Brent a surprise package

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:45 PM ET

From Leaf gawker to Leaf celebrity.

That’s how far Tim Brent has come.

After scoring in each of the Maple Leafs first two games, the Cambridge native is enjoying some newfound notoriety.

He is recognized while out shopping. People in restaurants wish him well. He even did “a thing for a new clothing line on Queen St. West” the other night.

“It’s great, it’s exciting, it’s fun,” Brent, 26, said. “Whether it’s just the mall or out to eat once in a while, you quickly realize what the Leaf Nation is all about and how passionate the people here are about their hockey.”

Brent is very accommodating to the fans. He should be. After all, there was a time where he was the one idolizing Leaf players.

“I haven’t told people about this yet but, when I was a kid in junior, we saw Tomas Kaberle sitting at Sherway Gardens,” Brent recounted. “He probably was trying to do some shopping without being bothered.

“I didn’t bother him but I kind of pointed him out to one of my buddies, telling him “That’s Tomas Kaberle.” I do remember that.

“It’s kind of cool to be on the other end.”

Brent admits he is a private guy who, one day, might look to flee from the limelight. But not yet. Not now.

“Anything to make someone smile or be more of a Leaf fan, I’m more than happy to do it,” he said.

Brent’s friends like to pick his brain about the kind of cars the Leafs drive. There are top-end SUVs and sports cars like Porsches, he tells them - far more exotic vehicles than the Volkswagen Jetta diesel he owns.

“I like my car,” he said. “It gets great mileage.”

With his salary having been bumped from about $200,000 US in the minors to $575,000 at the NHL level, there is one potential purchase that intrigues him - a Land Rover Defender.

On the ice, Brent does not expect to win scoring titles any time soon. Ten goals will be fine, he said, as long as he has a good plus-minus and is able to shut down opposing snipers, an assignment he relishes.

Having said that, Jared Rubinoff, one of Brent’s biggest fans, desperately wants him to keep putting pucks into the net.

“He’s the son of my billets from my St. Mike’s days,” Brent said. “He said he picked me up in fantasy the night before opening night.

“He’s probably the only one that picked me up. It was probably a token pickup but hopefully it worked out.”

So far, so good.


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