Brine enjoys life, playing in Asian league

Staff ~ The Truro Daily News
Published on January 9, 2014
David Brine

TRURO - It was an opportunity David Brine couldn't pass up.

When the 28-year-old Bible Hill native's agent came to him last April with the chance to play in the Asian Hockey League for Seoul, South Korea-based High 1, Brine jumped at the chance.

"It was a good opportunity and a great chance to experience part of the world I probably would never see," the six-foot-one, 198-pound forward said. "It also allowed me to share some hockey knowledge with a nation that is rising in the hockey world."

So how does he feel about his decision now, nine months later?

"I really enjoy it here," Brine, who shares an apartment in the Seoul suburb of Goyang with his girlfriend Marianne, said.

And why not? Brine is 14th in league scoring with 31 points (10G, 21A) in 23 games this season. And things are great off the ice as well with the excitement of a new part of the world to see and the chance to immerse himself in a completely different culture than the one he grew up in here in North America.

"We've done a lot of exploring since we've been here to try and see and experience as much as we can," Brine, who played for the past two seasons for the Zagreb Medvescak Bears of the Austrian Erste Bank Hockey League, said. "There is so much history and great spots to see."

High 1 (14-8-0-1) sits fifth in the eight-team league, 17 points behind the league-leading Oji Eagles (20-2-0-0).

The league, formed in 2003, consists of four teams from Japan, three in South Korea and one Chinese club. Each team plays a 42-game schedule before playoffs. The Korean clubs also take part in a separate competition for the Korean Cup.

Teams are mostly comprised of local talent, although clubs are allowed three import players as the league attempts to increase its level of competitiveness and develop the sport in the region.

Brine is joined on the High 1 roster by Ontario natives Mike Swift and Bryan Young. The three players share a vehicle, although they typically use the city's metro and subway systems to get around due to traffic congestion.

Brine said it was a challenge to get used to his new surroundings.

"Everything is very different," he said. "The language and the alphabet are not the same so seeing the symbols instead of letters took some getting used to."

Brine has since learned the alphabet and can read some Korean text.

He and his Canadian teammates are also getting help communicating at the rink. With all of the team's players, office and coaching staff speaking varying degrees of English - some are fluent - the players have an interpreter on hand for assistance.

Brine and his teammates practice each day from noon to 2 p.m. then work out and get together for a team lunch.

Brine said he was impressed by the skill level of the league.

"The guys can fly around and have great shots and hands," he said.

In spite of the drastic changes of his surroundings, Brine said the transition was helped by making similar adjustments upon arriving in Zagreb.

"Living in a country where English is spoken but not the first language and playing in a foreign country really helped prepare me for Korea," he said.

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