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August 12, 2014

Chris Brown the latest to become part of an NHL franchise

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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Chris Brown the latest to  become part of an NHL franchise
Cranbrook captain Christopher Brown, pictured this past winter, had a brilliant senior season, was selected as the MIHL Most Valuable Player and was recently drafted by the Buffalo Sabres.

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — In one moment, he was focused on the phone in his hand, constantly refreshing with a tap of the screen.

In the next, he was focused on the television in front of him, permanently set to the NHL Network.

All hopes centered on hearing his name called or flashed across the bottom scroll — hopes that were quickly answered.

“The internet (NHL.com) was actually updating quicker,” Chris Brown said. “So that’s how I found out.”

The update on his phone brought about a lifelong dream, as Brown, a 2014 graduate of Cranbrook, was selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL draft.

“My whole family was sitting around watching,” Brown recalled. “Everybody was pretty happy. I mean, I had a feeling it might happen. A few teams had contacted me. But when it did, it was something pretty special.”

Brown was the 151st overall pick, chosen in the sixth round by the Sabres.

His selection keeps going a strong family tradition with ties to the NHL.

His father, Doug, spent parts of 15 seasons in the NHL, seven with the Detroit Red Wings where he scored 74 regular-season goals, recorded 171 points and was part of Stanley Cup championships in 1997 and 1998.

His brother, Patrick Brown, a 2010 Cranbrook grad, recently completed his collegiate career at Boston College, where as a senior he served as a team captain, scoring 15 goals with 15 assists in 40 games.

In April, he signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Chris now has his rights owned by the Sabres for the next four years.

“It’s very exciting to be part of their organization,” he said. “They have so much young talent right now. It’s a team on the rise.”

Brown, who had double hip surgery recently, headed out to the Sabres development camp in mid-July to meet members of the organization.

After scoring 26 goals with 58 assists in 28 games last year with CK, he’s scheduled to play in the United States Hockey League with the Green Bay Gamblers this season before beginning his career at Boston College the following winter. If he doesn’t sign with the Sabres before the four-year window closes (after his junior season at BC), Brown would become an unrestricted free agent.

“Who knows what the future holds, or how many years I’ll be where, but my goal has always been to be an NHL player,” Brown said. “I have a lot of people around me that can help make that a reality. To have my dad there helping me with pointers, to have the coaching and opportunities I did at Cranbrook, it’s all an advantage for me to make the most of.”

“At our level, he was a game-changer,” Cranbrook coach Andy Weidenbach said of Brown. “He made things happen, and he raised the level of play of his teammates. His work ethic, focus, determination, and, obviously his skill level and physical strengths, are all admirable. He was a tremendous captain — one of the best we’ve had during my years at Cranbrook.  When you put it all together, Christopher is the complete package.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.