By Ned Bekavac
Guelph’s Golden Brett has called it a career.
Brett Smith, pro hockey player for about a decade, has stepped away from the ice.
And so far, so good.
“I tell ya, it’s got off to a pretty good start,” said Smith this week, talking about retirement from hockey.
The 32-year-old, who played this past season with the expansion Brampton Beast of the Central Hockey League, has gone from wheeling and dealing on the ice, to dealing with wheels off it.
He is these days selling cars at Bennett GM in Cambridge.
And he says he’s a tad surprised with how much he digs the gig.
“I absolutely love it,” he says.
While he says he’s not quite missing hockey, he knows it might be a bit tougher when the colder months arrive and the puck drops on leagues around the world.
“October is coming quickly. I haven’t had the urge to put on the skates yet, and that’s good,” he says, adding that he knows when seasons begin, he’ll especially miss teammates and the competitiveness of it all.
Smith, who missed several of the Beast’s last games this past season after breaking his wrist, said the idea of retiring was in his mind periodically all season.
He has had injury issues, and he got married last year and he looks forward to being able to spend more time with his wife and kids. He’s excited to be living in Guelph and having his workplace near here.
Smith attended Guelph CVI in town and played for the Guelph Junior B Dominators before playing for Ferris State University, in Michigan, on a scholarship.
Later, he played 10 seasons in the CHL and East Coast Hockey League and twice won the Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup, which is awarded to the CHL champion.
A particularly tough part about stepping away from the game was the wrist injury that shelved him for the end of the season. He would play his final game for the Beast, but not know at the time that it would be his last.
“That was the most difficult part, and it hit me a couple of weeks later,” he said.
But Smith is philosophical about things.
“Hockey doesn’t owe me anything. I’ve won some championships and made some money – I can walk away with a smile,” he says.
While he says he’s now just a regular Joe at his new workplace, coworkers know about his hockey exploits and have checked out YouTube videos of the man himself.
“I get harassed a fair bit – all in good fun,” he says with a laugh.