Fan Favourite ‘LB’ evolves into WHL playoffs showstopper
Oil Kings goalie Brossoit credits teammates for success between the pipes
By Joanne Ireland, edmontonjournal.com
April 30, 2012
Edmonton Oil Kings Laurent Brossoit makes a save on Mitchell Moroz during practice as the team returns to practice on April 30 as they prepare for Thursday’s Game 1 of the WHL championship against the Portland Winterhawks at Rexall Place, 2012 in Edmonton.
Photograph by: Greg Southam Greg Southam
EDMONTON - His status is such that he’s now known solely by his initials: LB.
Like MJ and JT and OJ, LB has no need for the formality of a first and last name — at least not at Rexall Place where he has shone in net for the Edmonton Oil Kings.
The 19-year-old goaltender – also known as Laurent Brossoit – has become a fan favourite during the course of the team’s Western Hockey League playoff run.
“It’s been pretty surreal, kind of overwhelming. I never thought I’d be in a situation like this where you get all this attention,” Brossoit said on Monday before the Oil Kings began preparing for Thursday’s opening game in the WHL championship at Rexall Place.
Edmonton will take on the Portland Winterhawks, the Western Conference champs, in the best-of-seven series. The winner will advance to the Memorial Cup, May 17-27 in Shawinigan, Que.
The Oil Kings won the Eastern Conference championship after defeating the Moose Jaw Warriors in five games. Brossoit, who has a sparkling 1.62 goals-against average and a .945 save percentage in 13 playoff games, was named the series MVP. It was a moment he said he’ll remember for a while, given it all unfolded at Rexall on Friday night.
“I have noticed when I’m walking around now (away from the rink) someone will just yell, ‘LB.’ That’s pretty cool, really flattering. I never thought that would happen,” he continued.
“I’m just trying not to get too big of a head, (but) I do take it all in small doses. I also know I wouldn’t be where I am without my teammates.”
It comes with the territory, of course. Goaltenders, like quarterbacks on the football field, can be exalted into hero status as quickly as they can be denounced.
But, for now, Brossoit is a fan favourite. After finishing at the top of a number of WHL regular-season statistics, he has become a showstopper in the playoffs, which is why the “LB” chant has become a regular occurrence at Rexall.
“He’ll come to earth the first time he puts on a Calgary Flames jersey, but for the moment, good for him. He’s worked hard. He’s earned this,” Oil Kings general manager Bob Green of the Flames’ sixth-round pick in the 2011 NHL entry draft.
“His teammates are probably his biggest fans.”
The B.C.-born Brossoit, in his fourth season with the Oil Kings, his first as a starter, needs to look no further than his parents for inspiration and perspective and all the other traits that can keep a player grounded.
His father, John, has multiple sclerosis, his mother, Tania, “is the hardest worker I’ve ever met in my life.”
And Brossoit knows he’ll have his work cut out for him against the Winterhawks, who have three of the top four playoff scorers in Ty Rattie, Sven Bartschi and Brad Ross.
“We have to go in understanding it is going to be a tough series,” Brossoit concluded. “I’ll be busy, (but) I think it will be a similar series (to Moose Jaw). We’ve had a bit of a rest, physically and mentally, and we need to use that to our advantage.”
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