Seabrook looking forward to familiarity

Will join former teammates in Vancouver

By CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI AGENCY

Brent Seabrook is looking forward to a reunion next month.

The Chicago Blackhawks defenceman got his invitation by telephone Dec. 30, though he admitted Tuesday he wasn’t very smooth in handling the call.

Knowing that Team Canada executive director Steve Yzerman would be announcing his selections for the Canadian men’s Olympic hockey team that day, Seabrook set everything up the night before to be ready for the call he desperately wanted to get.

The players knew the drill: about an hour before the noon EST announcement, one of Team Canada’s management team – Yzerman or associate managers Kevin Lowe, Ken Holland or Doug Armstrong – would be calling the 23 players selected to let them know the good news.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking. I set my alarm for 10 o’clock and I looked over and there was no phone call. I was trying to wake up and the phone rang and it was a number I didn’t know,” said the 24-year-old.

“I got real nervous and I answered it. It was Kevin Lowe. I didn’t really know what to say. He introduced himself as Kevin Lowe and I just repeated what he had to say. It was crazy. I repeated his whole first and last name.”

It was the news Seabrook wanted to hear, giving him a chance to reunite with other members of the Canadian team that won the 2005 world junior championship in Grand Forks, N.D.

It was during the lockout, so the team was stacked with players who otherwise might have been playing in the NHL and their availability made it possibly the best team Canada has ever sent to the WJC.

Seabrook is one seven players from that 2005 team to be named to Canada’s Olympic team for Vancouver, joining Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks, Mike Richards of the Philadelphia Flyers and Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators.

“I was teammates with all those guys. We won a gold medal together at the world junior. There’s going to be a big group on that team. It’s going to be a lot of fun being out there with them and being teammates again,” said Seabrook, who played his junior hockey with the Lethbridge Broncos of the Western Hockey League and was drafted in the first round, 14th overall, by Chicago in 2003.

The reunion theme doesn’t stop there for Seabrook. He’s a Richmond, B.C., native so the Games will be a homecoming for him, too.

“My mom and dad were pretty jacked up to hear I made the team. They were all down at the Olympic site taking a look at everything,” said Seabrook.

He said he’ll be trying to take care of all the things that come with playing in an Olympics at home this week when the ’Hawks visit Vancouver for a game Saturday night. He wants to be focused only on hockey during the Olympic tournament.

Seabrook will also have the familiarity of having teammate Duncan Keith, his partner with the ’Hawks, beside him on Team Canada.

“He’s very good defensively and very good offensively and I think I’m pretty good in my own zone,” said Seabrook. “I like to be physical and I feel like I can get things done in the offensive zone as well. We move the puck well and know where each other are. I think it comes down to trust.

We’ve played together for two-and-a-half years and we’ve been best of friends since we started here. I think that definitely helps and makes things a lot easier.”

Easier than handling a big phone call, apparently.

POLL