By: Jeff Playdon | Follow me on Twitter @PlaydonJeff
On August 9th current Bruins Broadcaster and Bruins Alumni Andy Brickley will be celebrating his 60th birthday. Brickley is well known in the New England area, as he was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, and played collegiate hockey for the University of New Hampshire. In honor of Andy Brickley celebrating his 60th birthday, let’s take a look back at his hockey career.
From 1979-1982 Andy Brickley played college hockey for the UNH Wildcats. In the 93 games he played for the Wildcats, he scored 68 goals and 69 assists for 137 points. Brickley was also able to lead the Wildcats to the NCAA Final Four in 1982 and was then named to the NCAA All-American first team. While playing for UNH in 1980, Brickley was eligible for the NHL entry draft. With the last pick in the draft, the Philadelphia Flyers ended up drafting Brickley.
Despite being drafted in 1980, Brickley wouldn’t play for the Flyers until the 1982-1983 season. Before debuting for the Flyers in the 1982-1983 season, Brickley would first play in the AHL for the Maine Mariners. Whilst playing for Maine, Brickley racked up stellar numbers for the Mariners. He scored 29 goals and assisted on another 54 goals for 83 points. Finally, after playing for the Mariners in 79 games, the Flyers called up Brickley for the remaining three games in the NHL season. During the three games, Brickley scored one goal and got one assist.
Brickley On the Move
At the end of the ’82-83 season, the Flyers decided to move on from Brickley and trade him to the Pittsburgh Penguins. In his first season with the Penguins, Brickley scored 18 goals and 20 assists in 50 games. Brickley played five fewer games in his next season and only managed to total 22 points before being acquired off waivers by the New Jersey Devils. New Jersey sent him to the Maine Mariners for the 1985-86 season. In 60 games, Brickley collected 26 goals and 34 assists, giving him the fourth-most points on the team.
He made his debut with the Devils in 1986 and appeared in a total of 96 games in two seasons, collecting 19 goals and 26 assists. During the 1987 NHL season, he took a puck off his face in a game in Chicago, losing five teeth and getting 30 stitches. For the first time in his career, he would be injured that way. Brickley was placed on waivers following the 1987-88 season and left unprotected by the Devils in the waiver draft. Although the team demoted him to the Utica Devils in an effort to “hide” him and hold onto him for an additional season, the Boston Bruins picked Brickley up in the waiver draft, and Brickley was now playing for his hometown team.
Brickley Playing for Boston
Brickley played in 71 games with the Bruins in the ’88-89 season and scored 13 goals and 22 assists. On December 5, 1988, Brickley took another puck off his face, this time receiving credit for a goal after a Ray Bourque slapshot bounced off his face and into the goal. The injury required five stitches. In his next season with Boston, Brickley was on his way to having the best season of his career. Unfortunately, Brickley was again riddled by injuries cutting his season short to 43 games.
In those 43 games, though, Brickley scored 12 goals and 28 assists. After the ’88-89 season, Brickley had leg surgery and was forced to miss Bruins training camp. The Bruins placed Brickley on waivers that December after he struggled to return to form. Brickley reported to the Maine Mariners after going unclaimed. Brickley expressed a desire to remain with the Bruins organization, mixed with uncertainty, and was quoted saying this:
“They say they’re concerned about my game shape. Well, if they’re concerned about that, why not send me down for the two-week conditioning period? Instead, they put me on irrevocable waivers. It really makes me wonder what my future is in the Bruins organization.”
Brickley then went on a tear with the Mariners, collecting 25 points in 17 games and earning a brief recall to Boston, finishing the season with 2 goals and 9 assists in 40 NHL games, before injuring his shoulder in February.
End of Brickley’s Career
Brickley would end up playing two more seasons for his hometown Bruins before being signed by the Winnipeg Jets in a two-way contract prior to the 1992-1993 season. It’s quite unfortunate what happened to Brickley regarding injuries and being forced to bounce from the NHL to the AHL. The main reason for Brickley’s departure from Boston was mainly an injury concern and Bruins management taking youth over veteran status.
During his two seasons with the Winnipeg Jets, Brickley only played a total of 14 games and got two assists. After bouncing back and forth between the AHL and NHL, Brickley finally decided to call it a career in 1996. After retiring, Brickley was quoted as saying this about his career.
“My story is a good one. I was always a B-team player growing up. A walk-on through college, and I finally got an opportunity because I stayed with it. I was the NHL’s version of Mr. Irrelevant, and I happily played 13 years.”
After retiring from playing hockey, Brickley chose to enter the broadcasting career. He first started announcing games for WBZ Radio in 1996 and replaced Barry Pederson as the color commentator on Bruins radio broadcasts. In 1997, Brickley was selected as Derek Sanderson’s replacement on Bruins television broadcasts.
He joined NESN in 2000, initially working primarily road games with broadcaster Dave Shea. Beginning with the 2005–06 season, Brickley called all games, doing the road games with the electric Jack Edwards and the home games with Dale Arnold. Starting in the 2007–08 season, and since then, he and Edwards have called all of NESN’s Bruins telecasts. Brickley has also done color commentary for Versus and has occasionally done the same with NBC Sports Network for their televised NHL games as a guest commentator.
So Andy Brickley, thank you for all that you do in the New England area. Whether it’s providing a great broadcast on NESN or being a great role model for younger hockey players in the area, thank you for being you. On behalf of the entire BNG Hockey Organization, we wish you a Happy 60th Birthday!