A Sweet Summer Treat

A Sweet Summer for Sam Carrick

The Gulls' captain recently unveiled Carrick Bros., a maple syrup venture started by two of his siblings.

Sep 15, 2020

By AJ Manderichio/SanDiegoGulls.com

Sam Carrick collects plenty of sweet plays on the ice.

With the extended offseason, he’s partnered with his brothers to deliver more sweetness – but this come from a bottle.

The Gulls’ captain recently joined our GullsCast podcast to discuss Carrick Bros., a new company delivering syrup straight from maple trees to homes across Canada and the United States. Started by his older brother Jake and youngest sibling Josh, the Carricks officially opened for shipping in early May.

The idea came from the shared experience of spending time on their grandfather’s farm.

“We used to go up there every spring,” Carrick explained. “My grandfather would tap about 200 maple trees, and it was kind of a fun activity where we'd go up there and help collect the sap - which were in these buckets - kind of like the old school way where you take a tractor around a trail of big, mature maple trees and you collect the sap in the buckets and put it into a big tank in the tractor. You take it back to the sugar house, and you start to boil it.

"It's just a fun, outdoor thing to do in the springtime when the weather is starting to get warm, but it's still cool out. Sometimes there's still snow. Those are some of my favorite memories of my grandfather, just hanging out with him and helping him do that."

The farm is still in the family – owned by Carrick’s parents – and the tradition continues.

“I think that really resonated with my brothers,” he said. “They don't play hockey right now. They went to school and got their degrees in business. An opportunity arose where an existing maple syrup farm went up for sale just north of us. They kind of hopped on it, and with a little bit of help, they gathered some money together and purchased this maple syrup farm that was already in operation." 

The farm is much larger than the family’s property, providing the new business with 23-thousand working maple trees. The brothers spent 18 to 20 hours a day collecting and boiling sap. The new company needed to capitalize on a tight timeline to prep for its first batch.

"There's such a short window where the sap runs through these maple trees,” Carrick said. “It's basically when the weather is above freezing during the day and below freezing at night. That's when the sap is going to run. There were some days when they were rushing, but they have a ton of syrup. It was a really good haul."

With plenty of the syrup on hand, the Gulls’ captain is flexing his muscles in the kitchen, maple-glazing meat and doing more than slathering a stack of pancakes.

“I'll marinate chicken in maple syrup and hot peppers or something,” he said. “I do a lot of that stuff - things you wouldn't think of. I've been going through quite a bit, but it's not like it's super unhealthy for you. Maple syrup has a lot of good ingredients that can actually be very good for you. I pretty much eat it with at least one meal a day."

The new venture isn’t taking the captain too far from the ice. After playing 55 games between the Gulls and Anaheim Ducks, Carrick took time off to recover from general bumps and bruises and reset mentally.

As he started to ramp up his offseason workouts, Carrick admitted the restrictions in today’s world presented a hurdle he needed to overcome.

"it's not a normal summer,” he explained. “It's a lot easier when you are able to go the gym, see a trainer, and do the normal stuff you do. When you do it yourself, it can be tough to motivate, to be honest. I had to battle through that a little bit. 

“Once I got into a groove, and I started to see myself improve, then it was easy. It was more waking up every day, getting something done in the morning, getting back to eating properly and getting my body back into a good physical condition. Here we are in September, I've been doing it for a while now and I feel good. I'm in really good shape."

These days, the captain surrounds his training sessions with family time. He’s spent more time with his son, Liam, who recently celebrated his first birthday. 

Armed with a new one-year contract, he’s anxiously awaiting a start date to the 2020-21 season. 

"It's been awesome for me, but at this point, I'm missing the game, missing being around my teammates,” he said. “I'm ready to kick things back in to motion here."

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