Brent Sopel’s been hard to miss.
When a Wolves player does a media appearance it’s usually Sopel. He’s in the middle of an #InkMe campaign inviting people to design his next tattoo, and he’s become a popular and respected player with the Wolves and their fans.
Some of this has been a surprise to Sopel, who was a member of the 2010 Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks but may have underestimated his prominence with Chicago hockey fans. Four years removed from that, there still seems to be an interest in Sopel and what he’s up to.
“I definitely didn’t anticipate this much but I’m happy to do it,” Sopel said. “It’s humbling knowing that we’ve got a lot of things going on and people are still aware of who I am and my brand. It’s nice.”
The Sopel “brand” is more than just a former Hawk’s media presence and cache for the Wolves. Certainly, they’re more than happy to have Sopel’s name help their exposure, but his value goes beyond what kind of web hits his name brings.
When it comes to hockey, Sopel’s an experienced defenseman approaching 1,000 career games. Never the fastest skater, Sopel shows the value of being at the right place at the right time. He’s also helped teach some of the Wolves’ young defensemen how to be professionals, a role he’s relishing.
“I’ve got my own hockey school so I’m used to doing that,” Sopel said. “I’ve been around long enough where I’ve got some experience so if I can pass that along to these kids and they put it to use and make them better, that’s awesome.”
In eight games, Sopel has one assist and a plus-3 rating. Because of the Wolves’ blue-line depth – they have nine defensemen – and his age, Sopel might not play every night.
That doesn’t mean he won’t have an impact.
“He’s showing by example so they can see what different guys can do and what you do in different situations,” Wolves coach John Anderson said. “He’s been really good that way.”