2023 Danbury Hockey Ring of Honor Inductee: Steve Brown

by Chris Lynch

Danbury, CT- The second of the three 2023 inductees into the Danbury Hockey Ring of Honor is Steve Brown. The powerful blue liner played more games than any player in Danbury’s proud hockey history. Across time spent with the Whalers, Titans, and Hat Tricks, Brown played 228 regular season games and 29 playoff games for a grand total of 257 games in his time playing professional hockey in Hat City.

And of all people to achieve that mark, Brown wouldn’t have been expected to base on his background. The physically powerful defenseman was born in Spring Lake, North Carolina, an hour south of Raleigh, and grew up playing basketball, soccer, and baseball. He didn’t start in hockey until ten years old, when a birthday party and a movie opened his eyes to the ice.

“My little brother had a birthday party at an ice rink. I went and had a great time. And this was around the same time that the first Mighty Ducks movie came out. I had such a great experience and loved the movie so much that I went and asked my mom if she could sign me up for hockey. So, she signed me up for skating lessons and I started that fall, barely knowing how to skate but committed to play.”

From that late start, Brown played in local hockey leagues until travel opportunities opened when the Carolina Hurricanes sparked the sport’s popularity in the Carolinas by winning the Stanley Cup in 2006. Brown took the travel chances, and opened more doors by his play, leading to a junior hockey opportunity in Cincinnati, then a collegiate opportunity to play NCAA DIII Hockey at Johnson & Wales University, in Providence, RI.

Brown’s time at Johnson and Wales did not go according to plan, so he left school and pursued professional hockey at a free agent camp with the Cape Cod Bluefins, based in Hyannis, MA. Brown played 51 games over the next two seasons in Cape Cod before entering a dispersal draft in the middle of the 2012-13 season. The Danbury Whalers selected him, and the rest was history. Brown entered the Danbury Ice Arena and immediately got his new teammate’s attention with his steady and consistent play and remarkable physical presence. He, along with fellow 2023 Ring of Honor Inductee Ed Campbell solidified the blue line and anchored the first professional hockey championship in Danbury’s history.

He stayed with the Whalers until the team closed operations in 2015, joining the Titans as a leader on and off the ice. He led the Titans to the Division Title in 2016, scoring a career high 21 points in a career high 39 games that season.

When the Titans closed operations, Brown went to Watertown for a season, but returned to Danbury when the Hat Tricks came into being, lifting the Hat Tricks to a Division Title in the first season of the team’s existence, but unable to finish a Commissioner’s Cup push, due to the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Brown opted out of playing the 20-21 season, staying with his family as uncertainty reigned in the professional hockey world.

When the Hat Tricks returned for the 2021-22 season, so did Brown. He skated in 37 regular season games and earned one of the FPHL’s Defenseman of the Year awards for the season. At season’s end, Brown decided he was done for the time as a player but has stayed with the Hat Tricks organization as an assistant coach on Billy McCreary’s bench.

Brown enters the Ring of Honor as a champion, and staple piece of hockey in Danbury across three different franchises who have occupied the Danbury Ice Arena.

“When I played here for Cape Cod, this was one of the places I hated to play. Section 102 was brutal. But as hard as they gave it to the visiting team, they gave us their support. The fans care about the players who take to the ice in whatever Danbury jersey they wear. It’s an honor to see my name along with all those I skated and won with.”