Brinson Pasichnuk with the Bonnyville Pontiacs. Image provided by gamereadyphotography.
Brinson Pasichnuk is back in town briefly.
The captain of the Arizona State University Sun Devils said it’s nice to be home in Bonnyville.
“It’s always nice seeing family, just visiting with people I don’t get to see all year. It’s a bit boring though because all my friends are working full-time. Weekends are always fun. I get to hang out with people, but during the week me and brother go to the gym and play baseball during the nights….it’s really nice to wind down for the week,” said Pasichnuk.
The Sun Devils turned heads this year by making the NCAA tournament for the first time in their history. They won 13 more games than the 2017-18 season, moving from 8-21-5 to 21-12-1.
“Last year was one of the best years in hockey I think I can confidently say, not only in my life, but 27 other teammates lives too. It was just an incredible year. We were the story of college hockey.
“Everyone had us ranked 50th or something coming into the season and we finished Top 10. We made the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately we lost the first game 2-1 to Quinnipiac. But it was an incredible year. Our goalie played his first NHL game this year, so there’s big things coming to Arizona State and it’s exciting.”
Pasichnuk describes how it was tough in his first two seasons at ASU, but the team has cultivated a culture that has led to success on the ice.
“I think I would sum it up as one big family. We’re one big family who don’t accept selfishness from an individual. It’s all team oriented.
“When you step on the ice you’re going to do whatever it takes for your teammates. Whether that’s getting your face in front of a shot or taking a hit, I think that’s the culture we’ve started to embody at Arizona State. That was our goal going in was build a culture that will be successful and I think that’s starting to happen.”
Brinson’s brother Steen has been at his side for these years at Arizona State, just like with the Bonnyville Pontiacs.
“It’s awesome. It was always Steen’s dream to play Juniors together and that happened. When the dream of playing college came into action we hopped all over it. Definitely it’s been the best three years of our lives and it’s kind of sad, it’s our last year together there. But I’m thankful every single day for that opportunity,” said Pasichnuk.
ASU’s mix of players includes passports from Latvia and Sweden. He said most of the team is divided between Americans and Canadians.
“We have probably 10 Canadians from BC, Alberta, Ontario, about half Americans too. It’s usually a little battle between the Canadians and Americans. We have fun games playing each other.”
Pasichnuk heads back to ASU this week to continue off-season training and building towards an even better season next year.
“This year I think we’re going to the Frozen Four and do some real damage at the Frozen Four. What better way for my class to go out than to win a national championship. I don’t think there’s a better way. We’re all sticking around for our senior season because we believe in our program. We want to go win that National Championship this year.”
In his personal life, the story of how Brinson proposed to his girlfriend went viral in the college sports scene in January. He put her through a scaavenger hunt.
“A lot of people don’t know I do have a really soft side to me. I kept every single movie stub ticket. Every card, every note she’s ever written me. I sprinkled rose pedals up to my bedroom and in the bedroom that was all laid across the floor. There was a safe in my room and it had a note on it that said ‘open this after you read everything.’
“In there was a note she had written me a long time ago talking about this hike we did one time and I underlined it and said hint hint, this might be where I am, come find the next clue.
“So she went up there. It was overlooking our campus. I told her this is where I met you and fell in love with you and this is where i’m going to ask you to marry me, so then I asked her and she said yes – thankfully,” said Pasichnuk.