Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo finds his strength through his faith in God and has a motto tattooed on his right arm:
“Live By Faith Not By Sight.”
With the NHL and essentially the world on pause due to the Coronavirus, now more than ever, the 23-year-old Carlo is putting those words into action as he navigates through isolation and frightening times for all. Carlo is also wondering if maybe there is a message from God in all this madness.
“Throughout this pandemic, it’s been interesting to have the time to sit back and recognize things with faith, to the point where I think God might be telling us to slow down,” Carlo told reporters in a Zoom meeting Monday from his home in Colorado. “My tattoo has come into real life… You have to continue to walk in those lines. I have it tattooed on my body for a reason. It’s something that I truly believe and something I try to focus on each and every day.”
As if the Coronavirus wasn’t testing his faith enough, Carlo lost a good friend this past Saturday when Edmonton Oilers and former Bruins forward Colby Cave passed away from a brain bleed at the young age of 25. Like so many that crossed paths with Cave, Carlo was touched by him.
“There have been a lot of questions during this time,” Carlo said. “It’s obviously been a troubling time in a lot of different ways, not just through the pandemic but through the Colby Cave situation, which has been quite devastating to a lot of us. I’d like to just say, first and foremost, that I’m wishing his family the best through this tragic time. It’s obviously very hard. He was one of the guys when I first started coming to development camps and whatnot that I looked up to. He just had that leadership aspect and that contagious smile that made me feel comfortable at the rink from Day One. He will be missed a lot and I just want to give my best to (his wife) Emily and the Cave family,”
With the Bruins season on pause, Carlo has once again been reminded how lucky is to do what he does for a living. He’s also grown an even stronger appreciation of the bond he has with his Bruins teammates and those in the organization he deals with on an everyday basis.
“It’s been tough on everybody. I think there are people feeling a little bit lonely in this time and it makes you appreciative of the aspects of your life that you might not always enjoy and appreciate during the regular routine of life like going to work and doing those things,” said the 6-foot-5, 212-pound rearguard who has four goals and 15 assists in 67 games this season.
“I think it’s a good reset for all of us to recognize how lucky and blessed we all are to be in those situations,” said Carlo. “For me specifically, it’s the light of my life every day being able to go into that locker room and smile and laugh with guys is something so special. It’s unlike anything that I’ve ever felt. It’s like having 30 brothers with you every single day. I definitely miss those moments, but every day there’s been some chatter with guys. I try to communicate with guys. ‘Zee’ (Zdeno Chara) called me the other day, we had a good conversation.”
One teammate that Carlo remains in constant touch with is his defensive partner and good friend Torey Krug. Krug, along with Bruins forward Chris Wagner, defenseman Charlie McAvoy and former Bruins Adam McQuaid, David Backes and Danton Heinen take part in weekly chapel group sessions online. Carlo is hoping a higher being helps Krug and the Bruins find a way to keep the Bruins’ top offensive defenseman in Boston for years to come and not leave via unrestricted free agency this offseason.
“I recognize that this game has a lot of uncertainty and with contract situations and different aspects like that but overall I have the faith that he’s an important piece to Boston and if it’s meant to be and it’s in his path, God will handle it,” Carlo said.
In terms of if, when and how the NHL may return to action, it’s been a daily roller coaster of reports and potential scenarios. Like everyone else, Carlo has some days where he wonders if the season may be canceled and the Bruins – the best team in the NHL right now – wouldn’t get a chance to return the Stanley Cup final and finish what they started last spring. Through his faith and staying in touch with other NHLers though, the Colorado Springs native remains optimistic.
“As time goes by, the picture is a little hard to see at times, but then I’ll read an article and realize that they’re brainstorming every option and then my optimism pops right back in,” said Carlo. “They’re definitely brainstorming every option from the calls that we’ve had with the league and whatnot. It’s great to hear that we’re going to work as hard as we can to establish more games this season and try to make that ultimate goal of awarding the Stanley Cup happen. I’m doing everything I can to stay in shape because I am optimistic.”