The Trail Smoke Eaters have a long standing history not only in the City of Trail, but in Junior and International hockey. With that history comes a long list of alumni who have gone on to play in the NHL, work in the NHL or follow another passion in life once their Smoke Eater career comes to end. This month, the Smoke Eaters are highlighting another member of the Gawryletz family in Brandon Gawryletz, older brother to Travis, who was featured in March.
A: After I finished playing, I was continuing my education and living in Phoenix, Arizona with my wife Chelsea. Started officiating kind of by accident to help a friend referee an adult hockey game, enjoyed it so much that I registered to be a referee the following season. I very quickly gained experience and in my second season officiating was working pro games in the Central Hockey League. Once I started to work pro hockey I knew I wanted to work games in the NHL.
Gawryletz began his Smoke Eaters career in 1999/2000 by becoming a full member of the team following a successful rookie season in the KIJHL with the Beaver Valley NiteHawks. Playing defense, like his younger brother, Brandon put up 20 points from the NiteHawks blueline. He would then add 37 points over the next two seasons before being traded to the Langley Hornets before the start of the next season. Brandon didn’t let the trade away from his hometown affect him as he continued to improve year after year tallying 49 points over the two season spent with the Hornets
Gawrletz then made his return to Trail for his 20-year-old season to join his hometown team and play along side his brother. He would set a career high in points with 33 that season helping the Smoke Eaters into the playoffs and into the second round after beating the Vernon Vipers. Gawryletz continued his hockey career with a Division 1 commitment to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks where he played four more seasons.
Now as a linesman in the NHL, Gawryletz has worked 327 NHL games since his first on October 14th, 2015 as the Arizona Coyotes took on the Anaheim Ducks.
Q: What has been the highlight of your post playing career?
A: Have to say the highlight of my post playing career was getting to work the first NHL game together with my brother Travis. Mom and Dad were there in the stands it was really a great night.
Q: With both you and Travis being Officials, whats it like working a game with your brother, have you ever disagreed over a call?
A: Always a lot of fun when Travis and I get to work together. We get along especially when we are on the ice, we always trust our partners.