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Weekend Warrior: Brett Mydske’s Other Role as a Real-Life Superhero

Brett Mydske set his sights on becoming a firefighter at a young age. 

The shiny red truck was cool, and through lacrosse, he was inspired by coaches from Mini Tyke to Senior lacrosse who also held jobs as firefighters. 

“When I first got into lacrosse we had a lot of parents helping out that were firefighters, they played growing up it was kind of cool to see. I remember watching the Vancouver Ravens back in the day and some of the guys like Chris Gill and Dan Stroup, they were Vancouver firefighters and also playing in the NLL, that sparked my interest,” Mydske said. 

The tradition of lacrosse players also working as firefighters carries on. The Warriors have four firefighters on the team, and coincidentally they’re all defencsemen. Mydske works with Tyson Kirkness and Matt Beers in Burnaby, and Ryan Dilks is a firefighter in Edmonton. 

Mydske completed his firefighting training in Texas and says he applies skills he learned in lacrosse to his day job all the time. At the firehall, teamwork and individual strengths are important to help elevate the team’s performance. Running through plays at a lacrosse practice is like training scenarios at the firehall to hone their skills.  

“I think the two are similar because you’re working in a team environment. In lacrosse, you stick up for your teammates on the floor and on the fire grounds or whatever medical situation you’re attending to, you’ve always got each other’s backs. Everybody works towards the team goal as opposed to your individual goals,” Mydske said. 

The Warriors’ captain leads by example and if something needs to be done, he takes the initiative to do it. His goal as a leader on the floor is to make his teammates better and he leads by example, which parallels his experience as a firefighter. 

Warriors Head Coach and GM Curt Malawsky said Mydske reminds him of former Salmonbellies captain Eric Cowieson who was a quiet leader but when he spoke, he had the attention of the room. 

“Brett goes out and does his job, he plays hard, he makes sure he’s prepared for every game and when something needs to be said, he says it, it’s bang on,” Malawksy said. “His leadership is more about his play, but his leadership style is really conducive to the team where he’s not too over the top, he’s not down your throat, he doesn’t have to be the last guy to speak, he’s very inclusive to everybody on the team which makes a good captain.” 

Mydske is also a selfless leader, giving up his number to Matt Beers when Beers signed with the club for the 2023-2024 season, saying “I was just keeping it warm for him, and rightfully so, he’d been on the team since he was drafted.” A big part of Mydske’s decision to sign with the Warriors in 2019 was because of Beers who he grew up playing against, and Beers also helped him get on with Burnaby fire.  

Mydske now wears No. 12 to honour his friend, former Dallas Stars winger and Burnaby firefighter, Ray Sawada. Sawada, who played pro in the AHL, NHL and overseas, passed away suddenly last April while playing pick-up hockey.  

“Ray definitely inspired me when we worked together. He was probably the fittest guy on the job too, 38 years old, even though he wasn’t playing pro hockey at the time he always kept himself in shape and he was a great role model for everybody in the fire department,” Mydske said. 

Sawada’s father-in-law, Fred Klomp, coached Mydske in intermediate and senior lacrosse and was a firefighter for the City of Richmond. He remembers conversations with Klomp after he got hired with Burnaby fire about how he had picked a good department because Sawada was there too. 

When asked what advice Mydske would give someone interested in pursuing dual careers in firefighting and pro lacrosse there was no hesitation. 

“It feels like I’ve won the lottery. Honestly, every day I go to work it doesn’t feel like a job and when you enjoy doing what you do it’s the most rewarding feeling in the world.” 

Vancouver Warriors