Runs In The Family

Despite His Puck Pedigree, Jack Drury Looking To Make His Own Mark In Hockey

Jack Drury listened intently to the stories about his father and uncle representing USA Hockey at the highest levels during their distinguished careers. 

So, when he stepped onto the ice for the prestigious Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup in the Czech Republic and Slovakia last summer, the second-year forward for the United States Hockey League's Waterloo Black Hawks could completely relate. 

Jack Drury's father, Ted, and his uncle, Chris, each skated for USA Hockey in the World Junior Championships, Olympic Games and World Championships. They also excelled at the NCAA Division I level before reaching the NHL. 

"Growing up, they always said the greatest honor you can have as a hockey player is to represent your country," said Drury, who tallied two goals and five points in four games at the Hlinka Tournament, the first major scouting opportunity for 2018 NHL Draft-eligible prospects. 

"When I got to go over there, represent my country and wear that sweater with USA on the front, it was something I know I'll never forget."

At the age of 17, Drury has added to the family's impressive collection of red, white and blue jerseys. He has already earned a roster spot for the Five Nations Tournament, the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game and the World Junior A Challenge. 

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound center from Winnetka, Ill., earned a place on NHL Central Scouting's Players to Watch List in November and will compete in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 9 in Kearney, Neb. 

Central Scouting listed him as a B-rated prospect, meaning he could go as high as the middle rounds of the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas.

"Regardless of what your bloodlines are, you have to make your own mark," said his father, who played more than 400 NHL games with six teams. 

"You're going to be judged on your own ability at some point. For us as parents, with Jack and his [four younger] siblings, our only focus was seeing if the kids were having fun while playing and if they were improving. The rest of it was just kind of noise."

Years in the game have given the Drury boys a unique perspective that may be lost on some star-struck families who tie their worth to their son or daughter's on-ice exploits. It's a lesson taught to them by their parents, John and Marcia, in their Trumbull, Conn., home.

"Whether it's his mom or me or his uncle, we certainly don't look at Jack only as a hockey player. He's a great son and a great big brother, and we're very proud of him," Ted said. "Hockey happens to be something he loves and is passionate about, but it certainly doesn't define him as a person."

The younger Drury didn't feel the weight of his last name during the formative years of his career. His father and uncle encouraged him to go out and play and, most importantly, have fun.

"They're both such proponents of the American Development Model, so, when I was younger, they really emphasized half-ice, small-area stuff and they really worked that with me," Jack said. "I thought that was a great way to learn the game and develop when I was younger. As I got older, they really helped me with the little details of the game ... teaching me that you have to put in the work if you want to be good."

After playing in the Chicago Mission youth program, Drury became a second-round selection of Waterloo in the 2016 USHL Futures Draft. He tallied four goals and 12 games as a 16-year-old rookie last season and surpassed that point total in the first quarter of this year's campaign.

"The USHL is a phenomenal league, and it prepares you not only for college but also for down the road and the NHL," Drury said. "Everything is handled so professionally, and that has been super helpful for me as a young guy to learn how to be a pro. All of the resources available to me here have helped me grow so much as a player and as a person."

Black Hawks head coach P.K. O'Handley loves his player's pedigree, as a human being first and hockey player second.   

"Jack's a blue-chip person, through and through, who just oozes character," O'Handley said. "He's a wonderful athlete, which is the case most of the time in our sport, but I think he's an even better person.

"He's our hardest-working guy in everything we do. There isn't anything we ask of him that he considers beneath him or that he's above doing. There's just a lot of substance to who he is as a hockey player and who he is as a person. That's a special thing for a young man."

That played a key role when Drury decided where he would play his college hockey next season. He will follow in the footsteps of his father to Harvard University, primarily because he believed the Crimson offered the most complete package for his overall growth. 

"I take a lot of pride in my education, just like I take a lot of pride in my hockey, and I thought Harvard offered the best opportunity for me to develop both on the ice and as a person outside of hockey," he said. "The resources they have there are just phenomenal."

Drury realizes he still has a lot of work ahead of him to achieve his short-term and long-term hockey goals. So, he hasn't gotten caught up in the possibly of hearing the Drury surname called this summer in Dallas.

"Obviously, it pops in your head every once in a while," he said. "I just try to focus on the day-to-day and stick to my process, and let that stuff sort itself out." 

 

 

 

Issue: 
2018-01

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