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Back in Tsawwassen just feels right for former NHL star

Brent Seabrook made the most of his time back home over the holidays
Brent Seabrook Giants 4
Former NHL star and the pride of Tsawwassen Brent Seabrook on the ice at the Ladner Leisure Centre last week as an assistant coach with the Vancouver Giants

It’s been just like old times for Brent Seabrook.

He grabbed a bite to eat with his buddies at the Tsawwassen White Spot and picked up his favourite sandwich at Ozzie’s Deli. He’s even been sleeping in his childhood bedroom at his parents’ home.

The three-time Stanley Cup champion and former star defenseman with the Chicago Blackhawks was back in his hometown over the holidays as a volunteer assistant coach with the Vancouver Giants. The Western Hockey League club approached Seabrook to help fill a void when head coach Michael Dyck joined Team Canada for the World Junior Championships.

His coaching duties officially concluded Friday when the Giants were scheduled to play in Kelowna which brought Seabrook back to the city he now resides in with his wife and young family.

“There are a lot of memories that flood back every time I come here. It’s different that I’m now 36, have three kids and I’m married, yet I have been living in the bed I grew up in at my parents’ house. The team even had a New Year’s Eve curfew for 11 p.m. and I was home for it since there’s not much going on these days,” laughed Seabrook.

“It means the world to me coming home. It’s where I got my start. It’s where I grew up. It will always be home and you get that weird sort of feeling when driving back here. It’s changed quite a bit over the years, but Tsawwassen is always home.”

Seabrook’s return to the Ladner Leisure Centre, the Giants’ home practice facility, marked his first time back on home ice since he helped the Delta Ice Hawks win their first-ever league championship back in 2001 when he was just 15. The South Delta Minor Hockey alumni went on to enjoy a stellar WHL career with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and was selected 14th overall by Chicago in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Fifteen decorated NHL seasons with the Blackhawks followed, highlighted by Stanley Cup wins in 2010, 2013 and 2015. Each time Seabrook’s designated day with the cup was spent in his hometown and included a mini-parade.

“It’s definitely the people in the community you want to share it with. People you spend time with and people who helped me out with my career,” continued Seabrook who was forced to step away from the game due to lingering injuries last March.

“That’s the cool thing about the Stanley Cup is you get a day with it and you bring it home and go around and show it up. I brought it to Delta Hospital. The police station and fire hall. Just little things like that. I think as hockey players there is an obligation a little bit to share it and show people. The satisfaction for me is the look on people’s faces when they get to see it and touch it.”

Three straight playoff battles against the team he idolized growing up

The Hawks’ glory years included three straight memorable playoff battles (2009-11) with the Vancouver Canucks, Seabrook’s favourite team growing up.

“It was always a tough situation. I could never go out with my buddies and I never wanted to go see my family when I was here. I stayed away because it was ‘war’ the next day,” Seabrook recalled.  “I knew it was going to be a tough game. We played them 19 times in the playoffs in those three years and probably 12 more times in the regular season so like 31 times altogether. 

“It was a regular season game and guys were still out for blood. It was fun and it was really cool. Unfortunately me and my friends we grew up as Canucks fans and it was hard to peel them away. I think I had Seabrook supporters but they were always Canucks fans.”

Now part of the Giants family

The Giants have invited him to join the team again for perhaps an Okanagan road swing or at a practice if he is back in Tsawwassen visiting his family.

“I have really enjoyed my experience. I can’t thank the organization enough. I had a lot of fun and I have enjoyed working with the kids and being out here and teaching them some of the stuff I know,” Seabrook added.  

“A couple of guys came up to me the other day and I guess they were watching my clips to see what I was saying was actually what I did when I played. We had some fun with that. It’s a great group of players and a good team.”