Andrew Brunette once roamed the ice as part of the Minnesota Wild team–actually, he did that twice: once from 2001 to 2004, then again from 2008 to 2011–as part of a long, storied NHL career that stretches back to his big show debut in 1995. Known for his excellent attendance, he played just over 1,000 games from 1998 to 2012 and missed only 18 of them. Milestone game number 1,000 came for him while he was with Minnesota, too, in 2011. He is still among the franchise’s best in terms of goals, power play goals, assists, points, game-winning goals and games played.
Now the Wild fan favorite is heading back to St. Paul, but this time wearing a suit and tie instead of a sweater and skates. He’s been named a hockey operations adviser and will answer to team general manager Chuck Fletcher. His job covers many different behind-the-scenes aspects of a hockey team like scouting, free agents, prospect development and more.
Brunette admitted in a press conference that retiring was harder than he thought it would be, but now he has something to do that will keep him in the hockey world. He’s just the most recent in a pattern of retired players going back to work inside the front offices of teams. The Dallas Stars recently picked up Mark Recchi, the Colorado Avalanche has Joe Sakic and the Boston Bruins have Cam Neely, just to name three examples of players making the switch to front office positions post-retirement.
Look for Brunette to drop the ceremonial puck–and get some raucous applause and cheering from the crowd–tonight when the Wild take on the Avalanche.