In what he says is his most memorable brawl, former Prince Albert Raider Chance Braid fights Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Ryley Miller in a Nov. 24, 2012 game at the Art Hauser Centre. Braid, along with 18-year-old forward Lance Yaremchuk, was traded to the Prince George Cougars on Monday in exchange for 19-year-old forward Jordan Tkatch. Herald photo by Perry Bergson
Since joining the Prince Albert Raiders as a list player in 2011, hard-nosed forward Chance Braid has developed into one of the most feared players in the Western Hockey League.
After spending three seasons with the Raiders, Braid was dealt to the Prince George Cougars on Monday, where he‚Äôll continue to play his brand of black and blue-collar hockey.
‚ÄúMy size, strength and being hard to play against,‚ÄĚ Braid said of what he hopes to bring to the Cougars lineup. ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt want people to want to play against me. That‚Äôs part of my game, creating space for myself and even others.‚ÄĚ
Throughout his tenure with the Raiders, Braid tallied 57 points and 213 penalty minutes in 201 games, dropping the gloves a total of 25 times.
When asked of his most memorable tilt as a Raider, Braid pointed to a Nov. 24, 2012 brawl with Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Ryley Miller.
Braid recalled how when taking on the Wheat Kings on the road the night before, Miller took a run at then Raiders captain Mark McNeil. The sparks flew the following game at the Art Hauser Centre.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt know if he tried to hurt our captain, but we came back to Prince Albert and I knew I had to do something about it,‚ÄĚ recalls Braid. ‚ÄúI jumped in there and it was a pretty good fight.‚ÄĚ
Braid‚Äôs most memorable game in a Raiders sweater; a Nov. 2, 2012 tilt against the Edmonton Oil Kings at the Art Hauser Centre on a night honouring NHL goaltender Curtis Joseph.
‚ÄúI think that was the hardest game we ever played,‚ÄĚ Braid said of the Raiders 3-2 triumph over the Oil Kings. ‚ÄúEveryone came together and worked as hard as we could.‚ÄĚ
Standing at 6‚Äô1‚ÄĚ, 206 pounds, the Chauvin, Alta., product was always willing to stand up for his teammates, saying he‚Äôs ‚Äúnot afraid to drop the gloves whatsoever.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs in my game and I don‚Äôt think it‚Äôs every going to leave,‚ÄĚ Braid added.
Although being traded for the first time in the WHL was somewhat unexpected, Braid knew in the back of his mind a change of locale was a possibility, given the Raiders current overage player situation.
All teams in the WHL are permitted a maximum of three 20-year-olds on their roster. With Braid headed to the Cougars, the Raiders have narrowed the list down to six overagers.
Still on the Raiders roster are 20-year-olds Calder Brooks, Dakota Conroy, Shane Danyluk, Jayden Hart, Carson Perreaux and Sawyer Lange.
Braid said he has a lot of good memories playing for the Raiders, but they won‚Äôt stand in his way when the Cougars take on his former team.
‚ÄúOff the ice, we are still going to be good friends,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúBut we have a job to do and that‚Äôs to play hockey. I can‚Äôt change my role at all.‚ÄĚ
Currently working a summer job at Buffalo Trail Public School in Wainwright, Alta., Braid looks forward to hitting the gym in preparation for training camp with his new digs in Prince George.
With Prince Albert now in his rear-view mirror, Braid reflects back on a Raiders organization filled with dedicated staff and a community that held the team in the highest regard.
Particularly, Braid thanked his billet Nancy Hodgson for taking the bruising winger into her home.
‚ÄúIt would have been impossible for me to come in there and feel at home without her,‚ÄĚ Braid said. ‚ÄúI want to thank Nancy for everything she‚Äôs done.‚ÄĚ