Caps should have new faces on the bench
Father’s Day may have been last Sunday, but there will be plenty of proud poppas on the final Sunday of June at the 2013 NHL Draft.
Among the hockey dads keeping tabs on this year’s NHL Draft will be a number of men who had successful careers as pro athletes themselves.
From former Washington Wizard Popeye Jones (whose son Seth is a projected top-three pick) to NHL alum Tie Domi (whose son Max is a projected first-round pick) this year’s NHL Draft features a unique blend of prospects from athletic families.
“That’s definitely an advantage,” Capitals director of scouting Ross Mahoney said of prospects that grow up around a professional athlete.
“It’s an advantage because the parents can probably better prepare their kids for what it takes to achieve their dream at a high level because they know what it takes; they did it too.”
Popeye Jones was a gritty NBA power forward with six different teams spread over 11 seasons and has spent the past three years as an NBA assistant coach. Popeye’s son Seth is a 6-foot-4 NHL-bound defenseman.
“I just kept telling him that defense wins championships,” Popeye told CSNWashington.com last summer. “Maybe that was the professional in me, but I told him that if you can stop the other teams from scoring then you’re going to win games. After that, he really took to the position.”
Popeye admits that he stays out of the Xs and Os of hockey, but that he has advised Seth on how to conduct himself and how to approach life as a pro athlete.
“If your father or uncle or whoever was gifted enough to play at such a high level, it’s a good education,” Mahoney said. “You’ve got a very good teacher there to help you as you chase your dream… They can probably help you with a lot of the little things that are required to be a good player both on and off the ice.”
Below is a list is a of projected NHL draft picks who come from families with professional athletic backgrounds:
SETH JONES (WHL, Portland Winterhawks): Jones is the top-rated North American skater according the NHL’s Central Scouting Services and recently won the Canadian Hockey League’s Top Prospect of the Year Award for 2012-13. He is the son of former NBA power forward Popeye Jones.
DARNELL NURSE (OHL, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds): Nurse is the 4th rated North American skater according to the NHL’s CSS, and the No.2 rated defenseman. He is the son of former Canadian Football League wide receiver Richard Nurse and the nephew of former Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb.
KERBY RYCHEL (OHL, Windsor Spitfires): Rychel is the 17th rated North American skater according to the NHL’s CSS and the son of former NHL forward Warren Rychel. Kerby is coming off back-to-back 40-goal seasons with Windsor and won a bronze medal with Team Canada at the 2012 Under-18 World Championships.
MAX DOMI (OHL, London Knights): Domi is the 19th ranked North American skater according the NHL’s CSS and the son of former NHL tough guy Tie Domi. Max is more of a scorer than his father and the 5-foot-9, 197-pound center finished ninth in OHL scoring last season with 39 goals and 87 points in 64 games for Dale Hunter’s London Knights. Max has also battled type-1 diabetes since he was 12.
JUSTIN BAILEY (OHL, Kitchener Rangers): Bailey is the 37th ranked North American skater according the NHL’s CSS and the son of former NFL linebacker Carlton Bailey. Carlton played ten years for the Buffalo Bills, New York Giants and Carolina Panthers and appeared in three Super Bowls with the Bills including Buffalo’s 1992 Super Bowl defeat to the Washington Redskins.
ERIC COMRIE (WHL, Tri-City Americans): Comrie is the No.2 rated North American goalie according to the NHL’s CSS and the younger half-brother of NHL alum Mike Comrie. Eric spent the past three years with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, a team that is partly owned by Capitals assistant goaltending coach Olie Kolzig.
BRENDAN BURKE (WHL, Portland Winterhawks): Burke is the 13th rated North American goalie according to the NHL’s CSS and the son of former NHL goalie Brian Burke. Brendan was the starting goalie for the WHL champion Portland Winterhawks.
ANTHONY BRODEUR (USHS, Midget Prep, Shattuck St. Mary’s): The son of New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur is a projected late-round pick at this year’s NHL Draft, which just happens to be taking place at Prudential Center, the Devils’ home arena in Newark, NJ. Anthony is expected to play for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Gatineau Olympiques next season.