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Tribute to a Hustler

Updated: Nov 22, 2019

By Jerry Reigel...

I'm not an engineer or scientist like the Rice clan....I deal more on the human's a tribute to an old friend that Rob and I were close to, Brian Milne....from my archives circa 2007....he made us both want to be better pool players....pool players don't last forever, but their memories do....

The grim reaper is banging on the door of another close friend, Brian Milne, a former pool league teammate. Brian, 73, is in the hospital on life support systems. His health started failing a couple of years ago, first with an inner ear problem that impacted his equilibrium, then kidney trouble which led to dialysis treatments. He's always bounced back in the past, but this is serious.

Brian's a native of Vancouver, B.C. and possesses a great amount of charm, charisma and generosity. There was never a situation he couldn't handle or a person he couldn't relate to, his wife. Jeannie, is very nice, as are his kids.

There's one Milne missing, however. The suicide of his older daughter the week before Christmas shook the family's foundation, but her memorial service turned into more a celebration of her life.

A short while later Brian fell and broke his hip, which led to cardiac arrest. The family feared he suffered a stroke, his second, but there's been talk lately of a blood clot, that causes reason for hope of recovery.

"We're just waiting for him to come back from this, like he always has," said daughter Judy.

Brian's been the best of friends to me. He treated me to numerous Kings hockey games over the years, and I enjoy his company immensely. He's "Big Daddy" to me and our other teammates, the closest thing to a father figure for me on the West Coast. He loved to spend money on other people. He gave me a pool cue that I use to this day and one night a younger acquaintance filled in as a sub for us. Brian ended up giving him a very expensive pool cue as a gift, even though they had never met before. That's the kind of guy he is.

I'll never forget our first trip to Staples Center for a Kings game. He had private suite tickets and as we approached the VIP entrance, my excitement grew.

"No matter where you go," Brian said, "always act like you had been there before."

That'll be tough to do when I visit the hospital. I'll call him "Big Daddy" and a Canuck, and hope he somehow knows I'm there.

From Left, Rob Rice, Jerry Reigel, Tiny Schultz (deceased) Ken, Tim Ickes, Brian Milne in 2003

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