As the subject of the Abbotsford Heat’s first bobblehead promotion, Keith Seabrook can count on plastic statuettes in his likeness becoming something of a collector’s item.
The second-year defenceman can also count on a good deal of locker-room ribbing from his teammates.
“I’ve seen the picture of the bobblehead, and it looks a little bit like him,” Heat forward Stefan Meyer conceded with a grin. “I think I’ll have to pick myself up one of those and put it in my stall to let him know he’s big-time.”
“We’ll give him a hard time,” Heat blueliner Gord Baldwin chimed in with a chuckle. “We’ve seen the bobblehead – there’s one around here somewhere – and it’s pretty funny.”
The Seabrook bobblehead – a figurine with a disproportionately large cranium mounted on a spring – will be handed out to the first 1,000 fans at the Heat’s Sunday morning home game against the Toronto Marlies (11 a.m., Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre).
It’s a reasonable facial resemblance of Seabrook, but there’s just one small problem: The plastic figure is winding up for a left-handed slap shot. The flesh-and-blood Seabrook is a righty.
Somehow, wires got crossed between the initial photo shoot with Seabrook in September and the production of the figure. Part of the confusion may have stemmed from the AHL website, which incorrectly lists the Heat defenceman as a lefty.
It hardly matters to Seabrook, and if anything, the glitch makes the bobblehead more of a collector’s item.
“I’ve never had my own bobblehead before, and it’s going to be pretty cool to see myself in plastic,” Seabrook said with a grin following Monday’s practice. “It’s definitely a real cool feeling, and I’m honoured they chose me.”
The Marlies and Heat open a two-game set at the AESC on Friday (7 p.m. start), and Sunday’s rematch will be broadcast live on the CBC. It’s the first time the Heat have had a home game televised nationally.
“It doesn’t change the way we prepare or anything, but it’s obviously exciting,” noted Seabrook, a Delta native. “Other guys here don’t have family and friends coming out to their games and watching them, so it’s definitely exciting for them.”
Reflecting on his performance to the midway point of the season, Seabrook said it hasn’t quite measured up to his own expectations. He’s fifth in team scoring with four goals and 10 assists in 33 games, and he’s led the team in ice time on several occasions.
But at other times, his play has drawn criticism from head coach Jim Playfair, and he was a healthy scratch on Dec. 30 against Texas.
“The first year he scored a lot of goals and created a lot of points because people didn’t know much about him,” Playfair said of Seabrook. “Now they key in on him. He’s part of other teams’ pre-scouts. He’s on their radar for being an effective offensive-minded player for us, and he has to dig down deeper and push back.”
Seabrook, for his part, wants to help remedy the Heat’s recent scoring struggles.
“It’s definitely been a learning year for me,” he said. “I feel I need to produce offensively. That’s kind of been my game, and I haven’t been very much.
“But I’m getting better and getting my game back, and it’s just about taking it day by day, practice by practice and game by game – getting my confidence back on the blue line and getting pucks through to the net.”
• As part of Sunday’s festivities, the Heat are hosting a “Salute to Minor Hockey” hotcake breakfast in the morning. The meal runs 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the AESC, and members of the Abbotsford Fire Department and Abbotsford city council will be serving hotcakes. The breakfast is by donation to the Abbotsford Firefighters Burn Fund.