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Patrice Brisebois copes with retirement by racing in NASCAR

Patrice Brisebois, Henri Richard

Montreal Canadiens’ Patrice Brisebois receives a silver stick from former Canadien Henri Richard to mark Brisebois’ 1,000th game in the NHL, prior to the Canadiens’ hockey game against the Ottawa Senators in Montreal on Monday, April 6, 2009. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)


Patrice Brisebois was once given the derisive nickname “Breeze by.” It seems that nickname has come full circle, as the 18-year NHL veteran found a new passion in life after retirement: race car driving.

The Montreal Gazette captures his experiences as Brisebois transitions from racing Ferraris to the competitive world of NASCAR.

“Give those guys an inch,” the 18-season NHL veteran says, “and they’re going to take a foot.”


Clearly, he isn’t in the Canadian Tire Series for the riches, his winnings through three events at $3,760. Brisebois’s final contract with the Canadiens in 2008-09 paid him that sum in just a little over one period of hockey, based on an 82-game schedule.

“Some people say I still want to be in the spotlight,” he said. “No, I’m doing this for me. I want to be a really good race driver. The sound, speed, smell... it’s all amazing. You feel like a freebird. People who have never been on a racetrack can’t fully understand it.”

He laughed.

“You go as fast as possible, and there are no cops.”

It must be difficult to turn to normal, cubicle-based life after operating in an adrenaline-soaked atmosphere like the NHL for nearly two decades. Brisebois might not have been the best defenseman in the league, but he carved out a productive career and hopes to do the same in the also-fast-and-dangerous world of NASCAR.

Good luck to him.