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Former top prospect Brule tells Coyotes he’s quitting hockey

Dec 31, 2013, 11:18 PM EDT

Gilbert Brule Getty Images

Gilbert Brule was selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft after Sidney Crosby, Bobby Ryan, Jack Johnson, Benoit Pouliot, and Carey Price. Unfortunately, unlike the five that were taken before him and many selected after him, Brule’s hockey career appears to be over.

Brule has 95 points and 156 penalty minutes in 299 career NHL games, but he’s struggled to find his place in the NHL lately. He’s only played in three contests with the Phoenix Coyotes this season and when they attempted to send him back to AHL Portland where he has 12 points in 11 contests, he refused to go.

The Coyotes suspended him as a result, but rather than ask to get out of his contract so that he can continue his career in Europe, it sounds like Brule is simply done.

“He decided that he didn’t want to live out of a suitcase anymore, was sick of living at hotels, and told me he was going to quit hockey – maybe become a firefighter,” Coyotes GM Don Maloney told the Arizona Republic.

“So what we do procedurally is we suspended him and unless he has a change of heart very, very quickly, we’ll go through the procedure of terminating his contract.”

Brule was reportedly on the brink of heading to the KHL before ultimately signing a two-way contract with Phoenix.

Maloney was surprised to hear that he would want to quit playing while he’s still young, but wishes him luck all the same.

“I did mention it’s hard to make the kind of money he’s making in the real world, but he’ll find that out pretty quick,” Maloney said. “But on the other hand, now he can get on with his real life. This is all just a bubble to me and once this is over with, now he can hopefully get his life in the direction he wants to take it.”

  1. imleftcoast - Dec 31, 2013 at 11:28 PM

    Somebody needs a ‘work sucks, but I need the bucks’ t-shirt.

    • sabatimus - Dec 31, 2013 at 11:49 PM


    • esracerx46 - Dec 31, 2013 at 11:55 PM

      The guy obviously has some issues some professionally and some probably personally as well. A story came out this summer about him and his father, rather sad but worth a read. Sure he’s making good money but at what cost? Family is important to him as he has his sisters name on his wrist. She died when he was younger. It sounds like he has gotten to the point where he was tired of chasing a paycheck. Who are you to decide what’s right for him? And shame on Maloney. You’re a grown man and to talk down to the guy who is at a crossroads in his life…did not like that comment about money at all. For some guys, its not just about money.

      A different sport but still worth a read. Check out Adrian Cardenas. He wrote a great article on why he quit major league baseball while in his 20’s. So theres a few parallels.

  2. lowenni - Dec 31, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    Wow…that sucks. It’s pretty easy to understand though, with all the pressure of being a top pick weighing on him while being called a bust and failing to find his niche. Either way, I hope he does well in whatever career he now chooses to pursue and finds more in it than he did in the NHL.

  3. steelers88 - Dec 31, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    I feel really bad for him. He must have added pressure because being in the same draft as Crosby and the other superstars that were taken in the 2005 draft. The advice I can say is never ever quit. Just stick with it. He can still turn his career around. Many players have turned it around at older ages.

  4. gregman98 - Jan 1, 2014 at 12:07 AM

    Maybe this is totally good for him….

    Yes, it will mean less big bucks, but it may provide a better life…who knows?
    Could be…watch the Theo documentary.

  5. 950003cups - Jan 1, 2014 at 12:18 AM

    Oh damn! How soon till Discount Lou gets wind of this and signs him for nothing.

  6. rushledger - Jan 1, 2014 at 12:20 AM

    Things like this make little sense to me, he could be an NHL level player with less pressure on a team like Florida or buffalo, why not see if there’s interest.

    • 950003cups - Jan 1, 2014 at 1:02 AM

      Oh yeah, good thinking. How’d nobody else think of that? I forgot that playing for the Phoenix Coyotes can bring a lot of pressure on a player. Maybe he could try Montreal or perhaps have his agent call Vancouver just to escape the pressures of playing hockey in Phoenix.

  7. steelers88 - Jan 1, 2014 at 12:23 AM

    I was just trying to give him some advice. I was in no way trying to tell a person what to do with his life. I feel absolutely terrible for this guy. Maloney was harsh to Brule. I think Maloney should have done was actually feel bad for this guy. I mean express concern for Brule.

  8. mclovinhockey - Jan 1, 2014 at 1:20 AM

    So many people would love to be given the chance he was given… He decides he wants to give up and be a fire fighter rather than make millions for playing a sport….. He chose helping people rather than getting paid.
    All I can say is good luck in your future.

  9. claysbar - Jan 1, 2014 at 3:57 AM

    Also don’t forget folks, he has made close to 9 million dollars over his short career so unless he was terrible with his money, he should be fine.

    • stakex - Jan 1, 2014 at 1:03 PM

      You would be surprised how terrible young athletes are with their money. Hockey players tend to be better than say basketball players, but still…. when you are young and think you have a long career and lots of money ahead, saving isn’t a priority.

      • stakex - Jan 1, 2014 at 1:04 PM

        Although it should be noted, he probably qualifies for a pension… so he has that going for him.

  10. dontbsuchapuss - Jan 1, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    Notice how the word real world was used several times. Even they understand its fantasy life. But hey paying someone millions to play a game is just stupid. The average person cannot even afford to go to a game because the supposed worth of the players has been over inflated over time. Let the kid get on with his life it sounds like he is going to do something that makes him happy.

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