Approximately four years ago Ohsweken’s own Brandon Montour received that much anticipating life changing phone call.
This offensive minded right-handed shooting defenceman who was drafted 55th overall in the second round of 2014’s NHL draft, achieved that ultimate dream when on December 28, 2016 he was called up to the Anaheim Ducks. Prior to the NHL call-up, Montour was tearing it up with the AHL’s San Diego Gulls where he had 13 goals and 32 points in 36 games played. Montour eagerly called his parents with the good news. It was a special moment not only for Montour’s family but also for the Six Nations community who love their hockey, and take pride in seeing one of their own make it and excel in the NHL.
“His game is puck moving and join the rush and be part of the offensive side of it,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “We’d be crazy to expect him to be strictly a defensive defenceman.”
Before living out that life long dream of making his Thursday, December 29, 2016 NHL debut in what turned out to be a 3-1 Ducks win at Scotiabank Saddledome against the Calgary Flames, a reflective Montour said,
“There is going to be a lot of emotions. I grew up playing and this is what I grew up playing for.”
Naturally Montour’s parents were in the stands, and coincidently enough the debut came on his mother’s birthday.
“It’s my mom’s birthday too,” Montour said. “Pretty good gift for her.”
Montour who drew some praise for his debut performance was paired with veteran defenceman Cam Fowler.
“I thought he did fine,” Carlyle said. “He didn’t look like he was intimidated by anything out there. He went out and played his game and that’s good for a young player to feel confident. I saw he was smiling and having a good time. That’s great to see.”
In his debut Montour logged 17:54 minutes of ice time and had a shot on goal along with taking a penalty.
Montour would have to wait until his sixth NHL game, which came on Saturday, February 4, 2017 at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, before he scored his first NHL goal which came against goalie Ben Bishop in a 3-2 loss against the Lightning. Since playing that first NHL game back on Thursday, December 29, 2016 in Calgary, there have been a lot of Brandon Montour Anaheim Ducks shirts being worn with pride around Six Nations. Following his February 2019 trade, to the Buffalo Sabres, fans proudly switched to wearing Montour Sabres jerseys.
Montour and the Six Nations community will always proudly remember that night a little over four years ago when in Calgary on December 29, 2016, with the Ducks, he achieved the ultimate dream of playing in the National Hockey League.