Alain and Lucy Brouillete have had quite a week, thanks to their 27-year-old son, Capitals defenseman Julien Brouillete.
On Wednesday afternoon they received a phone call from their son informing them that the Capitals had recalled him from the AHL Hershey Bears and that he’d be playing his first NHL game against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.
But the Brouillettes run a dairy and poultry farm in St. Esprit, Quebec, about 40 miles northeast of Montreal, and there were 20,000 heads of poultry that needed to be shipped from the farm for processing Wednesday night.
Alain and Lucy, who speak very little English, worked through the night on the farm, then drove 10 hours to Washington, arriving just in time to see their son record his first NHL point in the third period of the Caps’ win over the Winnipeg Jets.
The Brouillettes stuck around to see their son play in Saturday night’s 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils and he treated them to his first NHL goal, a game-winner than broke a scoreless tie 10:50 into the third period.
“They’ve been there since I’ve been four years old,” said Brouillette, who played 419 games for eight different minor-league teams before scoring his first NHL goal. “My dad and my mom were the first to take me to the rink.”
After scoring his goal, Alain and Lucy were caught on camera high-fiving each other in the stands.
“It’s awesome they were here,” Brouillete said. “Hockey is a universal language.”
On his goal, Nicklas Backstrom won a faceoff back to Patrick Wey, who sent a pass to Brouillette at the left point. The defensemen took a few steps forward and snapped a shot through a screen and past Devils goaltender Cory Schneider.
“Backy won a draw,” Capitals coach Adam Oates said. “That’s what it’s about. You win a draw we get it across the blue line, we throw it to the net.”
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Brouillette enthusiastically threw himself into the glass while his father and mother celebrated.
“I couldn’t even think of anything,” Brouillette said. “It was so confusing and so great at the same time. The next shift was a blur, I think. It’s going to be hard to sleep tonight.”
Unlike most of this teammates, Brouillette will return to work on Sunday when he gets re-assigned to the Hershey Bears. With Mike Green [concussion], John Erskine [knee] and possibly Jack Hillen [leg] expected to return to the Capitals following the Olympic break, Brouillette will return to the minors.
But no one will be able to take away from him or his parents three memorable days in D.C.