By Dave Leaderhouse
The Sedins are the benchmark for twin brothers playing hockey together, but the identical Norrish siblings have carved out a pretty impressive career for themselves too.
While playing at the professional level like what Henrik and Daniel Sedin have done for 17 years with the Vancouver Canucks would be the ultimate goal, what Brady and Chase Norrish have accomplished can’t be overlooked as the latter pair enter their senior year with the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers.
For four straight years they were cornerstones on championship teams winning back-to-back Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League titles in 2013 and ’14 followed by consecutive Atlantic Hockey Association championships with RIT in 2015 and ’16. Throw in numerous individual accolades and their respective resumes are lengthy, but with the end of their collegiate careers now in sight, they both give credit to what has happened as a result of playing with the Yorkton Terriers.
“I was fortunate enough to play three years in the SJHL with the Yorkton Terriers,” noted Brady recently. “In those three seasons I was able to improve my skills by playing against, and alongside, stronger, tougher and faster competition.”
“Playing for the Yorkton Terriers allowed me to grow as a person and as a player,” echoed Chase. “Each year was a new experience, getting tested on and off the ice.”
The Norrish brothers grew up on a farm near Strongfield, Sask., and in their final year of midget eligibility they joined the Beardy’s Blackhawks of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. The pair played in every game for the Blackhawks that season and also got their first taste of Junior “A” action when they each had three-game auditions with the Terriers.
Neither brother registered a point in that initial introduction to the higher level, but the table was clearly set for what would take place in the subsequent three seasons as Chase would go on to collect 22 goals and 62 assists in 166 regular-season games while Brady amassed 22 goals and 57 assists in 162 contests.
“The SJHL manages to produce highly talented players each year and creates a great environment for young men to be able to play at the best of their abilities,” says Chase.
“The SJHL created opportunities for you to be successful and gives you the chance to continue playing the game at a high level,” added Brady.
According to the RIT website, Tigers’ scout Brian Hills knew after two periods of watching the Norrish brothers play at the 2013 Showcase in Warman that he had found his defensive anchors for the future and both Chase and Brady were immediately recruited to head east following their final year of junior eligibility.
Before joining the Tigers, however, the Norrish brothers had one final order of business to do and that was accomplished in the spring of 2014 when they helped the Terriers capture the RBC Cup. Chase was named the league’s top defenceman that season and both were key parts in Yorkton winning the national title.
The success carried over to their collegiate careers as both have been selected to several all-conference teams during their time at RIT with Chase picking up another top defenceman award when he was selected as the best blueliner in the AHA in 2015-16.
Brady and Chase were named as co-captains for the Tigers entering their junior seasons last year and will continue to share that honour this season as well. With two AHA titles under their belt they would obviously like to cap off their collegiate careers with a national championship, a similar ending to what happened at the junior level.
This might finally be the end of the road for the pair playing together, but who knows, maybe a pro scout will see them this year and feel the same way that the RIT scouting staff felt four years ago. Regardless of what happens, the Norrish brothers cherish their time together and they both know that without time well spent in east-central Saskatchewan their hockey and personal lives might be altogether different.
“The time that I spent as a Yorkton Terrier is one that I will never forget,” reflects Chase. “I would not be where I am today without the help of the SJHL and the Yorkton Terriers.”