Julien Brouillette began his professional hockey career in 2007-08. It wasn’t until after he played in 210 ECHL games and 238 AHL games with eight teams, though, that Brouillette finally received the call to the NHL.
“It’s special, there’s been a lot of junior games, a lot of pro games,” Brouillette said. “I just did my thing my whole life, people say you won’t make it. I just kept plugging away, working hard. I took the longer route but it’s definitely satisfying when you get rewarded.”
On Wednesday, the 27-year-old got word that he would be headed to Washington for the final two games before the Olympic break. In his debut against the Winnipeg Jets Thursday night, Brouillette had the primary assist on the tying goal as the Capitals mounted a comeback for a 4-2 win.
On Saturday, Brouillette fired a long-range snap shot from the top of the left circle that slipped through a screen and past Devils goaltender Cory Schneider 10:50 into the third period to snap the scoreless tie. The tally stood as the game-winner in Washington’s 3-0 victory over the Devils.
“Couldn’t even think of anything. It was just so confusing but so great at the same time,” Brouillette said. “The guys put together a win and it’s awesome. It’s going to be hard to sleep tonight.”
What made it even better was that his parents, Alain and Lucy, made a 10-hour drive from their farm in St. Esprit, Quebec, so they could be here for his first NHL stint. Granted they weren’t able to start the trek until after they finished prepping 20,000 chickens for a shipment at their poultry and dairy farm, so the Brouillettes arrived just in time for the third period against Winnipeg.
They stayed the weekend, though, so they got to see both of his first two NHL points.
“They were the first ones, took me to my first ever practice,” Brouillette said as he wiped off the remnants of the shaving cream pie that comes with any team member’s first NHL goal. “They were there for me when I was 10, when I was 20, when I was 25. They were there for me on Thursday night — I can’t thank them enough.”