One of the most fascinating things about the game of hockey is the ‘Hockey Family’.
A player makes a mark in the CHL or even in the pros, then his brother, son, nephew or any other relative for that matter tries to battle up the ranks finding his own game and fighting the inevitable comparisons.
We all know the Sedins, the Sutters, the Staals, the Subbans, but there’s a new ‘hockey family’ emerging.
Highly touted New York Islander prospect Ryan Strome is making quite a name for himself and his family.
While Ryan, who was drafted by Barrie in the 2009 OHL priority selection and later traded for by Niagara of the OHL, is dominating play in an Ice Dogs jersey or with the Islanders who drafted him fifth overall in the 2011 NHL Draft, his brothers Dylan and the younger Matthew, are playing minor hockey in the Toronto Marlboros organization.
Dylan is a big playmaking center, playing in the Minor Midget age group, or more importantly known as his OHL draft year. The inevitable comparison to his older brother hasn’t stopped him from being a top rated prospect in his own right for the upcoming OHL draft in April. As comparisons go, Dylan has the ability to use his six-foot-two frame to protect the puck and drive the net, in ways that Ryan – a few inches shorter at the same age – couldn’t.
Where the comparison is valid is in their vision, hockey sense, and puck skills.
Dylan, who looks up to and models his game after San Jose centre Joe Thornton, has the ability to find his linemates anywhere in the offensive zone, and set them up for a scoring chance. His vision coupled with his heavy shot and quick release, will likely help him get drafted even higher than his older brother (8th overall), barring any ‘draft games’.
The youngest brother, Matthew – who is two years younger than Dylan, is staring with the Minor Bantam age group and still has a few years to go before his big Minor Midget year. The third centre of the family will likely have to deal with the same comparisons as Dylan has, but should also have two great mentors, one in the NHL by then and another on the cusp, to aid him through the process.
For Dylan, the next couple months will go a long way to determining where he will be selected in the upcoming OHL Draft, as he leads his team through the GTHL playoffs, then the OHL Cup. Wherever Dylan is selected in April, there’s little doubt among scouts that he and his brothers will become Ontario’s next ‘Hockey Family’.
Article by Matt Lafortune