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Chad Brownlee – From WCHA Captain to Blossoming Musician



A couple pre-Brownlee thoughts: “Andrew” wrote me about the etiquette of throwing rib shots in a fight.  Short answer?  Swing away.  It’s not MMA, but you’re trying to hurt your combatant any way possible, as long as that “way” is by bashing him with a fist.  So, bash some ribs.


I’m aware that you can get a good sweat going in like, three minutes.  But all these machines that promise you can “get ripped in just 11 minutes a day” don’t mention how you have to live the rest of the day to achieve that. 

Obviously, that’s assuming you’re grilling chicken breasts and eating salad for the entirety of your daily intake.   So then what’s the qualification you need to declare a “length of time” for you using the product?  I mean, if you were eating chicken and salad and drinking water all day you could work out NO minutes a day and see results.  So are the people selling these machines just picking arbitrary numbers?


Onto the good stuff.  A couple ex-teammates/WCHA boys have had some recent success, albeit in different ways.  Yesterday Matt Zaba (Colorado College) got called up to the Rangers from Hartford, so major congrats to him.



One of my closest friends (despite the male tendency to never pick up the phone to chat without purpose), Chad Brownlee, has had an interesting career path. 

We were junior hockey teammates for a couple years with the Vernon Vipers.  There, we managed to be two of three guys that made it from training camp in ’01 to our BCHL title in ’03.  Chad’s about a year and a half younger than me and was our team’s captain, largely due to the fact that he worked insanely, nauseatingly hard at everything he did.

Oh, and for some reason, girls like him.

Oh, and for some reason, girls like him.

He was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks (his favourite team growing up in Kelowna, BC), and earned a full ride scholarship in the WCHA, with Minnesota State @Mankato.  After battling through more than a few shoulder problems, he ended up wearing the “C” once again, and was a rock solid defensive piece of some pretty good teams in Mankato (see teammates: David Backes, Ryan Carter).

When we were in junior, Chad started playing guitar.  I remember him learning at the back of the bus, and me wanting to bust off some of the strings and choke him out.  He could always sing, and certainly wasn’t afraid to at any occasion.

Well, Chad spent a year playing in the ECHL, hating his life, and realized hockey wasn’t exactly his only passion.  He quit, and decided to fully throw himself into his music, which by then was an impressive free concert to hear anytime he decided to pull out the ‘ol gitfiddle.

Ironically, Chad realized his dream of being on the ice for a Canucks regular season home game last night – singing the national anthem.  His music career really is taking off - You can check his stuff out on iTunes or Facebook Music.  Even though it’s *gag* country music, it’s truly incredible to hear music like this come from the donkey I played hockey with.  Very proud of the guy.  Writes his own music, plays guitar, the works.  Enjoy:

Personally, I suggest clicking “next” a few times to get to “Carry On”, but this first one is a nice little vocal showcase too.


Thanks for reading folks.  Have a great weekend!



18 Responses to “Chad Brownlee – From WCHA Captain to Blossoming Musician”
  1. Mike says:

    Best of luck to Chad. So many talented musicians get over looked. Meanwhile someone with no talent and a auto tune machine is making a bizillion dollars. Life isn’t fair.

    Cheers to the website Justin. I has an about section, embedded images and music! Good job. (I have no web design talent myself, so I am not judging.)

  2. Ally says:

    As a muscian that has yet to hit the jackpot, it is great to hear a story where someone can make the dream come true. But singing at a hockey game, it really is fun! Best of luck to you Chad-great stuff!
    Have a great weekend! And thank the Lord for live hockey tonight! WOOT WOOT!

  3. ibeentired says:

    Does he do any Stompin’ Tom Conners covers?

  4. ibeentired says:

    Tom Connors … my bad.

  5. jtbourne says:

    He’d be a fool not to learn some, right?…

  6. Frank says:

    Happy early 30th Birthday, Justin.

  7. jtbourne says:

    I was so tempted to edit your comment to say “Happy 27th, Justin, I remember mine 13 years ago, it was awesome”.

