Canes pick Jack Drury trying to live up to a famous hockey name while still making one for himself

Harvard-bound center Jack Drury was the Carolina Hurricanes' second-round pick Saturday.
Harvard-bound center Jack Drury was the Carolina Hurricanes' second-round pick Saturday.

The only thing Jack Drury can do about his name is live up to it. And that's not easy to do.

In an NHL draft where yet another second-generation Sutter was picked, the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday picked a second-generation player from a different family with its own reputation.

Asked how he got into hockey growing up on Chicago's North Shore, Jack said modestly: “Well, my dad played.”

His father, Ted, starred at Harvard — with Tripp Tracy and Jason Karmanos, among others — and played 414 games in the NHL, including 40 for the Hartford Whalers. His Uncle Chris won the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche and later co-captained the Buffalo Sabres. It's a name that in the NHL carries with it connotations of hockey sense, hard work and, most of all, leadership.

Where Jack grew up, the Drury name didn't have quite the same cachet as it might in Connecticut or Massachusetts, and to the same extent that he carried it with him, he had to make his own name as well.

“That's something he's figured out on his own,” Ted Drury said. “It's a man's league, and you aren't going to do anything on reputation or family. You've got to create your own path. He knows the success that's going to come from him working hard.”

New York Islanders' Ted Drury, left, uses his stick on Stephane Quintal (5) of the New York Rangers as they go after a loose puck during the first period on Nov. 3, 1999, at Madison Square Garden in New York. Ron Frehm AP File Photo

Nevertheless, Jack has been the captain of most of the teams he has played on, including a much older group of teammates with Waterloo in the United States Hockey League last season, and it would be a shock if he didn't someday follow in his father's footsteps and captain the Crimson. He's headed to Harvard in the fall.

His athletic genes come from both sides of the family; his mother, Liz, is the most decorated women's lacrosse player in Harvard history, a national player of the year as a senior and one of the better athletes in the school's history.

If there are questions about Drury, why he slipped to 42nd overall and the second round, it's his size: At 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, he's going to have to bring a little more to the table. The Hurricanes believe he does.

“There's some hockey in this kid,” Hurricanes chief scout Tony MacDonald said. “He's a natural leader. He's been in a leadership role in some of the teams that he's been with and he's the kind of a player, it's going to be a couple of years anyway before he's ready to play in the NHL, but we think he's on a good track. Physically, he needs to get a little bigger and stronger, but he knows how to train, how to prepare.”

The Hurricanes had offers for the pick and were considering trading it, but a groundswell of support for Drury at the draft table because he's the kind of person they want in their organization quashed those thoughts.

In the frenzy of draft weekend, Drury's selection kind of got lost in the shuffle, amid the hype surrounding Andrei Svechnikov and the glee over landing defensive prospect Adam Fox in the Elias Lindholm-Noah Hanifin trade with the Calgary Flames.

His path to the NHL is likely longer than both of theirs, but he's a Drury. He may have been born with that name, but so far, he's also trying to earn it.

“I want to create something of my own,” Drury said. “I don't want to be known as Ted Drury's son or Chris Drury's nephew. I want to be known as Jack Drury.”

Sports columnist Luke DeCock: 919-829-8947,, @LukeDeCock

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