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Brad Rubachuk

Brad Rubachuk Tribute

Manchester Storm have made a great start to the 1999/2000 season and the defence of the Superleague title has gotten off to a great start with two wins out of two. However, it’s not quite the same this year - as any Storm fan will tell you there is somebody missing and that is fan favourite Brad Rubachuk, forced to retire through injury at the end of last season.

The owners of the Storm, Ogden Entertainment, made a great gesture when Brad’s number 41 shirt was retired at the first home game of the season.

The man himself was there, receiving a standing ovation from the fans, cheering every time he paused during his emotional speech. Mention here should go to the Ayr players who chose to come onto the ice to take part in the ceremony - a gesture appreciated by the Storm fans.

True to the personality that was obvious in Ruby as a player, he had decided that he wanted to say a more personal farewell to the Storm fans by throwing a party a few weeks later. Ruby’s Farewell Bash was to double as a benefit do for Ruby and a chance for the fans to say farewell one last time. It was following the Farewell Bash that I decided to write this article on Ruby.

 So, we sent our cheques off to buy the tickets for the bash, wanting to be part of the farewell to the Storm fan’s favourite. Typical of the relationship Ruby shared with the fans, each ticket included a hand signed post card of Brad, with him looking particularly ‘nice’ according to my sister in law anyway!! (click on the close up of his face to see the full card)  Now, I don’t claim to know Brad Rubachuk personally in any way. In fact, the first time I ever spoke to him was at the Farewell Bash where he stood at the entrance, welcoming as many of the fans as he could. However, the rapport he has with the fans and the way he went out of his way to speak to as many as possible during the night was quite something.

Brad Rubachuk
Ruby Banner

They had arranged a ‘photo with Brad’ where you could have a professional photo taken with him, which he will hand sign before they are sent to you. Of course you had to pay for it, but I felt it was well worth it - it was a benefit night for him after all. Now, some people (not Storm fans!!) may say that he should be like that, after all he is the one making money out of the night. This argument falls down when you hear all the stories of his unrivaled off ice relationship with the fans - part of what made him the fan favourite he was.

The current Manchester Storm squad deserve a mention here as all but one of them (Mike Harding whose wife is pregnant I believe) attended the benefit, even those that had not played with Brad last season, as well as a few faces from the past, namely Hilton Ruggles and John Finnie - both fan favourites at the Storm Shelter in the past.  The way they were with the fans that night, both young and old, was also unbelievable. Not once did one of them seem to be put out by a fan’s request for an autograph or a photo - an attitude you could only dream about in today’s footballers etc. And 

when you consider that they didn’t have to be there, it wasn’t an official team event, it makes the above even more amazing and I think that they should get the credit they deserve - well done and thanks for the autographs and photos. (I will post scans of any decent photo’s from the night once they are developed)

Brad Rubachuk

So, Brad Rubachuk the player has gone from the Manchester Storm. Whether Greg Gatto will be the on ice replacement that he is being heralded as, only time will tell. One thing is for sure, off ice, no-one can replace #41 and although he may no longer be on the ice in person, he will always be in the hearts and memories of the Storm fans that watched him play over the past few years. I’ll leave you with The Rock’s words after the presentation of the Superleague trophy at the end of last season.

“Number one baby......Number one!!”

PD - originally written during the 1999/2000 season

Related Pages : Brad Rubachuk Interview, Brad Rubachuk ITC Hockey Cards