Growing up in Elk Point, it was natural that Brett Letestu, her friends and family, all cheered for the Edmonton Oilers. However, Brett never imagined she’d be connected to the team, so closely, later in life. Her husband, Mark Letestu, also from Elk Point, now plays center for the NHL team.
It wasn’t a whirlwind, story-book, bam! You’ve been drafted to the NHL, kinda situation. Mark’s story is about determination; taking small town roots, a Junior A hockey background, and serious hard-work all the way to earning a spot on a NHL line-up. But, this isn’t about Mark, it’s about the woman who’s supported him and worked along side the hockey player, to help make their dreams a reality.
Although there’s always been a lot of focus on her husband, it’s never really occurred to Brett that Mark is famous, “It’s funny, I really don’t view Mark as being ‘famous’.” The mother of three explains, “of course, I know he’s accomplished amazing things, but maybe it’s because we grew up in this lifestyle together. We started at the bottom and worked our way up together!”
Mark is truly an inspiration to me. I am pretty lucky to call him my husband. He is a true leader at home, and at work. I look up to him and all his accomplishments. -Brett Letestu
Living the life of an NHL wife is demanding, especially when you throw three kids, all under five years of age, into the mix. Brett and Mark have two boys, Caleb (4) & Dylan (2), and a girl, Blake (4 months).
Finding time for herself can be a challenge, but it’s doable, says Brett, “I’ve joined athletic clubs, which offers childcare, to allow me to get my workout in, as well as, running errands for the family. They have been the biggest lifesaver for me!”
Brett explains, although the lifestyle is demanding at times, there have been some amazing friendships that have come out of it. “You move to a city, that you are unfamiliar with, maybe even in a different country and you are to make friends and carry on with your life as you would normally. I’ve met the best of friends from other cities who just came knocking at my door, because my landlord at the time is high school friends with a couple, who told them I have children the same age. Sometimes that’s all it takes.”
The hockey lifestyle is a crazy one. You are told where you are to live, unlike other lifestyles where you choose where you would like to live. As wives, we are to create a foundation for our family, and live life as normally as possible, no matter where you are. – Brett Letestu
Brett says it’s not just about herself. Every team, in every city she’s been apart of, she’s found ways to give back. In Columbus, when Mark was with the Blue Jackets, Brett volunteered at Ronald McDonald House, and the Lady Jackets charity group. In Edmonton, Brett is part of the Ladies of the Oilers, a group of Oiler’s wives and girlfriends who work to give back to the community. “Every team we have been on, their biggest goals are to give back in all different ways. It seems every year I want to get involved with more. For me, it becomes an addiction and I think it’s a pretty good addiction to have!”
Brett and Mark were high school sweethearts, they started dating 2003 and married in 2010, just after Mark’s first opportunity in the NHL with Pittsburgh. The pair attended FG Miller Jr/Sr High School in Elk Point, both sets of their parents still live in the small community of 1500 people, and the Letestus even came back to the town to tie the knot.
They’ve stayed connected with friends and family from the community, and truly haven’t forgotten where they’ve come from. If the schedule and time allows, Mark has been known to make a point of skating with the kids at the local arena if he’s in town. An avid baseball lover, he’s also been known to visit the local diamond during the summer when hockey is less busy for him.
After playing in Pittsburgh and Columbus, it feels good to return home, says Brett, “I think there is always something special about playing at home, in front of friends and family. Having the opportunity to see family more often is pretty valuable in this lifestyle.” Brett says the best part of being back home is “reconnecting with friends and family who I was only able to see once a year for very short visits. It’s nice to say ‘see you soon’, instead of ‘see you next year’.”
To the small town kid who wants to make it big, Brett’s advice is to “never give up!”
Even from a small town of 1500 people, if you stick with it and give it all you have, someone will notice! -Brett Letestu