The ‘Superman’ of hockey
August 20, 2014
HARRISON TOWNSHIP — As a child in the 1970s, Bret Beaudry spent many a winter playing pond hockey with his friends.
When he entered Linden High School, Beaudry’s hockey aspirations came true when he was chosen as goalie for the varsity team.
“My dad could not afford to purchase goalie pads, so it ended there,” said the 55-year-old Harrison Township resident. “He supported my playing baseball and basketball, and my magic, but goalie gear ... it’s expensive.”
Twenty-plus years later, Beaudry is married and has two children, a son and a daughter. His daughter, Robin, like her father, has a strong passion for playing hockey — specifically being goalie.
“It all started in 1999,” said Beaudry. “My daughter was a junior in high school playing floor hockey as goalie. She soon fell in love with the sport Hockey Town passionately embraces.”
Beaudry said Robin, then 16, later learned that there would be an inaugural Plymouth Salem Boys Varsity Ice Hockey Team her senior year. So she decided to try out as goalie.
Beaudry gave his daughter a deal: if she used her own money to pay for half the cost for the pads and equipment, he would foot the bill for the remainder of the cost.
“I then sent her to every drop-in we could find during the summer of 1999,” he recalls. “Goalies skate free because their pads are so expensive. I even bought a headset she could wear, and I could coach her from the stands. This became very frustrating and soon I found myself in love with the sport and playing again.”
He was 40.
“Robin and I would come home from school and work, and take evening naps in order to play pick-up ice hockey at Farmington Hills Ice Rink on Saturdays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from midnight until 2 a.m.,” he said. “Often, we staged end of skate goalie fights, which provided some comical late-night entertainment for everyone.”
That school year, Robin made the all-boys varsity team for Plymouth Salem while Beaudry joined his first adult league in Plymouth.
The Plymouth Salem Rocks team finished with three wins and more than 20 losses. Robin, who attended every practice and often begged her coach to let her play, only played one full game: Senior Night.
“She overcame the adversity and delivered a shutout,” said Beaudry. “‘Rockin’ Robin’ played at the Plymouth Cultural Center in her honor.”
For her efforts, Robin was named WJR’s Athlete of the Week and was interviewed on-air by Frank Beckman. It was during that broadcast that Robin acknowledged her father’s support and called him her hero.
“Soon after, my goalie jersey sported an ‘S’ for Superman on the front,” said Beaudry. “As my success continued, the outfit got crazier with custom pads and soon a cape became a ritual for warm-ups.”
Over the years, Beaudry has played and practiced on various leagues and teams, including a practice session for the Detroit Vipers a few times in 2001.
“That was an honor and made several news publications,” he said.
He also coached young goalies around metro Detroit, many of whom went on to win championships.
In 2006, Beaudry was introduced to Sam Cupp and the Michigan Sting Hockey Club at the Troy Sports Center. Beaudry calls Cupp “one of the top five most influential people in my life: a real game changer.”
“I started as a sub in 2006 with the Michigan Sting (which Cupp had founded) and became full-time in the summer of 2007 and won the championship with Bob Watson’s Ranger’s, ironically with a 2-0 MVP win over Sam’s team,” he said.
Cupp passed away while playing at the Troy Sports Center on June 21, 2012. Beaudry said Cupp was surrounded by his hockey family, “the Michigan Sting that loved him and all he did to promote senior hockey.”
Presently, in addition the Michigan Sting, Beaudry also skates for a team he runs called Prowlers.
“We play Sundays in an 18-and-over league at Troy Sports Center,” he said.
The team, made up of fathers and sons, won the Spring League season and playoffs.
Now at 55 and after 14 years playing, Beaudry has played nearly 1,800 games. As of Aug. 1, he had 201 shutouts and 1,001 wins, all the while donning his Superman goalie gear.
“Although difficult to find a phone booth to change in, I have and will continue to wear this Superman get-up for my daughter and the fun shared being on a team in a sport we love and have developed a strong passion for,” said Beaudry. “It’s really for my daughter; it’s not to be arrogant. And it’s a race against myself before I can’t do this anymore. We’ll all just keep playing until we can’t play anymore.”
Robin eventually went on to play two years of club hockey for Michigan State University’s women’s team, Beaudry said.
Steve Dietrich, of Macomb Township, has coached with and played with Beaudry for many years.
“He’s a solid goaltender,” said Dietrich. “He’s played on many different levels. Everything he does, he puts a lot of passion into it. And he’s a very good magician and very good at entertaining.”
An engineer by trade (Super Pack LLC), Beaudry also does work as a “Magic” Santa Claus during Christmas, and is a full-time magician and illusionist through his company Matrix Magic Shows. He can be hired for anything from company parties and birthday parties to charitable events.
“I’ve done volunteer shows for the DMC and the Make-A-Wish Foundation,” he said. “It’s a way to give back. These kids are strong and brave; it’s humbling to meet them and doing so has shown me that this is what I was meant to do.
“Life can be hard, and things are tough for a lot of people out there,” he continued. “Do something to make a difference.”
The next big match is the second annual Sam Cupp Memorial International Senior ICe Hockey Tournament Oct. 3-5 at the Troy Sports Center on Big Beaver in Troy.
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