Brown longs to wear blue and white

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

Maple Leafs defenceman Brad Brown wouldn't be the first person in his family to work at the Air Canada Centre.

His wife of five years, Jan-Mari Resmer, once was a member of the Raptors Dance Pak.

"We're trying to keep the tradition going at MLSEL," Brown said jokingly earlier in camp. "Now we've got two kids."

But Brown still is waiting for that first chance to put on a real Leafs jersey, which likely won't come until weekend games in Montreal and Ottawa.

"I had a slight hip flexor injury (last week)," Brown said yesterday. "But I've felt good in practice and had a good workout (yesterday). I'm hoping to get the call on the weekend."

Management already has a good idea of what Brown can do, with 330 National Hockey League games to his credit with six teams, including a stint as co-captain of the Minnesota Wild.

But defencemen Staffan Kronwall, Carlo Colaiacovo and Bryan Marchment -- all of whom are getting some exhibition games in while Brown sits -- also have impressed.

"I realized from the get-go that this would be a tough team to make," Brown said. "They have a lot of good young defencemen here, as well as Bryan whom I have a great deal of respect for. But you can only control your own game.

"They'll pick the best seven guys they have. My job is to make them look at me."

The 29-year-old Brown was born in Baie Verte, Nfld., and his parents moved to Mississauga when he was an infant.

"I still have a lot of East Coast blood in me," he said. "My grandparents on my mother's side are from Newfoundland and Dad is from Nova Scotia. In Newfoundland, you're either a Leafs fans, Habs fan or Bruins fan. If I make the team, there'll be a lot of happy faces back there."

Brown played for the Toronto Red Wings and St. Mike's junior Bs.

He was drafted from the North Bay Centennials by the Habs and most recently was with the Buffalo Sabres. He joins Wade Belak and Jeff O'Neill as first-round picks in 1994 who wound up in Toronto.

But there's no guarantee he'll open the season at the ACC. He might have to break in with the Marlies, a sacrifice he made when he signed a two-way contract.

"I haven't played in the minors in seven years and you never want to, but I'd looked everywhere in the summer for a one-way deal," he said. "The Leafs farm team is in Toronto and the last thing I want to have to do is move my family somewhere again.

"For career and family, this is a good spot."


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