There was a homecoming at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre on Nov. 25, as Brett Fudger returned to help teach the next generation of Prince Rupert hockey players how to play the game he loves.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “I love giving back, so being able to come back and help these guys out and see my friends and family means a lot.”
Fudger, who is currently competing in the BC Major Midget League for the Cariboo Cougars, joined the Peewee Seawolves hockey team at the arena. He assisted the coaches with puck-handling, shooting and defensive drills. He also took time to give one-on-one advice to players.
Seawolves assistant coach Barton Hughes said it was good to see Fudger work with the younger players, and that his quiet style of teaching was effective.
“It’s a mutual win-win,” said Seawolves assistant coach Barton Hughes. “I don’t think the idea of mentoring is something that is natural to most kids, so the fact that he’s doing this I think is great.”
Fudger has been in Cariboo for three months where his life consists of school, the gym and the hockey rink.
“There’s no other way I’d rather have it,” he said
Fudger moved away from Prince Rupert in September for an opportunity to play more consistently with more intense competition.
He said getting used to the speed of the game at a higher level took some time, but he has adjusted and settled into the role of a facilitator who takes advantage of his size, puck-handling and passing skills to create opportunities for his teammates.
In the 17 games he has played for the Cougars, Fudger has tallied four goals and five assists.
“It’s a lot faster so I’ve just been working on my skills a lot,” he said.
Hughes said those skills are on display as he practices with the Peewees, and having a role model for them to work with is great for him as a coach and for the young hockey players in Prince Rupert.
“The kids look up to him,” Hughes said. “So it’s great for them and the community.”