He’s hardly one of the most high-profile Canadiens of all time, but Patrice Brisebois has had one hell of a ride in the NHL. A veteran of 18 years - all but two spent in Montreal - “Breezer” played over 1,000 games with les Habs and ranks among the franchise’s career leaders in games and goals for defensemen.
Breezer’s getting up there, though, and there isn’t much of a market for 38-year-old defensemen who were never really that great to begin with. With that, yesterday, Brisebois announced his retirement from NHL, which dovetailed quite nicely into his new venture: auto racing.
Brisebois said he’s seeking sponsors to fund the next phase of his career, as a driver in NASCAR’s Canadian Tire Series.
“It’s a great team sport, like hockey,” Brisebois said of auto racing. “Your mechanic is kind of like your coach, and there’s a game plan, race strategy, so it’s a bit like a hockey team. I’m going to try and go as far as I can in auto racing. I’d love to be able to move on to the Nationwide or Sprint series, but it’s going to be very tough. Another dream of mine would be to do the 24 hours of Le Mans.”
Okay, so that analogy’s a little tortured, but it’s common courtesy to draw whatever specious comparisons you possibly can whenever switching from one sport to another - can’t wait to hear how Herschel Walker does that with MMA - so we won’t begrudge the decision too much.
Motorheads in Canada won’t exactly be surprised by this move. Just last year, Brisebois dominated the Ferrari 430 Challenge up in Mont Tremblant, racing for Ferrari Quebec for the fifth straight year.
Still - and we’re pretty sure his wife and daughters have told him the exact same thing already - for all the inherent dangers on hockey, nothing compares to auto racing in terms of imperiling one’s health. That’s not to say that drivers routinely die or anything, but when you read about other celebrities who dabbled in racing… like, say, Jason Priestly and Hulk Hogan’s kid… you get the sense that perhaps Brisebois and his family would be better off if he picked up a golf habit instead.