday.
7. On the plane rides, are you a “play cards” kind of guy, a “video-gamer,” or do you just kind of hang out?
I’m a movie guy. I like to watch movies on the plane and relax. Usually I’m doing that or else I’m doing some work on my computer for the company I own with my brother Jordan. Plane rides are fun though, they are always filled with good jokes and laughs.
8. What is the hardest part about being a professional athlete?
Two things come to mind instantly. Number one is being away from your family and friends for most of the year, and the second one is that during the course of the season we are rarely ever 100% healthy. Usually we will have some sort of bump, bruise, or worse.
9. What is the coolest thing a fan has done for you?
I was at a restaurant my buddy owns called Sushi Rock here in Arlington, VA, and there was two guys on a mini stage playing guitars and singing, providing entertainment for everyone. One of the guys, named Paul Bonsiero, came up to my table and said he had my jersey and was a big fan, and knew I played guitar so he asked me to join him. So I did, and we played 4 songs together. And it was an absolute thrill for me, I had never played in front a live audience and even though it wasn’t a huge one, it was one of the coolest moments – very thankful he gave me that opportunity!
10. If you weren’t playing hockey, what do you think you would be doing?
I would like to think I would be a rock star haha, because that would be unreal. But I also think it would be really cool to be a spy, James Bond 2.0.
11. What is a typical day like in the life of Brooks Laich?
Wake up, crush a huge bowl of cereal – my favorite meal of the day by far! Then head to the rink to do what I love, and once I’ve put in all the work at the rink/gym that will allow me to peacefully sleep at night, I can then move on with the rest of the day. Usually will spend some time in my basement playing instruments, and in the evening I like to watch a hockey game on TV, then go to bed around 10-10:30, a good nights sleep is essential for a good day of work the next day.
12. What are 5 things that you cannot live without?
I mean family and friends are a given, so I won’t name those. Hockey would probably be in there too, so I’ll go with:
- my iPod
- cereal (Honey Nut Cheerios and Special K)
- TSN (it’s Canada’s ESPN)
- a barbecue
- Skype – to see my niece and nephews
13. Name 3 of your favorite songs on your iPod.
I’m a huge music guy, all genres, but I will list 3 gems:
- Home For a Rest – Spirit of the West
- Next To You, Next To Me – Shenandoah
- Beast of Burden – Rolling Stones
14. Describe your idea of a perfect date.
The venue doesn’t matter to me, I’m fine wherever. Good date would just be with a girl that is fun, intelligent, comfortable in her own skin and relaxed. If it’s a good date, you won’t have to force anything, it will just be an enjoyable and easy going time. Maybe a kiss too?!
15. Being a Saskatchewan native myself, I think I have a hunch of what you’ll say, but if you had to pick between vacationing somewhere warm or somewhere cold, which would it be?
Haha ya that’s a pretty easy one, somewhere warm. After each hockey season myself, my brother and my 3 best buddies from home always take a hot vacation, usually somewhere in Mexico.
16. Any guilty pleasure(s) that we should know about?
My guilty pleasure would have to be licorice – I just love it, only the red though, not the black.
17. Do you have any hidden or unusual talents you’d like to share?
I play three instruments; guitar, drums and piano.
18. If you were given 3 wishes, what would you wish for?
Peace, equality, and more wishes obviously.
19. What is your proudest accomplishment to date?
My proudest accomplishment is living the life I dreamt about when I was a kid. Today, I am exactly where I said I would be 25 years ago. I’ve become the man I said I would be, but still have much, much more to accomplish.
20. Who would YOU feature as the next Sports Babe of the Day?
I don’t know, any female – in a bikini……haha I mean isn’t that the answer every guy is going to give you?
21. And the questions all of the ladies want to know: are you single, dating, or locked down??
I don’t think I’m ready for anything serious right now, but who knows where the world will take you right.
What’s not to Laich, right?
Thank you Brooks and an amazing interview! And go sauce this twitter rookie a follow! @BrooksLaich
(Interview and feature by Morgan Ryan, @MrgnRyan)
Photos Courtesy of Brooks Laich
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