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Brent Sopel and Hockey
Brent Sopel entered the 1995 NHL Draft and was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks 144th overall. Sopel spent his first 2 years of junior hockey with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League, playing a limited number of games over the two seasons. The last three years of Brent Sopel’s hockey career were spent with the Swift Current Broncos, also in the WHL.
To start the 1997-98 season, 2 years after being drafted, Sopel graduated from junior hockey and began his professional hockey career in the American Hockey League playing with the Canucks’ affiliate team, the Syracuse Crunch. .
For the 2000-2001 season, Brent Sopel was called up to the Canucks and managed to play 52 games for the team. It was his rookie season in the National Hockey League. The next three seasons, Sopel played with the Canucks until he was traded to the New York Islanders. During the NHL lockout in 2004-05, Brent decided to take a year off from professional hockey.
After the lockout, Brent Sopel bounced around the league playing for the Islanders, Kings and Canucks until he was finally offered a 3-year contract by the Chicago Blackhawks. Brent was actually invited to training camp for the Detroit Red Wings without a contract for the 2007-2008 season when he was offered a one-year, $1.5 million contract by Chicago. Sopel chose the Chicago contract over Detroit’s one-year, $500,000 base salary contract.
In early 2008, Sopel signed a 3-year, $7 million contract extension with the Blackhawks which is good for the 2010-2011 season. After winning his first Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks, Brent Sopel was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers along with Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager and Akim Aliu, for the 24th (Kevin Hayes) and 54th overall picks (Justin Holl) in the 2010 NHL Draft, Marty Reasoner, Joey Crabb and Jeremy Morin.
Later in the 2010-11 season, Brent was traded to the Montreal Canadiens along with Nigel Dawes for Ben Maxwell and a 4th round draft pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Sopel is a savvy player and knows what to do to succeed professionally as a hockey player. Brent Sopel’s strengths include blocking shots. You will usually see Sopel on one knee deflecting a harmless shot to a corner. Due to Sopels’ shot-blocking abilities, he is a great asset for killing penalties.
Brent is a solid defender who can clear the front of the net and make quick plays to his teammates. While not the fastest skater, Sopel is best when playing well in position and using his stick to fend off pucks.
With a Stanley Cup under his belt, Brent is a gem to have in any locker room. His qualities of leadership and calm under pressure are more than precious.
In June 2010, Brent Sopel brought the Stanley Cup to the Gay Pride Parade in honor of General Manager Brian Burke’s son, Brendan Burke. Sopel participated in the parade honoring Brendan Burke and Brian Burke’s display of tolerance and family support. Brent Sopel was their team representative and his own day with the cup came later.
Brent’s wife Sopel and Brent himself have their own Twitter accounts where they both give updates to the public about their lives and life plans.
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