Alexander: Reign’s Brett Sutter now mentors prospects
ONTARIO — Like coach, like captain?
It’s natural that Brett Sutter wears the “C” for the Ontario Reign. He is 30, is in his 11th season of professional hockey and has spent all of it in the AHL, save for 60 games in brief stints for the Calgary Flames, Carolina hurricanes and Minnesota Wild.
And as part of one of hockey’s most prolific families — son of Darryl Sutter, with six uncles and a bunch of cousins whose names are sprinkled throughout the history and current landscape of the game — let’s just say he’s seen a thing or two.
“When we get together as a family,” he said, “you can do your best to try not to talk about hockey. But after a few minutes, sure enough we’re talking about hockey and guys you played with them and stories of this city or whatever.”
It is the life he has chosen, or maybe the one that has chosen him. And while “AHL lifer” isn’t the resume line anyone in the sport wants, he seems comfortable with it and with the idea of having morphed from prospect to mentor for the guys now considered prospects.
Kind of like his coach.
Mike Stothers was a first-round draft choice of the Philadelphia Flyers in 1980, and ended up playing 30 games in the NHL and 671 in the AHL. In his later years as a player, he, too transitioned into that mentor/leadership role, which ultimately led to a coaching career.
“Suts gets it,” Stothers said. “He’s playing because he loves the game and he loves to play, but he also understands that his job is now to be a mentor or teacher or father figure to younger guys who are trying to fulfill their dream of playing in the National Hockey League.
“I played 10 years, the majority in the […]