Brinson Pascihnuk. Image credit: Arizona State University Sun Devils.
It’s been a whirlwind of a year for Brinson Pasichnuk.
Captain of the ASU Sun Devils, nominee for the Hobey Baker Award in his senior season, and now a member of the San Jose Sharks, turning a dream into reality for the 22-year-old defenceman.
I caught up with Brinson from Arizona where he currently residing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and waiting for a call perhaps to join the Sharks in the NHL resumes.
What does your new normal look like right now?
“Nothing’s really changing other than just staying inside and trying to stay busy. But it’s been a cool week to say the least. It’s been a dream of mine forever to one day sign in the NHL. So agreeing the terms of San Jose is huge. I’m just very grateful that God gave me this opportunity. And for all the support back home, it means so much. So shout out to Bonnyville for sure.”
From what I understand you were at San Jose Sharks development camp last year, so I’m sure that’s where some of these talks began?
“Actually before I went to development camp, they had offered me a contract last year, asking if I wanted to sign. But after a lot of thought and prayer, talking with the family, we decided that we wanted to come back for another year of college. At development camp, they were very understanding of that and they realize that my goal was to win a national championship in college and another year with my brother, and I was getting married.
“So that was just, you know, a lot to take in. So we decided to stay another year. And they were completely understanding and we just started building a really good relationship at development camp and we stayed in contact ever since then. When it was time to start making a decision, yeah, they were number one in many different areas. And ultimately, we decided to choose them and that’s exciting to say the least.”
You must have been dealing with General Manager Doug Wilson. At times I’ve heard he can be an interesting guy to kind of deal with. Obviously, a defenseman who played a long time the NHL, what was it like to deal with them?
“Doug is an unbelievable human being. And that was one of the big things that drew me to San Jose was, he cares about his players more than just players. He cares about them as human beings and he knows the value of family and how important that is. So that was just so big for me, like the whole staff and him, they have such good character in San Jose that I can go there and look myself in the mirror and know that I made the right decision because they truly care about their guys away from the rink, just as much as they do at the rink. So that was huge for me.”
How did your season finish with Arizona State?
“It was a heartbreaking end to the year. I know we’re not the only ones going through that. Everyone in the world is going through heartbreak in so many different areas and so many people are going through so much worse where they’re battling for their life. But yeah, our season we were waiting for a bid into the National Championship tournament and we were ranked 12th.
“So we were pretty certain that we were going to get in and I think two weeks before the selection show, everything started happening and they ended up canceling it, which was heartbreaking. But yeah, I mean, people’s lives come before us for sure.”
What was it like then to know that you’d played your last game without knowing at the time that it was gonna be your last game?
“It’s interesting to think about because, straight up, I don’t even know if it’s sank in yet that I’m done college and I’m going to play professional hockey. I really don’t think it’s sank in. I know it’s been like, a couple weeks, so almost a month since everything kind of ended. But honestly, I think I’m thankful that it happened almost this way. Obviously not with COVID and everything, but ending this way when I didn’t know that was my last game because if I knew that was my last game, then that would have been such a heartbreaking moment. And this way, I think we’re just able to take it all in and just look back and just be thankful for the four years that I had here and the memories and friendships I’ve made. It’s something I’ll never forget. I’m so grateful for them.”
What did you make of all the positive response from the Hobey Baker Award nomination and all the votes you received?
It was absolutely incredible. I can’t thank everyone enough fore voting. It was so cool to see the support of Bonnyville, friends, family, people I haven’t talked to in years, just sharing a post on Facebook telling people. It was so cool and then a lot of it just reminded me, again, how much of a special place Bonnyville is and how much they love their hockey and how much they love supporting, you know, local hometown kids. Yeah, it’s just, it’s so cool. I’m so grateful and I’m so happy I got to play two years in Bonnyville for the Pontiacs and just make those relationships. Yeah, it’s awesome.”
What would you like to have happen in the next season? Are you gunning for a spot on the NHL roster?
“Of course, yeah. I’m not going to sit here and lie and say that I don’t hope to play in the NHL next year because that is my goal, to play in the NHL and do everything I can to be an everyday guy and in the Sharks lineup.
“But you know, you just can control what you can control. And that’s how hard you work every day and your attitude. So I’m just going into a training camp or who knows if this season will continue on and if it does, hopefully, get some opportunity there. But yeah, the goal is to hopefully be playing in the NHL next year. But like I said, it’s pro hockey, so you definitely have to earn that. Nothing’s given to you anymore at this next level. So yeah, I’m excited though. It’s gonna be a lot of fun, a lot of learning curves and exciting time.”
Now what’s happening with Steenn? Are we going to see a signing here to have both Pasichnuk brothers potentially in the NHL next year?
“I don’t know… there’s nothing official, but there could be some possibility of me and Steenn both living in the same area next year. So yeah, it’s exciting. But you know, that’s his news. It’s not my news. And that’s not official. So that’s all I’ll say right now.”