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Growing up with an NHL dad

Northeastern's Tyler Madden grew up around the NHL while his father John played for the Devils and the Blackhawks.file/Winslow Townson/Associated Press/FR170221 AP via AP

Tyler Madden doesn’t really remember the first two Stanley Cups that his father, John, helped win as a member of the New Jersey Devils. Born in 1999, he was too young. But he definitely remembers the third, won after the family moved to Chicago in 2010.

Now a Hobey Baker Award candidate, the Northeastern sophomore is making a name for himself.

Madden is one of Boston’s brightest up-and-coming hockey stars, many of whom will hit the TD Garden ice when the Beanpot tournament — pitting Northeastern, Harvard, Boston College, and Boston University against each other for bragging rights and a trophy — begins Monday. To longtime hockey fans, Madden won’t be the only familiar name.


The sons of former NHL stars Ted Drury (Jack, playing at Harvard), George McPhee (Graham, playing at Boston College), and Frederic Chabot (Gabe, playing at Boston University) will also be in their teams’ respective lineups, in what is just another step to upholding their family legacies and developing their own.

Knowing what the future might hold for their sons doesn’t take away from the experience, all four dads assert. They understand just how precious an opportunity it is for their sons to play on nationally-ranked teams in a hockey-crazed town. Knowing this is nerve-wracking. It’s emotional. It’s nostalgic. It’s exciting.

Some of it has nothing to do with hockey at all, and everything to do with being a father.

Jack and Ted Drury

The hallway at the entrance to Harvard’s Bright-Landry Hockey Center is decorated with the accomplishments of notable alumni. Even though he’s just a sophomore, Jack Drury can look anywhere, really, to see his last name. Father Ted was a two-time Olympian and Hobey Baker Award finalist before he played in the NHL.

Ted Drury was a second-round pick of the Calgary Flames in 1989. He played 414 NHL games over eight seasons, for six teams, then played internationally in Europe before retiring in 2007.


“As long as you can remember, you’re in a locker room surrounded by the guys,” Jack Drury said after practice, seated in the stands, his back to the wall that boasts his father’s name. “You’re just always around the rink, and you develop that passion for just kind of being immersed in it. I’m certainly grateful for those experiences.”

His father’s accomplishments don’t weigh on him, he assures. Neither do those of his uncle, Chris, who won the Hobey Baker at BU before he captained the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers. There’s no pressure on him at all, he says — even though he’s a top scorer on a nationally-ranked team and the Carolina Hurricanes, who drafted him in the second round in 2018, are watching him closely.

Jack Drury plays hockey at Harvard, just as his father, Ted, did.Stew Milne/Associated Press/FR56276 AP via AP

“The environment I grew up in, sports were all about having fun, and being a fun, positive experience,” said Drury, whose mother Elizabeth Berkery Drury was a three-time All-American in lacrosse and helped Harvard to a national title. “There was never any pressure.”

“It’s just [about] being a parent,” Ted Drury added. “Unconditionally supporting him and making sure that he’s in a good spot at school and he’s happy. It’s less about giving him guidance as a hockey player and more about just being his dad.”

Jack’s mother Elizabeth is hoping to attend the first round of games, while Ted, who now works in finance, will try to make it out from Chicago for the second week.


"It’s so many great, great memories that I look back on fondly,” Ted said.

Graham and George McPhee

Boston College senior Graham McPhee received some sound advice at a young age from his father George, who was the general manager of the Washington Capitals.

George McPhee is now the general manager of the Las Vegas Golden Knights.Ethan Miller/Getty Images/Getty Images

“My dad always told me, ‘just try to be a sponge, take everything in,’ ” Graham said. “My dad’s been around the game his entire life, and as his son, I just get to watch how he works every day and just learn from him.”

George McPhee began his seven-year NHL career with the New York Rangers in 1983 — in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He scored three goals during those playoffs, prior to playing in a regular-season game.

Boston College coach Jerry York coached George McPhee at Bowling Green, where he won the 1982 Hobey Baker Award.

“They’re [both] competitive,” York said of the McPhees. “The drive that they each have is outstanding, and that’s surely a genetic trait from dad to son. They want to be very good.”

Graham, who was the Edmonton Oilers’ fifth-round pick in 2016, is aware of what might be ahead for him after the season, but he’s focused on the Beanpot, finishing the regular season, and the ultimate goal — a national championship.

Boston College's Graham McPhee, a fifth-round pick of the Oilers, is focused on the Beanpot. Winslow Townson/Associated Press/FR170221 AP via AP

This mind-set — “focusing on the present,” as he puts it — is something Graham adopted from his father.


“You just never know who’s going to make the NHL and who isn’t,” said the elder McPhee, who is now the president of hockey operations for the Golden Knights. “Part of enjoying the journey really is just focusing on your team. You come to the rink every day, your jersey’s hanging there, and you’re going to get a chance to play. College hockey is just a wonderful experience.”

Gabe and Frederic Chabot

The first time BU senior Gabe Chabot ever touched the ice was at Montreal’s Bell Centre, as his father Frederic began a professional hockey career that would be highlighted by NHL stops in Montreal, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles.

“I wanted to be just like my dad and play hockey,” said Gabe. “Being at the rink all the time, around the guys, it was just easy for me to love [it]. I was there a lot.”

Said father Frederic, “It was really a different experience for a little boy to be around hockey, and to have the chance to hang out in the dressing room at 5. Being in that kind of environment and culture probably did help him along the way.”

Frederic Chabot, who is a goaltending development coach for the Minnesota Wild, noted as demanding as he was on Gabe on the ice, he pushes his son even further in the classroom. Gabe Chabot graduated with a business degree in three years, and is currently working on his master’s. This classroom competitiveness, Frederic insists, is based on his hockey background.


“I use the experience I have in hockey for 30 years now so that whenever he’s going through a good time or a bad time, I’m always open to talk and help him and support him,” Frederic Chabot said. “He works hard..

Tyler and John Madden

When Tyler Madden moved to Chicago at age 10, he was starting to understand what his father did for work. Not all of his classmates, he realized, got to skate around at the United Center with the players whose hockey cards they collected or whose jerseys they proudly wore.

“When I didn’t have school, or when I’d get out early, my dad would take me to the rink,” remembered Tyler, who was selected by the Canucks in the third round in 2018. “Just growing up around the game made me love it even more, seeing what their daily routine is and stuff like that. The lifestyle was what made me love the game so much. It just pushed me to be better.”

Northeastern center Tyler Madden (9) grew up with a father, John, who played in the NHL, and he critiqued his da’s performance after very game. file/Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press/FR51399 AP via AP

The younger Madden would critique his father’s performance after every game, staying up late and waiting for him at home, or calling him if he was on the road. When John Madden began coaching after his retirement in 2012, Tyler’s yearning to develop his hockey sense only intensified. Father and son would sit together behind the soft glow of a computer screen, watching game film. Tyler, just barely a teenager, would ask questions and point out plays that got the older Madden to think differently.

John Madden, who played 14 seasons in the NHL, used to watch and analyze game film with his son, Tyler. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images/Getty Images

“They were real conversations,” John Madden said. “He really got the game and understood what was going on out there. It was definitely unique for me. That’s when the game became real fun.

“To actually share with your son, who’s aspiring to be an NHL player and loves the game just as much as you do, it was definitely something I wish I could go back to.”