PEI

'It's all he ever wanted': Mom thrilled for son who made Canada's Olympic hockey team

P.E.I's Brandon Gormley will have plenty of people cheering for him when he suits up for Canada's men's hockey team at the Beijing Olympics next month.

Brandon Gormley joins fellow Islanders Morgan Ellis and Kevin Elliott at Beijing Olympics

Sharon Gormley wears Brandon's Team Canada jersey from the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championships. (Zoom)

P.E.I's Brandon Gormley will have plenty of people cheering for him when he suits up for Canada's men's hockey team at the Beijing Olympics next month.

Not just every hockey fan in Canada, but also his fiancée in Calgary, his sister in B.C., 14-month-old nephew, his father and the person who calls herself his biggest fan — his mother Sharon.

"Or me and maybe his fiancée would be tied," she said Tuesday from her home in Murray River, shortly after it was announced by Hockey Canada that Brandon had made the Olympic team.

"We're very proud of him and very excited for him. Brandon always said anytime you can put on a Team Canada jersey it's unreal."

Gormley, a 29-year-old defenceman, currently plays in Russia for the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Kontinental Hockey League. He played 58 games in the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche and Phoenix and Arizona Coyotes. His last NHL games were during the 2015-2016 season.

Brandon Gormley last played in the NHL in the 2015-2016 season with the Colorado Avalanche. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Players currently in the NHL will not compete at the Olympics.

Morgan Ellis of Ellerslie, P.E.I., was one of the six additional players named as a reserve for the team. Ellis, also a 29-year-old defenceman, plays pro hockey in Germany.

They will join Charlottetown resident Kevin Elliott, who will be an athletic therapist for the team.

Sharon Gormley said Brandon was travelling to Switzerland Tuesday but spoke with him briefly after he was named to the team.

Sharon Gormley holds a picture of Brandon's 14-month-old nephew watching Brandon play hockey in the Channel One Cup in December. (Zoom)

"He's over the moon. It's a huge honour," she said. "It's quite a ride. He's had lots of ups and downs but he's always loved the game. It's all he's ever wanted."

While this is Gormley's first Olympic Games, he has represented Canada at the World Juniors, Spengler Cup and, most recently, the Channel One Cup in December.

Sharon, who recently retired from a job at the Atlantic Veterinary College, and Brandon's father, Darren, a lobster fisherman, have been getting lots of calls from well-wishers on Tuesday.

"We appreciate the support. I know Brandon does. He's super proud of P.E.I. and super proud to wear the Canadian jersey."

Brandon Gormley learned to skate when he was three or four years old, playing for the Northumberland Bruins. (Zoom)

They plan to watch the Olympic Games on TV at their home. For now, it'll have to be a video gathering unless COVID-19 restrictions are lifted by the time the Olympics begin next month.

Gormley and his teammates will gather in Davos, Switzerland, for an eight-day training camp from Jan. 25-Feb. 1, and will practice and play a pre-tournament game against the Swiss in Zug, Switzerland, on Feb. 1 before traveling to Beijing. Canada will also play a pre-tournament game against the United States on Feb. 7 at the National Indoor Stadium in Beijing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shane Ross is a former newspaper and TV journalist in Halifax, Ottawa and Charlottetown. He joined CBC P.E.I.'s web team in 2016. Twitter: @RossGShane

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