By Fred Wallace
Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".
I remember Bryan Berard playing in the Ontario Hockey League in the mid 90's.
And while it bothered me that the Detroit Junior Red Wings cum Whalers managed to secure his services, rather than another team who would have selected him higher in the OHL Priority Selection if all things we equal, there was no doubt he was a dynamic Junior player.
So dynamic that he was selected 1st overall in the 1995 National Hockey League Entry Draft by Ottawa....a team he would never actually play for.
And I certainly remember the startling, almost sickening, image of Berard's eye injury as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs when his eye was sliced by the errant stick of Ottawa's Marian Hossa.
Those things I knew and remembered.
However, more depth and detail was provided in a book my good friend, Lucas, loaned me, titled " Relentless- My Life In Hockey & The Power of Perseverance. "
The eye injury, certainly no pun intended, was the focal point of the book.
But there were many other revealing topics;
- Being traded, living from contract to contract
- the injury, the comeback and his use of steroids as a means to recover
- the gentle, if not misguided, hand of the NCAA
- the NHL's good coaches
- the NHL's bad coaches
- dealing with herniated discs
- life in the KHL
- & getting massively ripped off by his financial advisor.
There's pages of stories and information far beyond the assumed hockey life of a young star who suffered a memorable injury yet made his way back to the NHL.
" Relentless " by Bryan Berard with Jim Lang is a good, quick read, one that illustrates how a gifted hockey player, lost most of an eye and yet gained a new vision for life.
I'm Fred Wallace