AMHERST, N.Y. – Hockey bloodlines run deep at the USA Hockey Boys Select 17 Player Development Camp. On Team Red, there is Josh Doan, the son of former Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan, and Kienan Draper, the son of Detroit Red Wing great Kris Draper. Team Black’s Nicholas Chmelevski watched his brother, Sasha, help Team USA to a silver medal at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.
There are others, but two players with perhaps the most unique tie are Team White’s Jackson Nieuwendyk and Team Kelly’s Mason Langenbrunner, the sons of Joe and Jamie.
What makes their tie so unique? Not only are the fathers each Stanley Cup winners (Nieuwendyk three times and Langenbrunner two times), but twice they did it with the same teams at the same time, the Dallas Stars and the New Jersey Devils. If you take it one step further, the two were even traded at the same time in 2002 to the Devils before winning the Cup the next season.
“We actually lived together when that happened,” said Mason. “We’re like six days apart in age, so we’re super close. Obviously, since we live across the country from each other it’s hard to see him, but when I do get to see him it’s cool because we kind of grew up together.”
Jackson describes Mason and him as “buddies.”
“We did a lot of spring tournaments growing up, and I’ve known him since we were really young.”
These buddies are now chasing a unique opportunity together, following in their dads’ footsteps in another way. Both Joe and Jamie had the opportunity to represent their country on the international stage. Nieuwendyk won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2002 Winter Olympics, while Langenbrunner captained Team USA to a silver medal at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. If the younger Nieuwendyk and Langenbrunner were to get selected from this camp, they would have the chance to wear the red, white and blue at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
“I couldn’t even explain what it would be like to represent the United States,” said Mason, who refelected on his dad’s accomplishments in Vancouver. “With my dad wearing the ‘C’ in 2010 and winning the silver medal, and just within the family, and what it would be like to wear the USA across my chest, I couldn’t even explain what that would be like.”
Even though Jackson would be representing a different country than his dad, the opportunity to play for something bigger than yourself is one that he wants to take advantage of.
“He said he loved it, and it was a really cool experience for him,” he said. “He wants me to have the same experience.”
Nieuwendyk describes himself as a shifty, two-way player while Langenbrunner is a self-described puck-moving defenseman who can jump up into the play when needed. Battling for two slots on a 22-man team, neither player wants to take this opportunity for granted.
“My dad told me it’s such an honor to wear the USA across your chest,” said Mason. “There’s nothing like it.”