How sad that I had to learn this great news first thing in the morning on my NYIC message board. I would have loved to have been able to wake up and find such happy news in my own e-mail inbox. But once again, I’m left to find out from other NYIC members with insomnia who post during the wee hours of the morning.
I found out about Sean Bergenheim signing a two-year deal just a few days ago in the very same way. Where's my press release? Where's the BAT SIGNAL from Uniondale? This isn't fair! Do I have to tap Greg Logan's phone in order to get the news as it breaks?
But I digress...
I’m very happy that Garth managed to lock Bruno up for an amicable three-year contract. Bruno is one of those young players who has ingratiated himself to the fans, the media, and anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting him.
Drafted in 2003 in the sixth round at the tender age of 18, I remember when he first played on the Sound Tigers during the ‘04 season. He was nothing more than a boy who looked even younger than he actually was.
Thin and pale with pouty lips and wide eyes. His English wasn’t the best, but he was a striking presence on the ice for such a young player. Still, whenever I’d see him in street clothes, I’d always comment, “Someone please feed that boy. He needs a cheeseburger.”
Teenagers are deceptively strong, and that was Bruno. Bridgeport was his training ground even though he played only 55 games with them. Then he made his way up to Uniondale, still basically just a kid. He started to grow into his body, his English improved, and his personality began to shine.
A quick-witted comedian with a charming smile, he quickly became a favorite of ITV. So much so that Josh Bernstein and his ITV staff named what became an annual award after him for the player “Most Appreciated By Islanders TV.”
The award is called the “Bruno” as it was first presented to Gervais. In 2008, it was presented to Brendan Witt by Steve Mears. Witter was surprised that it was an ACTUAL award, engraved and everything!
Gervais not only offers so much on the ice to his teammates, but so much to the Long Island community. We always talk about “home grown” talent. Well, Gervais may have been born and raised in Longueuil, QC, Canada, but he has grown into a man within the Islanders organization.
We’re lucky to have him, and I’m sure Chris Campoli is a happy man today, too. They worked so perfectly together on the ice, they never had to wonder where the other one was. When injuries began to plague them, you could see the loss.
So welcome home, Bruno. Glad to have you. And as I said when the Blog Box had the pleasure of interviewing you last season…with that accent and that smile, you could read me a cereal box and I’d pay very, very close attention.