By Rich Davidson, a freelance hockey writer covering the Guelph Storm this season. Follow Rich’s work at www.rdsportswriter.com
These days, the number of real, bona fide hockey families out there are few and far in between. You have the Sedins, the Koivus, and of course you have the Staal brothers (Eric, Jordan, Marc and Jared) but this is not the norm in pro hockey.
Blood, sweat, tears, and endless hours at the rink aside, it’s hard enough for ONE person to make the NHL. And for many, it’s a dream that will never come to fruition. Facing fierce competition in North America as well as in Europe, the odds of two or three brothers or even cousins making it are slim to none.
But the McGinn boys from Fergus, Ontario certainly fit that profile.
Brock McGinn, arguably the Guelph Storm’s most offensively talented forward, was a second round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the same draft that also saw Storm captain Matt Finn and gifted playmaker Tanner Richard also find new homes with NHL clubs.
Brock’s oldest brother Jamie, 24, was drafted in the second round by the San Jose Sharks in 2006 and now laces up his skates for the Colorado Avalanche after being traded to the Avalanche at last season’s NHL trade deadline.
Not to be outdone, Tye McGinn, 22, was a fourth round draft pick of the rough and tumble Philadelphia Flyers in 2010 after spending the majority of his junior hockey career playing for Gatineau in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Tye was able to crack the Flyers lineup out of training camp this season, and made his NHL debut this past January.
Three brothers, three left wingers, three great hockey players.
“It was great growing up in a hockey family,” Brock says. “My brothers and I grew up playing all winter long on the backyard rink that our parents built for us every year in Fergus. Our parents definitely did a lot for us.”
Fergus Ontario, for those who don’t know, is a small, tight-knit community 25 km north of Guelph that has a booming population of about 20,000. While it maybe didn’t offer the most modern recreational activities for teenage boys, it did provide some great minor hockey.
“Yep, it’s a small town,” he says of his home town. “We didn’t really have any movie theatres or malls growing up. We’d have to travel to Guelph for that stuff. But it’s a great hockey town.”
“And we did get a Walmart up there this past summer, that was a big deal,” McGinn says laughing.
In Fergus, Brock played his minor hockey for the aptly named Fergus Highlanders.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t get to ever play with my brothers because of the age gap between us,” he says about his minor hockey days. “But it didn’t take away anything from the experience. We were always around to hang out and support each other.”
In the not too distant future, the small town kid from Fergus will likely find himself swept away to the unknown land of Charlotte, North Carolina, where the Carolina Hurricanes house their developmental team in the American Hockey League.
“I still have another year or two of OHL eligibility,” McGinn says. “So we’ll see what happens. Right now my only concern is doing my part to help this team win here in Guelph. I think we have it in us to deliver a long playoff run if we come together and do all the little things it takes to win big at this level.”
“But I’m definitely looking forward to making the jump to the next level one day in the not too distant future and doing what it takes to succeed there.”
In the off-season, McGinn makes sure to make the most of the little free time he has to get together with his older brothers.
“Jamie just bought a cottage on the lake this past summer, so we got together and spent some time there in the off-season. I think we’ll be going back there this coming summer.”
While buying a cottage of his own may very well be on Brock’s radar down the line, he first has to take care of some unfinished business in Guelph.
Namely, bringing a Memorial Cup to town.
“Anything is possible,” McGinn says. “We are in a tough division, and an even tougher conference, but if we come together the way I think we can I think we’re capable of delivering great things.”
Music to the ears of loyal Storm fans dreaming of this team bringing a championship to their city of Guelph.
Storm Stories is a Guelph Storm original weekly feature for the 2012-13 season spotlighting current Storm Players and giving readers a behind-the-scenes look at the player’s lives on and off the ice.
Rich Davidson is a freelance hockey writer covering the Guelph Storm this season. Follow Rich’s work at: