Brandon Prust is back with the London Knights
When Brandon Prust left his hometown of London, he had just won the Memorial Cup. He had also just become a third-round pick of the Calgary Flames.
That was 2005.
From that moment until now, Prust first went to Omaha, Neb., and the hard-to-pinpoint, Quad City, which lies between Illinois and Iowa. Then it was off to the National Hockey League to Calgary, Phoenix, New York, Montreal, Vancouver and then finally to Germany last year where Prust played for the Nurnberg Ice Tigers alongside former Knights’ teammates Robbie Schremp and Danny Syvret.
The career of Brandon Prust has now come full circle.
On Wednesday afternoon, Prust sat in the coaches’ room inside the Knights’ dressing room, lacing up his skates for practice. Gone were the shin and shoulder pads and the bulky pants. He picked out a stick as he walked out of the room and headed out onto the ice to “test this out.”
By “this”, the veteran of 486 NHL games and almost 750 in professional hockey, was on the ice working with players hoping to live out the dream that he did.
“It’s another chapter,” said Prust. “Personally, I am just testing the waters in the coaching area, so I am just out here on the ice at practice and watching video and basically helping out wherever I can.”
After completing training camp with the Los Angeles Kings in the fall, Prust looked at some opportunities in Europe but decided against making that kind of move again. As much as this would seem like a move away from playing, the Londoner still isn’t quite prepared to use the word “retire” just yet.
“I’m going to stay in shape as much as I can,” Prust chuckled as he spoke with reporters on Wednesday. “But, I’ve kind of made the decision, not 100 per cent yet, but the body’s getting a little older now, so I think it’s almost that time.”
Prust was a player who did whatever was needed to succeed. He never wanted to let a window close or let an opportunity pass by.
When the Knights called him up from the London Nationals in 2002, the Knights were on the road in Windsor. London head coach Dale Hunter called Prust into the coaches’ room in the old Windsor Arena and explained that while Prust was not going to be in the lineup that night, Hunter wanted him to watch the game from the stands and watch certain players and how they played. Prust listened politely and then said, “With all due respect, Mr. Hunter, if you put me into the lineup, you will never take me out.”
Prust played against Windsor that night.
Getting to London was just as timely and incredible.
As the legend goes now, Brandon’s father, Kevin was out on a golf course at the exact same time as then Knights’ general manager, Mark Hunter. Neither seems to remember which of them hit the bad drive, but that one golfer’s ball ended up in the other’s fairway and it brought them together and they started talking and Prust wound up attending training camp with London that fall and the rest has become history.
There is a definite chance that all of what came after that golf shot will complete the playing portion of Prust’s hockey history.
“This allows me to stick to my roots here in London and with an organization I have been with for a long time.”
When you have the kind of resume, ability and personality that Prust possesses, you can always come home.
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