Cardiac Cane takes a look at Bret Hedican one of the Carolina Hurricanes’ best defenseman in the 2000s
The defensive history of the Carolina Hurricanes isn’t exactly loaded with defensive titans on the blue line. So when one comes along, they really tend to stand out. One of those guys was Bret Hedican. Hedican played for both Hurricanes’ teams that reached the Stanley Cup Finals. Overall Hedican spent six years in Raleigh so let’s take a look at the career of one the better defenseman to wear the jersey of the sightless eye.
The St. Louis Blues drafted Bret Hedican 198th overall in the 1988 draft. That’s right Hedican was drafted in a round that doesn’t even exist anymore the tenth round. Man, those drafts in the late eighties early nineties were something else. After being drafted Hedican spent the next three years playing for St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. Yeah, I’ve never heard of it either but a quick look at their Wikipedia page shows that their logo is a complete ripoff of the Montreal Canadiens. I guess copyright laws don’t exist in Canada eh?
So after three years at St. Cloud and an appearance on the United States hockey team, Brett made his debut for the St. Louis Blues and played four games in the 1992 season. Hedican would play two more seasons for the Blues until they traded him to the Vancouver Canucks at the end of the 1994 season. The Blues sent Hedican along with Jeff Brown and Nathan LaFayette for Craig Janney. Glad to see the Hurricanes weren’t the only ones making horrible trades in the 90s. With Vancouver, Hedican would go on to make the Stanley Cup Finals that postseason only to lose to Mark Messier (Stupid Messier always ruining everything) and the Rangers.
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Hedican played five more seasons for the Canucks until they too decided to trade him to the Panthers in the 1999 season. The Canucks bundled Hedican with Pavel Bure, Brad Ference, and a third round pick for Ed Jovanovski, Dave Gagne, Mike Brown, Kevin Weekes (Hello future Carolina backup goaltender!), and Florida’s first round pick. The trade was a product of Bure holding out and demanded to be traded. Hedican spent two more seasons with the Panthers until they traded him, along with Kevyn Adams and Thomas Malec, to the Carolina Hurricanes for Sandis Ozolinsh and Byron Ritchie. For once the Hurricanes didn’t make an awful trade hurray!
Time with Carolina
Hedican spent the next six years playing with the Carolina Hurricanes. He played 369 games for nineteen goals and 101 points. Hedican was an integral part of both Cup runs and he played 23 games in the 2002 playoffs and 25 in the 2006 Cup victory. The 2006 victory would be Hedican’s third attempt at trying to win a Stanley Cup fourteen years after he entered the league.
In an interview with Bret Hedican at Off The Record talked about the 2006 Hurricanes:
"When you win the Stanley Cup there is so much that goes into it. And losing a couple Stanley Cups made me realize that it takes a special group. And our team in Carolina in 2006, there was no doubt that was a special group of people…It just seemed to be a magical season. We knew something was special during the course of mid-year when we were having practices like nothing I’d ever seen. The tempo, the speed, the precision, the drive to make each other better. Those are all the ingredients that you find in winning environments and we had that to the nth degree."
During his time with the Hurricanes, Hedican would also make his second appearance for team USA in the 2006 olympics.
Life after the Hurricanes
Brett Hedican would go on to play one more year of hockey after leaving the Carolina Hurricanes at the end of the 2008 season. He signed a one year contract with the Anaheim Ducks and played with them for the 2009 season. It was during this season that Hedican played his 1000th game. Hedican retired after the 2009 season and eventually moved into broadcasting where he is currently employed as a post and pre game analyst for the San Jose Sharks. Hedican is also married to Kristy Yamaguchi winner of Olympic Gold at the 1992 Olympics in figure skating.