Alumni Update – Fall 2021


Got a phone call from John Doolan, who wanted to know if I could write an article for the alumni about life after hockey.  Guess I never thought about a life after hockey.  For years we live out our dream and never think that it will end.  

The first time it ended I never saw that coming.  As I have always said, don’t wait for the “what the f@#$ moment!”  “Didn’t see that coming.”  As the HR department said, “You have 20 minutes to clean out your space!”.

The only guarantee we have is one day we will either retire or be fired. I have had both in my career.  Thankfully, the second time around, it was my choice to leave the Portland Winterhawks and retire.  They were gracious enough to let me enjoy the moment. Yes, after almost four decades and some 2,250 games, it was time to pass on the sharpening jig.  It was a great career and an honor to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on behalf of PHATS/SPHEM.

So, I did retire?  Did I plan to retire, hell yes!  Did I plan on playing golf every day and sitting on some tropical island, hell yes, I did!  Did reality check in at some point?  Hell, yes it did!  

The reality is, we planned for both of us to retire at some point and looked at our lives both as a partnership between my wonderful wife Judy, the first PHATS/SPHEM Administrator, and what type of impact it would have both mentally and financially.  

So, what is my advice?  Plan to retire when you first start working.  We planned and invested for years and had a long-term plan.  So, to anyone out there, have a plan both mentally and financially.  It is over quicker than you think.

So, back to what this is all about, is there life after hockey?  There is life after anything.  It’s called life changes.  So, I retired for five weeks and got bored as hell and ran out of things to do around the house and needed to be busy.  So, I did the next best thing to working in hockey, I got a job in a brewery.  Go figure, beer league hockey comes to reality.  Landed a job, full time at a wonderful and progressive local independent brewery (Ecliptic Brewing).  I’m having a great time and learning a whole new skill in packaging and production, and I work with passionate people who believe in what they are doing, and we get to share it with a lot of people.  Sounds like a hockey mindset.

So, I ride my bike to work every day at 5:15am, rain or shine.  Have a clean bill of health, normal blood pressure and have lost 15lbs in the process so far.  Go figure, work in sports all my life and get out of shape and have high blood pressure and then get a job in a brewery, get in shape, and get healthier.  

Do I miss the game?  Every day I miss the game, but most of all I miss the people I have met and who will always be considered friends for life.  So glad to have been part of the brother and sisterhood and I have always believed, only we know what we do every day in and out.  Do I miss the work, hell no!  It sucked most of the time, the late nights and time away from home.  Now I only work five days a week, home every night for dinner and off every weekend.  We even have paid time off.  This has been a real adjustment for both me and Judy. But, getting used to it.  And just so everyone knows, we don’t drink beer all day at work.  Only when we are off the clock and in a responsible manner.  

So, life after hockey is what you make it.  Plan for it and think about it.  It is going to happen to everyone.  It is over sooner than you think so don’t get caught in the moment.  Regardless, age and time wait for no one.  Do we plan for more life changes after the brewery?  Darn well better believe it!  We have already planned to be moving to that island, sitting on that beach and just maybe, enjoying that cold brew that I may have had a small part in making.  

Cheers to you all, safe travels and happy landing, best to all.

Mark “Peaches” Brennan

HHOF 2010

All photos courtesy of Mark Brennan

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