Prior to Sunday’s 24-18 win over the Baltimore Ravens, the Browns received added support from the Lake Erie Monsters hockey team, the city’s American Hockey League franchise, as the captain, Bryan Lerg, and his assistants, Guillaume Desbiens and J.T. Wyman, were on the field and in the stands cheering the team to victory.
“I think it’s great,” said Lerg, a native of Livonia, Mich. “You can look at the fan base that they have here, for our games, and especially Browns games, it’s quite an experience to be down on the field next to these guys. You get down close to these guys and they’re huge and very physical. That’s why they only play 16 games.”
Wyman, a Minnesota native, added, “It’s an amazing experience. Not a lot of people get to do this, and it’s just an interesting part of the game that you never really get to see on the TV. The way these guys get prepared, physically, mentally, it’s a huge aspect of being a professional athlete, so it’s an interesting process to see.”
While Lerg and Wyman grew up in the United States, where football is a popular sport, Desbiens was raised in Alma, Quebec. His first exposure to America’s favorite game was through the Canadian Football League, whose rules and field are slightly different than the NFL.
However, since arriving in America, and more specifically, Cleveland, Desbians has quickly learned what football means to its fans.
“It’s impressive,” Desbians said. “You don’t know how big these guys are. I’m a big fan of football, a big fan of the Browns, so it’s pretty amazing to be that close and get the chance to be here for a game.”
By playing hockey in Cleveland and taking in Sunday’s game against the Ravens, the Monsters’ three captains have developed an appreciation for the city’s passionate sports fans.
“This is my second season here, and I love this city,” Lerg said. “It’s a great spot to be. I lived downtown last year, and it’s a great environment to be around, a winning atmosphere.”
Wyman added, “It’s one of the best aspects of what we do, play in front of fans who care, and they come out and support you, so it’s a lot of fun.
“It’s awesome,” Desbians concluded. “It’s a very loud building. The fans are into it, and it’s amazing. We get a really good amount of fans, and they support us really well. I’ve only been here a few weeks, but it’s been amazing so far. Sometimes, you get tired and you need that extra motivation, that extra push, and the fans give it to you. That gives you the willingness to beat your opponent and win the game. It’s phenomenal.”
The Monsters’ support of the Browns did not stop with Sunday’s game.The team will celebrate its annual Football Night at The Q on Feb. 22, and will feature a