Dan Brouwer underwent emergency surgery two months ago in a Vancouver hospital after experiencing the effects of the blood clot. He has since been moved to a nearby rehab institute, where he is able to watch the games and provide coaching suggestions to his son.
"Oh, he finds a way to get word to me," Troy Brouwer said on a day off during the Stanley Cup Final in which the Blackhawks have a 2-0 lead over the Philadelphia Flyers. "He'll call my sister with his notes, and she'll text me."
Blackhawks vs. Flyers Series Page
Sure enough, when Brouwer gets back to his team's locker room at the end of games, on his phone are text messages from his sister Nicki with tips from their father. During the Western Conference Final, the mandate from dad was, "You gotta take the puck to the net." He was right. Despite finishing fifth on the Blackhawks in the regular season with 22 goals, Brouwer only had two in the first 13 games of the playoffs.
In Game 1 of the Final on Saturday, Brouwer scored twice in the Blackhawks' 6-5 victory -- doubling his postseason goal production. Nicki texted afterwards to let Troy know she watched the game with their father, and they both had tears in their eyes.
"It was a special moment, as you could imagine," said Brouwer, whose mother attended the first two games of the series in Chicago. "Just because Dad couldn't be here, it doesn't change anything. He's one of the people I play for. He's always going to be my Dad."
While Dan's health continues to improve, the 24-year-old Brouwer is making the most of the opportunity to honor his father nightly during the Stanley Cup playoffs. In the Blackhawks' 2-1 victory in Game 2, Brouwer's desire to get to the net led to Marian Hossa's goal to open the scoring. He was credited with an assist .
Brouwer told the tale of a lesson his father taught him while he was in the Atom ranks as a nine-year-old. Seems young Troy had a lot to say to the refs. Although this was junior hockey, Troy racked up several ten-minute misconduct penalties.
"My dad used to pack my equipment bag for me," said Brouwer. "I could always count on him for that. One day, after another game when I got a 10-minute misconduct, I get to the rink for my team's next game and something's missing. Actually, a lot of things are missing.
"It was Dad's unique way of bringing me back down to earth. It was the last time I took a misconduct penalty, at least at that level."