Not many people can claim that Seann William Scott and Kevin James taught them English, but they’re among the primary reasons why Chicago Wolves defenseman Mathieu Brodeur speaks the language fluently today.
Brodeur grew up in a Montreal home where French was the only language, so he needed to make up for lost time with English when he joined the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League at the age of 17 in 2007.
“When I went to Cape Breton, my billet family was all English,” Brodeur said. “I knew a little bit because of school, but I could barely get around. Just by watching TV and movies and being in an environment that was all English, that helped me a lot.
“When I came back home, instead of watching movies in French, I’d watch movies in English so it would help me with the transition. Especially a movie I knew by heart, I’d watch it in English and know what was going on. That’s how I learned my English pretty much.”
And the movie he knew by heart?
“ ‘American Pie’ helped me a lot,” he said with a smile. “I watched a lot of ‘King of Queens’ with my billet family. A lot of comedies, pretty much.”
The 24-year-old Brodeur is now in his fifth full season as a pro. At 6-foot-5 and 221 pounds, he’s primarily a stay-at-home defenseman who has been paired with Brent Regner all season. In 10 games, Brodeur owns 1 assist and a +3 plus/minus rating.
“He’s been pretty steady,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson. “He has pretty good size and with his long stick, he can poke-check from downtown Chicago and still get the puck.”
“I’m a real defensive defenseman,” Brodeur said. “If I don’t get scored on and the penalty kill is good, then I think I’ve done a good job. If you don’t see me on the news, then it’s probably good news. I want to play a mistake-free game.”
While Brodeur, who has 8 goals to show for his 186 American Hockey League appearances, knows he doesn’t play the same offensive game as the Boston Bruins’ 6-9, 255-pound Zdeno Chara, he aspires to be a similar physical presence.
“If you look at Chara, not too many guys want to go play on his side of the ice,” Brodeur said. “That’s what I’m working on – to make sure guys don’t want to come back around my side.”