Fred Brathwaite's playing days are long behind him. Or at least, so we thought, prior to Saturday night.
Brathwaite, the 48-year-old goaltending coach for the AHL's Henderson Silver Knights, was called into action on an emergency basis, serving as his team's backup goaltender, behind starter Jiri Patera, after Logan Thompson was ruled out against the San Diego Gulls.
It's clear that Brathwaite has held onto some keepsakes from his playing days, rocking an Atlanta Thrashers mask. It has to be his authentic mask from his tenure with the Thrashers organization because while he didn't play a game for the now-defunct club at the NHL level, he was part of the team's organizational depth chart, spending two seasons with the AHL's Chicago Wolves, who were Atlanta's AHL affiliate from 2001-2011.
Brathwaite last played in 2011-12 for Adler Mannheim of the German league, and last suited up in the NHL during the 2003-04 campaign for the Columbus Blue Jackets, making 254 NHL appearances in his career. This isn't a David Ayres situation all over again, Brathwaite isn't outright anonymous, although perhaps younger people may need to do a cursory search to get acquainted with his work. Outside of hockey, the affable Brathwaite made an appearance in Jermaine Dupri's iconic "Welcome to Atlanta" music video in 2002.
We'll keep you posted if Brathwaite gets thrust into action Saturday night.
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