Wolves’ Brandon Pirri keeping perspective, lending voice during COVID-19 season stoppage
Though the pandemic stopped the season and Pirri’s latest shot in the NHL, he knows there are more important things happening in the world.
On March 12, Brandon Pirri was with the Vegas Golden Knights and preparing to play the Wild in St. Paul, Minnesota, when the NHL announced it was suspending its season due to COVID-19. After starting the season in the NHL before getting sent to the Wolves in November, Pirri had earned his third Vegas recall in the last month and seemed to be back in the Golden Knights’ plans.
Then the pandemic stopped the season and Pirri’s latest shot in the NHL. But Pirri, 29, is keeping it all in perspective.
“I am aware of what’s going on,” said Pirri, who was sent back to the Wolves on March 14. “It was good to be back up, but at the same time it’s a game. It’s a sport, and wherever I am I get to play hockey for a living, and I feel very fortunate. Health and safety is everything, and it is what it is. I’m sure I’m not the only guy going through this, and to be kind of frustrated by it isn’t going to do me any good, or basically anyone else, because it’s just a matter of getting through this time and taking care of one another.”
Pirri has spread that message through All In Illinois, a state initiative stressing the importance of sheltering at home. Pirri recorded a television commercial for All In, lending his voice along with luminaries such as Hillary Clinton, Common and Chance the Rapper, and sports figures like Mike Singletary, Patrick Kane, David Ross, Jim Thome and Toni Kukoc. During the 56-second spot, Pirri says he’s really happy to live in a state that has taken the pandemic so seriously, talks about how many of life’s biggest moments took place in Illinois, and said “us non-essential workers need to stay home and do our part together.”
Pirri said he was asked through the Wolves to participate and hopes his voice could influence people to be safe and help stop the spread of the virus. After all, Pirri is going through this just like everyone else. He even had to tell his two-year-old son, Luca, that the park was closed.
“I saw Kaner did it, so if people are listening to him, that’s huge,” Pirri said. “The more people that can get behind this, the sooner we all can get through it, because the whole flatten-the-curve idea seems to be the only way we’re going to get back to our normal lives. I was asked to do it, and that’s an easy ask.”
If the curve is flattened, maybe the season can continue in some form. When the season was halted, Pirri indicated he thought the games would return and that a solution could be found somewhat quickly. But as more information came out, he came to the realization this wouldn’t be over quickly.
“At first I was thinking stay ready, and now [I’m] waiting it out like everyone else,” Pirri said. “Obviously, there’s only so many pushups and situps you can do, but that’s just kind of the way it is right now. It would be great to be playing hockey, but the world’s got to figure out a bigger issue right now.”