Brad Marchand always finds a way to be in the center of attention. If the Boston Bruins star player isn’t involved with goals or assists, he chirps his opponents or starts fights. Marchand is, and always has been, one of the most disrespectful players in the NHL, and nobody in the league’s history has served more. Marchand is often referred to as a classic rat, and he admits to it himself.
When Marchand wrote in The Players Tribune, he recalled a moment playing hockey as a 12-year-old, hearing his coach saying that 0.01% of all kids playing hockey go on to play in the NHL.
” I don’t even remember what the point of his speech was. I just always remembered that stat, and I would think to myself, “Man, if I’m not even the best kid on my pee-wee team … there’s no chance. How could I ever get noticed?” Marchand wrote.
Brad Marchand continues to say that he’s always been a person who likes to get under his opponent’s skin. He also recalls the moment he turned in the ultimate rat of hockey.
” That same pee-wee season, something else happened that took my mindset a step further. We were playing against our rivals, Cole Harbor, in some important game, and they had this monster forward on their team who always killed us,” he wrote.
” During the game, the kid took a run at my brother, and he smoked him. For as much as we’d mess with one another at home, if you ever hurt my brother, it was like a red light went off inside me. I’d fight you. My dad was one of our coaches, and he tapped me and my three buddies on the shoulder and said, “Next shift, I want every one of you to take a run at that kid every time he touches the puck.”
” So we went out, and every time the kid touched the puck, one of us took a run. He got so pissed off that he took a slashing penalty right at the end of his shift, and we got a power play. We ended up scoring the game-winning goal with him in the box, and I kind of had this realization like, “OK … if I have a 0.01% chance, this might be one way of getting people to notice me.”
Brad Marchand is nowadays completely fine with getting some hate. The way he plays is what makes him stand up, he says.
” I know there’s a lot of people who don’t like it, and I will be the first to tell you that it’s a fine line. I have done things that have stepped over that line, and I’ve paid the price for it. But you know what? There’s a lot of people out there in the hockey world who love to say, “Winning is everything. It’s the only thing.”
” But do they really mean it? How far are they willing to go? Maybe it was my size or just the way I was born, but I’ve always felt like you have to be willing to do anything — literally anything — in order to win. Even if that means being hated. Even if it means carrying around some baggage.”
“If I played the game any other way, you absolutely would not know my name. You wouldn’t care enough to hate me, because I wouldn’t be in the NHL. The way I played the game got me noticed by junior teams, and it got me drafted by the Boston Bruins at 5’9.”
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