As a young kid growing up in America it was tough being a hockey fan. We sucked on the international stage, American players were largely considered talent-less goons, and there were only a few heroes to look up to. Yet in the vast ocean of darkness one player shined as bright as his Canadian counterparts.
His name was Keith Tkachuck the Massachusetts native played a style of hockey that appealed to me as a kid, physical with a finishing touch. The left winger played for nineteen years in the NHL. Playing over a thousand games he scored 538 goals and racked up 1,065 points. He was a big game player and a member of the original Phoenix Coyotes team. Not to mention a member of the heroic 1996 World Cup Roster.
The man is one of the greatest US born players ever and is a guaranteed Hall of Famer. As if all that wasn’t enough in his twilight the Keith has given us a new joy in the form of hist two sons Matthew and Brady.
Matt plays for the Calgary Flames and Brady for the Ottawa Senators. They are both American born and both play just like their dad.
Matt, in his third season with the flames has cemented himself in the Flames youthful core, and is a legitimate secondary scoring threat to back up Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. His game resembles that of Brad Marchand. He gets under your skin makes you take a dumb penalty, scores on the power play, then laughs in your face. The six two forward isn’t afraid of a good scrap, dancing with Brayden McNabb in his rookie year. He thrills the Flames faithful on a nightly basis and I personally can’t wait to see him pull on a team USA sweater in the near future.
Second is younger brother Brady. In his rookie season he has been a bright spot for the rebuild in Ottawa. With six goals and thirteen points in thirteen games the kid looks to be a point pergame kind of player. His six three frame allows him to go to the dirty areas of the ice and win puck battles. If his World Juniors career is any indication he is a born leader who doesn’t shy away from the big moments.
Both boys live up to their last name and are fun to watch. Hockey is a cruel sport and kids often don’t live up to their fathers, but the Tkachuck boys seem to be on a path to not only live up to but surpass their fathers legacy.
Until next time remember to keep your stick on the ice. – Johnny V.