Brian lived in Whitby during the 1930s and 1940s until his family relocated to Ottawa during the Second World War. While in Ottawa, he honed his hockey skills and earned a scholarship to St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, where he achieved All-American status.
After graduation, Brian became a novice sportscaster for WRGB-TV while acting as a player-coach for the Schenectady Generals. He advanced his broadcasting career by first returning to Canada in 1957 to join CFRB and then becoming the first Canadian to be employed as the host and colour commentator on a major US television network, CBS, for its NHL Game of the Week coverage.
In 1965, he became a colour commentator for Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts, a position he retained for more than 25 years. During this time, he did double duty by also hosting the NBC hockey telecasts from 1973-1975.
He served as Dean of the Hockey College, a national program endorsed by a major bank to help tutor young players in hockey fundamentals as well as on-ice behaviour, for 17 years, and is also the author of more than 40 books on hockey, including the popular Peter Puck series. As a songwriter, Brian composed a song entitled Clear the Track, Here Comes Shack, in honour of former NHL player Eddie Shack.