What’s it like to grow up with an NHL dad? 4 Beanpot hockey stars share their stories.

Each of the four teams in the 2020 Beanpot has a player with an NHL dad cheering him on.

John Madden (right) celebrates his first Stanley Cup with his son Tyler. Tyler, now a Northeastern sophomore, is taking the Madden name into his own hands.
John Madden (right) celebrates his first Stanley Cup with his son Tyler. Tyler, now a Northeastern sophomore, is taking the Madden name into his own hands. –Courtesy of John Madden

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 to understand what was going on. But he definitely remembers the third, after the family moved to Chicago, in 2010. 

Now a Hobey Baker Award candidate, the Northeastern sophomore is reigniting the Madden name. 

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 begins Monday, pitting Northeastern, Harvard, Boston College, and Boston University against each other for bragging rights and a trophy. To long-time hockey fans, Madden won’t be the only familiar name. 

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The sons of former NHL stars Ted Drury (Jack), George McPhee (Graham), and Frederic Chabot (Gabe) will also play Monday, in what is just another step to upholding their family legacies – and starting to develop 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 lace up their skates on nationally-ranked teams in a hockey-crazed town – and how rare it is that they could get to keep going. 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 now, Jack Drury can look anywhere, really, to see his own last name. Before his father Ted played in the NHL, he was a two-time Olympian and Hobey Baker Award finalist. 

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

In a childhood photo, Jack Drury (right) poses with his father Ted in their driveway. —The Drury Family
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“As long as you can remember, you’re in a locker room surrounded by the guys,” Jack Drury said after practice, seated in section 20 at Bright-Landry, 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.

“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.” 

Harvard coach Ted Donato knows the Drury family well, which was a selling point for Jack when he ultimately chose to attend the same school as his parents. Donato played alongside Ted Drury at Harvard.

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“There’s integrity in their game,” Donato said of the Drurys. “There’s no shortcuts. It’s about doing things right, hard work, and doing what the team needs. [Ted Drury] was very, very talented, but also an incredible teammate with his work ethic and how he took care of himself off the ice.

Jack Drury (18) looks to pass the puck in a game against St. Lawrence this season. —Harvard Athletics

“[Jack] is a fundamentally sound player, and a great teammate, who does all the unselfish things that coaches appreciate, and teammates appreciate.” 

Of course, Ted is proud of his son, who is starting to take the Drury name international once more after playing for two years on the USA’s World Juniors team. But even after a professional career that toured the globe, some of his own favorite hockey memories took place on the Green Line, or on TD Garden ice, and he’s excited for his son to create his own when the Beanpot begins Monday. 

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.

“I always tell people that aren’t from Boston, the Beanpot isn’t just on the front page of the sports section,” Ted Drury said. “It’s on the front page of the paper. It’s so many great, great memories that I look back on fondly.” 

Graham and George McPhee

When Alex Ovechkin came to the United States, he was 18 years old. He barely spoke English. But he found a friend – a younger brother, of sorts – in Boston College’s Graham McPhee, whose father George was then the general manager of the Washington Capitals. 

“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 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.

Graham McPhee carries the puck up the boards in an earlier season game. —John Quackenbos / Boston College Athletics

After a seven-year NHL career, McPhee turned to management. Before his tenure with the Capitals, he was vice president and director of hockey operations for the Vancouver Canucks. After a brief stint with the Islanders, McPhee was hired to be the general manager of the Vegas Golden Knights, and was honored as the 2017-18 NHL General Manager of the Year.

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 not thinking about it now. He’s focused on the Beanpot, finishing the regular season, and the ultimate goal – a national championship.

This mindset – “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 Boston University 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.” 

“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 five,” Frederic Chabot said. “Being in that kind of environment and culture probably did help him along the way.

Though Frederic was a goaltender and Gabe is a forward, professional experience did pass down from father to son – on and off the ice.

Gabe Chabot (10) chases the puck earlier this season. —Matt Woolverton / BU Athletics

“It became more about the fact that he was a goalie, and could help me score against goalies and create different shooting options,” Gabe Chabot said. “He was very helpful for that, and just coaching me in terms of how to be a good hockey player and a good locker room guy, how to act around the rink and away from the rink.” 

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 in 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 the age of 10, he was starting to understand what exactly 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. 

John Madden won the Stanley Cup three times – twice with New Jersey Devils (2000, 2003) and with the Blackhawks in 2010. His NHL career spanned from 1997-2012 after he starred at Michigan, where he won a national championship and set an NCAA record for most career shorthanded goals (23). 

(Clockwise) John Madden celebrates his third Stanley Cup with wife Lauren, son Tyler, and daughter Reese in 2010. —Courtesy John Madden

“When I didn’t have school, or when I’d get out early, my dad would take me to the rink,” Tyler remembered. “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.” 

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.

“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.” 

John Madden won the Selke trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward in 2001, and finished second in voting three other seasons. Tyler has often been praised for his two-way play, and his hockey sense. 

“His defensive awareness is something that he passed on to me,” Tyler Madden said. “Obviously when I’d go watch the game, I’m going to watch my favorite player, which was my dad. I modeled my game after him.” 

Tyler Madden during an earlier season game for Northeastern —Northeastern Athletics

Tyler is comfortable in recognizing his father’s accomplishments, but not burying himself beneath them. The Canucks’ 2018 third-round pick is ready to be the next man up.

“My dad was a great hockey player, but I like to be my own person,” he said. “It’s good to be attached to somebody like that, who was so good at the game and did so well throughout so many years. But it’s my turn to step in and take over the Madden name.” 

With the Canucks keeping tabs on Tyler, the Maddens will reevaluate his options together – as a family – at the end of every season. John Madden has the knowledge to lead his son swiftly through the decisions he’s making without a second thought. But he chooses not to, forgoing his role as NHL veteran and professional coach to focus on one more important – taking in every moment as a father.

“[Tyler] being drafted was something super special to me,” said the elder Madden, who was undrafted himself. “I was sitting beside him at the draft, just as nervous as he was to see where he would go. I felt like a little kid, like I was at the draft myself, even though it was him.

“It’s a special moment for any family. The kids have dreams, and you want them to fulfill those dreams.” 

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