“I thought somebody had punched me,” Const. Mike Laurin said after the commendation ceremony at police headquarters Wednesday.
“And I kind of looked around and scanned to see where it came from and as I was doing that, I heard the brick hit the ground.”
At six feet seven inches, Laurin, 35, made an easy target for the brick.
He said he didn't realize how badly hurt he was until a paramedic told him he needed to go to hospital.
The wound required 14 stitches to close and it took Laurin three months to recover from the concussion he suffered.
Laurin credits luck and a thick noggin for his survival.
“I think it was just fluke, fluke in where it hit.”
No one has been charged with actually throwing the brick.
Laurin said he'd be happy to see someone face justice, but he's not losing any sleep over it.
“It's a riot. People lose their minds and in the mob do things that they otherwise might not have done.”
Laurin was among 17 civilians and first responders awarded for acts of bravery on June 15, 2011 when a melee broke out among thousands of people gathered for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup.
"There's hundreds of people who could receive an award. These are just specific examples that were selected and picked out," Laurin said. "There are hundreds of stories of officers who did an extraordinary job that night, likewise with citizens."
Others who were cited included a pair of men who gave backup to an officer helping a stabbing victim and a man attempting to stop aggressors from damaging a large department store. He was eventually swarmed, thrown to the ground and assaulted by up to 15 people.
Some 173 people face Crown-approved charges in connection with the events after the Vancouver Canucks lost the playoff final against the Boston Bruins. Police have recommended charges against a total of 315 suspected rioters.
There have been 110 guilty pleas so far, while 33 people have been sentenced.