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Profile: Brenden Sutherland

Profile: Brenden Sutherland

 
Brenden Sutherland was born and raised in the small town of Cross Hill, South Carolina. The third of five children, Sutherland’s childhood was marked by poverty. His mother was a stay-at-home parent, while his father worked occasionally in heavy industry and mining. The family faced a number of tough economic times while Sutherland was growing up, which left limited funds for the boy to participate in organized sports. Sutherland remembers being mocked for playing hockey and often having his hockey dreams dismissed. Some coaches encouraged him to take up baseball or football, which offered more monetary support.

With the help of his extended family and the church community, Sutherland was able to continue playing hockey. As he advanced through the ranks, he had to travel further to various arenas, since Cross Hill and several of the surrounding neighborhoods did not offer year-round ice or lacked an arena at all. Sutherland eventually moved to Charleston, and then to Charlotte, NC, in order to continue playing. It paid off, as he was drafted by the Phoenix Firebirds in the first round of the IHA draft the second year he was eligible. He was invited to the Firebirds’ camp and played on the team during the pre-season. He appeared in the starting line-up for the Firebirds, and played his first IHA game against the Denver Colts on October 6. He played only a handful of games for the struggling Firebirds, before ultimately being traded to the Washington Stars. The Stars assigned him to their NACHL affiliate, where Sutherland played the remainder of the season and the start of the next. He received a call-up when Stars defenseman Leo Harrison was injured during a tilt against the Philadelphia Falcons. When Harrison returned, Sutherland was sent back down, after playing eight games with the Stars. He recorded no points during that time.
In the off-season, the Stars lost a couple of veteran players, including Yann Karrick, who retired after eighteen seasons in the IHA. This left several spots on the roster open. The Stars ultimately decided not to trade, turning instead to free-agent signings and their own in-house prospects. Sutherland was part of the opening-night line-up and remained a fixture for much of the season, although he was sent down to the NACHL for two three-game stints, once in December and once in March, following particularly poor play.
Quick Facts
Birthdate: July 20 (Age: 23)
Height: 6’0 (183 cm)
Weight: 215 lbs (98 kg)
Position: Defense
Shoots: Left
Hometown: Cross Hill, SC
Draft: 16th overall (Arizona; 1st Round)
Teams: Washington Stars (IHA); Hershey Patriots (NACHL); Phoenix Firebirds (IHA); Santa Fe Phoenixes (NACHL)
Sutherland played his first full season in the IHA the following year. During eighty-two games, he established his reputation as a solid stay-at-home defenseman. He was noted for his calm demeanor. Notably, he had the fewest penalty minutes of any defenseman in the league, a testament to his style of play and his confidence as a player. He was nominated for the Lady Bader Trophy, awarded to the player who most embodies the spirit of gentlemanly play during a season.
Sutherland played eighty-two games in the following season with the Stars, which further cemented his reputation as one of the premier stay-at-home d-men in the league. He joined the Stars in their first playoff appearance in more than a decade.

 

International Play

Prior to playing in the IHA, Sutherland had never been considered for an international competition. He attended Hockey USA’s Olympic camp prior to his first full season with the Stars, but was ultimately not selected as part of the US Olympic team. He was also considered to represent the US at the World Championships the following May, but declined an invite due to an undisclosed injury, later revealed to be a broken thumb he had suffered in a regular season game in late March.

 

Personal Life

Sutherland is the third of five children, and the second oldest of three boys. Tragically, his younger sister Daisy was killed in a car accident at the age of 5, when a drunk driver collided with the family vehicle. Sutherland’s mother and his sister were on their way to pick him up from practice when they were struck. Sutherland lost another sibling to drunk driving years later, when his elder brother Sam left a party and lost control of his vehicle, colliding with a telephone pole, killing himself and another passenger. Sutherland is a staunch proponent of organizations that promote awareness about the dangers of drunk driving. His own charity offers support to victims of drunk driving, including survivors and their families. He regularly works with DC police to raise awareness about drunk driving at local schools. Sutherland is also passionate about reading and, with Luke Mackinnon, participates in various reading programs and book drives at libraries in DC. He also supports local youth hockey, both in DC and in South Carolina, noting his own struggles playing amateur hockey.

Scoring

IHA

Season
Age
TM
GP
G
A
PTS
+/-
PIM
EV
PP
SH
GW
EV
PP
SH
1
19
PHX
5
0
0
0
-1
10
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
20
WSH
4
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
3
21
WSH
61
5
10
15
+1
24
3
1
1
1
3
7
0
4
22
WSH
82
10
22
32
+2
44
4
3
3
2
10
10
2
5
23
WSH
82
15
30
45
+3
32
5
5
5
2
10
15
5
Career
234
30
62
92
+1
112
12
9
9
5
23
32
7

International Play

LG
Age
TM
GP
G
A
PTS
+/-
PIM
NACHL
19
Santa Fe
33
3
5
8
+4
22
NACHL
19
Hershey
34
3
5
8
+2
20
NACHL
20
Hershey
72
8
4
12
+1
34
NACHL
21
Hershey
4
1
2
3
0
2
Career
143
15
16
31
+2
78

Awards and Honors

  • IHA Player of the Week (x2)
  • IHA Player of the Month (x1)
  • Lady Bader Trophy Nominee (x1)
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