Gilbert Brule’s hockey career has apparently come to an early end.
Brule, who was drafted sixth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2005 NHL draft, was suspended by the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday after refusing an assignment to the American Hockey League on Sunday. Coyotes GM Don Maloney told the Arizona Republic that instead of pursuing options overseas, Brule has opted to retire from hockey at the age of 27.
“He decided that he didn’t want to live out of a suitcase anymore, was sick of living at hotels, and told me he was going to quit hockey – maybe become a firefighter.
“So what we do procedurally is we suspended him and unless he has a change of heart very, very quickly, we’ll go through the procedure of terminating his contract.”
The Edmonton, Alta., native signed a one-year deal with Phoenix in November but has no points in only three games with the Coyotes this season. He has 12 points in 11 games with the AHL’s Portland Pirates. It was Brule’s first season in North America since 2011-12, also with the Coyotes, after he spent the lockout-shortened season in Switzerland.
Brule was reportedly close to signing a deal with a KHL team in the off-season before opting to sign a two-way deal with the Coyotes. Although Brule’s second stint with the Coyotes was a short one, Maloney was supportive of the young forward’s decision.
“He’s still a relatively young player, but hey listen, even though he’s young, he’s been playing pro hockey for a long time. I think he’s just tired of doing what he’s doing, obviously. Good luck, God speed and move on.
“I did mention it’s hard to make the kind of money he’s making in the real world, but he’ll find that out pretty quick,” Maloney said. “But on the other hand, now he can get on with his real life. This is all just a bubble to me and once this is over with, now he can hopefully get his life in the direction he wants to take it.”
Brule had his best season with the Edmonton Oilers in 2009-10, scoring a career high 17 goals and 37 points in 65 games. He has 43 goals and 95 points in 299 NHL games with the Blue Jackets, Oilers and Coyotes.