Taste fuels passion for second-generation eligibles
CALGARY, AB -- Though they’ve yet to play a professional game, more than a few members of the 2014 NHL Draft class have already had their taste of the National Hockey League.
And it’s made second-generation draft eligibles Ryan MacInnis, William Nylander and Dominic Turgeon hungry for more.
“I felt like I was born into hockey with my dad,” Turgeon said. “At a very young age I was always with him, always wanted to be around. I guess at that very young age I promised myself that’s what I want to do with my life. I have passion for the sport and one day I will get here.”
Turgeon, of course, is the son of Pierre Turgeon, who collected 515 goals and 1327 points in 1294 games with six different NHL franchises.
Pierre capped his career with the Colorado Avalanche in 2006-07. Dominic, born in Cherry Hills, CO, was 11 years old the last time his father laced up the skates in the NHL.
“I loved it ever since Day One,” said Dominic, 97th among North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final ranking. “I was going into locker rooms at very young ages, at five years old. I was always around the guys and always went out skating with them and that meant the world to me.
“Even at a young age I was always going into the locker room after games no matter how late it was. I would enjoy going in after a game seeing them all happy. That was just awesome.
“He loves hockey and I do too and he said to get what you want you have to really work hard for it. He hopes I do that.”
It’s not unlike the story behind Nylander, whose father Michael scattered 209 goals and 679 points over 920 NHL games with eight teams -- including the Calgary Flames.
William, who was born in Calgary and played hockey in North America until age 14, doesn’t have to think hard to recall some time spent in dressing rooms, namely with the Washington Capitals -- his father’s final stop in the NHL.
“We would go into the locker room after games, go to the practice facility,” said William, ranked second among European skaters by Central Scouting. “I have a lot of big memories.
“We were in the rinks all the time. After games we were down in the locker room. Me and my brother growing up, we got to see the great part of it, going into the nice locker rooms and meeting the guys. It’s always been a picture I’ve had in my head.”
William would’ve had plenty of time to have Michael’s experiences rub off on him, too. The two played together with Rögle this season.
And though they’ve already played for the same junior franchise in the Kitchener Rangers, playing together isn’t a luxury that MacInnis has had to share with his father.
But father Al, a Hall-of Fame defenceman, remains a hot topic wherever Ryan, a center, goes.
“People come up to me all the time,” he said. “They still ask me about him.
“They just ask me about my dad and how he’s doing. I’m a forward so they can’t criticize me, I guess, for my last name.”
While Ryan has 66 Ontario Hockey League games to his credit in Kitchener, Al spent 1416 games in the NHL with the Flames and St. Louis Blues, amassing 340 goals and 1274 points. He also earned a Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in 1989 after helping Calgary to its only Stanley Cup title.
Those awards came seven years before Ryan was born.
But Ryan, born in St. Louis when his father was playing for the Blues, still had plenty of exposure to the NHL lifestyle.
And it’s made him hungrier to experience it again first-hand.
“He’s played the game that he loves for his career,” said Ryan, ranked 20th. He has fun.
“There’s nothing else I’d rather do than be a professional hockey player. That’s what we’re trying to do.”