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Gazette Premium Content 3 CC Tigers followed NHL fathers’ footsteps to ice

NEAL REID Updated: October 17, 2012 at 12:00 am

Many young boys all over the world grow up with the desire to emulate their fathers, and a trio of Colorado College hockey players is well on its way to doing just that.

Junior Alexander Krushelnyski, sophomore Charlie Taft and freshman Cody Bradley all have fathers who played hockey in the NHL. Now, they are under the bright lights playing big-time college hockey with dreams of one day following their fathers to the pro ranks.

Krushelnyski and Bradley were young boys when their fathers were in the waning years of their careers, and Taft was not yet born when his dad skated on NHL ice, but the players’ fathers left lasting impressions of the game with them.

“I don’t remember much about when he played, but he was coaching with the Wings in 1997 when they won the Cup,” Krushelnyski said of his father, Mike. “I do remember some of the postgame celebrations going down in the locker room and stuff like that. There are some cool memories and some things I’ve grown up with that are one of a kind.”

Mike Krushelnyski played in 897 NHL games with five teams before retiring when Alex was 5. Mike scored 569 career points while winning three Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers and won another with the Detroit Red Wings as an assistant coach.

The younger Krushelnyski has learned a lot about the game from his father through the years. He has 17 goals and 19 assists in his CC career.

“Growing up, he was teaching me the right things to do and the right plays,” Krushelnyski said. “When I was a little kid, I can remember him saying little things that now have become instinct (for me). You grow up around that lifestyle, and it’s something you become a part of and something you enjoy.”

For Bradley, his experience was similar to Krushelnyski’s. His father, Brian, scored 503 points in a 14-year career with Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and Tampa Bay and was a two-time All-Star.

Bradley’s gravitation to the game was a natural one.

“Growing up with my dad, hockey was my whole life,” said Bradley, who scored CC’s first goal in its Oct. 7 exhibition against British Columbia. “He introduced the game to me, and ever since I hit the ice, I wanted to play hockey.”

Both Tigers said they have watched film of their fathers and have picked up some tips on ways to improve their games from what they saw. Their fathers are great resources for the sons to rely on, always willing to give advice.

“He’s got something to say after every game, both good and bad,” Bradley said of his father. “It’s always good to hear from him, because he’s played the game and knows what he’s talking about. It’s great, because I can always ask him what he thinks and get some good feedback.”

CC has a long and deep connection with the NHL, with 36 players making their way to the league through the years. Taft’s father, John, was a star at Wisconsin before playing 15 games with the Red Wings during the 1978-79 season, further deepening the CC-NHL link.

The players know their fathers’ careers were unique.

“It’s not a normal story, but for me, it’s just something I’ve grown up in and is normal to me,” Krushelnyski said. “You don’t really think of him as an NHL dad, you just think of him as ‘dad.’”

Boivin named WCHA defensive player of the week

Colorado College senior defenseman Mike Boivin was named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association defensive player of the week after his two-assist performance in the Tigers’ two-game set against Clarkson last weekend. Boivin set up William Rapuzzi’s game-winner Saturday and Jeff Collett’s short-handed goal the night before, finishing with a plus-one plus-minus rating in the series. The honor is the first of Boivin’s career.

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