A year ago, the Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell took a gamble with his hockey club, hiring on Rod Brind’Amour as the head coach for the 2018-19 season. On the first day of training camp, he named former teammate Justin Williams as captain, and gave them a singular goal: To be the best team in the league. The Hurricanes delivered, and in a big way, reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in their first playoff appearance in the last decade.
As a player: The Early Days singing Gloria
The St. Louis Blues initially drafted Rod Brind’Amour in the first round, ninth overall during the 1988 NHL Draft. During the 1988-89 regular season, he appeared in 42 games with the Michigan State University Spartans, posting a record of 27G-32A-59PTS, but would make his NHL debut during the 1989 Stanley Cup Playoffs. His first appearance was in Game 5 against the Minnesota North Stars (now the Dallas Stars), and made a name for himself early, scoring his first NHL goal on his first shot. He would go on to appear in a total of 5 games and tally a total of 2G-0A-2PTS before the Blues would be knocked out by the Chicago Blackhawks. The image of Brind’Amour becoming a player of notoriety was already forming.
In the 1989-90 season, Rod would continue to grow, racking up a record of 26G-35A-61PTS in the 79 games he played during his rookie season. He would find himself nominated to the 1989-90 Rookie All-Star Team after finishing third on the team’s scoring roster. The 1990 Stanley Cup Playoffs saw him appear in the Blues’ 12 games where he again came out strong, with 5G-8A-13PTS before they would again fall to the Chicago Blackhawks for the second year in a row. The 1990-91 regular season would end up his last with the Blues hockey club, where he appeared in 78 regular season games and 13 playoff games before being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers.
As a player: Flying the Orange and Black
The 1991-92 NHL season is when Rod “The Bod” Brind’Amour would begin to truly turn heads, posting a then career high season of 33G-44A-77PTS in his first 80 games as a Flyer. The 1992-93 season would see him post his career best in goals, a total of 37, in 81 games, with the 1993-94 season being his best in points (35G-62A-97PTS-84GP). During his tenure with the Flyers, Rod would set one of the most notable franchise records in Flyers history. He earned the title of “Ironman”, appearing in 484 consecutive games. His Flyers career, which spanned from 1991 to 2000 saw him play a total of 633 games with a record of 235G-366A-601PTS, placing him 10th in all-time goals, 7th in all-time assists, and 9th overall in all-time points.
As a player: A force of nature
After returning from an ankle injury during the 1999-2000 season, Rod Brind’Amour would find himself traded once again, this time to the team he would eventually coach, the Carolina Hurricanes. The next decade would see Rod Brind’Amour and the Carolina Hurricanes go to the Stanley Cup Finals twice, in 2002 and 2006. During the 2002 finals, Carolina would lose to the Detroit Red Wings 4-1, but bring the cup home in 2006 defeating the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 in a run that seems destined to repeat in the 2019 playoffs. Rod would also find himself the recipient of the Frank J. Selke Trophy as a Hurricane in 2006 and 2007. Rod Brind’Amour would go on to retire from professional hockey as a player after the conclusion of the 2009-10 regular season after playing a total of 1,484 career games and a record of 452G-732A-1100PTS.
Management of the future
In June of 2011, the Carolina Hurricanes organization officially named Rod Brind’Amour as the team’s assistant head coach and development coach, a position that he would serve in until the 8th of May, 2018, which would change the face of the Carolina Hurricanes hockey club and draw the ire of a certain commentator in Canada.
Feature image courtesy of Josh Tessler