Like many siblings growing up, Josh and Kyle Brunsch did not get along.
The brothers didn’t hate each other, or anything like that, but when it came time to hang out, most often they were not each others’ first choice. Their cousin Matthew, who is the same age as Josh, would many times act as peacekeeper between the two to make sure everyone got along.
“It was entertaining for sure. They fight like an old married couple, but it is not as bad anymore,” Matthew said with a chuckle.
These days, the brothers are much more civil with one another, friends even. And teammates, too, both playing for the Langley Junior B Thunder team, with 19-year-old Josh as team captain. Kyle, 17, is in his first season of junior lacrosse. Matthew plays on the Junior A Thunder squad.
While Josh may get away with picking on his little brother, when the uniform is on and they are on the floor, he draws the line at the opposition taking liberties with his brother, or any of his teammates, for that matter.
“When guys get chirpy, Josh is always there to tell them where their place is,” Kyle said with a grin.
Not counting one season of mini-tyke lacrosse, this marks the first time the brothers have been teammates. Back then, although Kyle was below the age limit, the team was lacking players, so they took him on. Not only was he technically too young, but he was small enough that his feet didn’t reach the ground in the team photo.
One recent highlight was a game last month when Josh – a defender who readily admits he does not have the hands to play offence – had the primary assist on one of his brother’s goals.
And while Josh is known for his steady, physical play on the defensive side and Kyle is the scorer in the family, one thing that is certain is they learned a lot from their father, Kevin, who played multiple sports growing up – including a year of football at Simon Fraser University – before focusing exclusively on lacrosse.
After a stellar junior career, Kevin graduated to the senior A ranks, where he amassed 498 points (230 goals, 268 assists) and another 74 goals and 160 points in 97 playoff games. Almost all of his Western Lacrosse Association career (he was a full-time player from 1992 to 2003) was with Coquitlam. He also played a few seasons in the National Lacrosse League, recording 11 goals and 26 assists in a 25-game career with the Buffalo Bandits and Vancouver Ravens from 2000 to 2003.
Just because their dad was an accomplished player, that did not automatically mean the boys would follow in their father’s footsteps.
“It was up to them. We gave them lots of opportunities to play different sports,” Kevin said. “I didn’t want to pressure them to play anything specific. They both played hockey and soccer, but they migrated to lacrosse.”
“I grew up with a stick in my hand, basically,” Josh said. “The speed, the hitting, the shooting, I loved it all.”
“And I was definitely better at lacrosse, and enjoyed it more, anyway,” he added.
Kyle loved both hockey and lacrosse but admits the 6 a.m. practices and summer hockey were not appealing to him. But lacrosse – and especially the physicality of the sport – were just what he was looking for.
And as for having such an accomplished dad/uncle in the sport, all three Brunsch boys have come to appreciate the advantage.
“I didn’t really want to listen when I was younger, but I go to him more now,” Josh admitted.
“He is always there with a piece of advice,” Matthew said.
“More often than not, (I ask him) just to raise my IQ in the game and get a better perspective,” Kyle said.
As for Kevin, it didn’t matter to him if his boys followed in his footsteps.
“The sport was good to me. It taught me a lot about life and helped me a lot in business and in other sport. To see them go down that path was nice,” he said.