  8. Frank says:

    Hey, I didn’t say HOW early the 30th birthday wish was…..besides birthday rule is anyone older than you can make fun of your age…..and no, I’m not 40….yet…

  9. Neil says:

    That’s cool to find out that was your buddy! His songs are great, not really my genre but his voice is excellent and the recordings are really nicely done. Beyond that though, he’s my hero for picking up a guitar at such a late age and just deciding he wants to do that instead.

  10. Amy Jo says:

    Alright so if Chad’s the singer and Justin is the writer…….

    Who in your crew were the dancer and the painter? Was there a guy in the back of the bus making naked dudes out of clay?

  11. Sherry says:

    Happy Birthday (early) Justin (funny, the time 12:12 has signifcance for me too)!! Have a great day tomorrow!!

  12. Officer Koharski says:

    Good for him, I wish him all the luck in the world. That said, I hate this stuff, sorry. The closest I can come to enjoying country music is folk (Johnny Cash, Dylan) or blues from the deep south (Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf! Amazing. )

    I was really surprised to learn country was so popular in Canada, I guess that also explains why some country musicians are sneaky-Canadian. Sneaky in that they’re commercially successful in the US but their point of origin is seldom mentioned.

  13. Neil says:

    It’s more popular out west and in the prairies, there are definitely some broad cultural comparisons that can be made between the Christian Conservatism of the Canadian West/Prairies and the US mid-west and South (Canada has a bible belt too). It’s common in BC too but in Alberta you get the whole deal, cowboy hats, huge trucks, god hates fags, climate change is a liberal scam, etc. The ENTIRE province has voted completely Conservative for 2-3 elections in a row. Alberta is mostly rural, gushing oil, their last leader regularly embarrassed himself at press events, and if it was a nation, it would have the highest CO2 emissions per capita in the world. Sound familiar? The highschool I went to (and Bourne) in interior BC had it all (in terms of white folk that is), some parents were secular, some were Christian but fairly secular, some complained that school plays shouldn’t have gay characters portrayed positively in them, and my grade 12 biology honours teacher refused to teach evolution without teaching us why she thought it was all crap as we went (thanks for the tip Ms. Kappis).
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that people only listen to country music if they are a foolish brand of Christian or Conservative, I’m just saying that the cultural orientation that is almost always associated with modern country music is very much present in the Canadian west, particularly outside of the very few large cities.
    A lot of mainstream Canadian bands with diverse followings have strong elements of country too though, there is a strong rural element in the culture and there is a small revival going on of country and western-influenced music (even amongst the hipsters with their plaid shirts and wood-grain iphones).

  14. Jake says:

    If you were only in Boise a year earlier, you could have enjoyed Creative Tuesdays at the Long/Hay house. Every tuesday Chad and Rallo would come down and we would (try to) write songs. Well, Darrell and Greg and I didn’t do too well. Brownie always came through with something we could use. We would also usually go through a bottle of crown and a case of coronas and we would end up in the hot tub discussing the truths of life and the world. Nothing gay, not that there’s anything wrong with it. Creative Tuesdays. Those were the good old days.

    Fiesta Bowl! Ey-Oh!

  15. Kelly says:

    Hey Justin, Happy Birthday! Your freshman UAA jersey was a present for I think my 14th birthday, which so happens to be the 12th as well. Unfortunately I didn’t get the whole shabang like you, I was born at 2:12. I’m currently outside at college but I love keeping up with your blog. I’ve got another team to cheer for now (Go Irish!) but I’ll always be a Seawolf fan at heart. Congrats on your awesome blog and again Happy Birthday!

  16. Matt says:

    Pretty cool story about Chad. I played both with and against him growing up, but haven’t heard his name in ages.

  17. vipersdiehardfan says:

    Hey Justin, I just heard about your blog a few weeks back, so decided to check it out. Myself being a die hard Vernon Vipers fan, its always nice to follow former players to see what they are doing these days. I always enjoy hearing stories like this one here yuo posted on former Vernon Vipers d-man, Chad Brownlee. What a great story, thanks. Congrats on the great blog, I enjoy reading it daily and seeing what you have to say. Congrats also to Chad Brownlee on his new career. I have my own Vernon Vipers blog if you, Chad or any other former Vipers or even hockey fans for that matter would like to follow or check it out, feel free to visit my vipersdiehardfan blog.


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