by Mike Peck || AHL On The Beat Archive
In a recent game in Hamilton, Terry Broadhurst and Alex Broadhurst were working the Rockford IceHogs power play deep in the Bulldogs zone. Alex swung the puck low to Terry on the right side and he found Mark McNeill in front of the net, where he buried the power-play marker.
It was a play that the IceHogs had worked on at morning skate earlier that day and one that the younger Broadhurst, Alex, was having a hard time executing. Maybe it was the brotherly intuition once the game started, but whatever it was, it marked the first time that the Broadhurst brothers got to celebrate a goal together on the ice.
The very next night in Toronto, Alex jump-started an IceHogs comeback against the Marlies late in the second period, and less than three minutes later Terry tallied to pull the Hogs even. Rockford would go on to win the contest 3-2.
Terry Broadhurst, 24, is in his second full professional season while Alex, 20, is just breaking into the pro game. Both hail from the south Chicago suburbs, about a 90-minute drive from Rockford, and for the first time are playing on the same team — and are making an impact.
"It’s been a lot of fun," said Terry. "Since the rookie tournament (in September) we’ve been playing together. It’s real exciting for our parents and friends. Now they don’t have to travel far to see the both of us.
"To us, there is a lot of work left to be done, but for them, I’m sure they can take a step back and enjoy it. They know how much we’ve sacrificed and they’ve sacrificed a whole lot more than what we have."
Growing up in Chicago, both Broadhursts followed the Blackhawks. Terry committed to play college hockey at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and a few years later, Alex had committed to play for the Mavericks as well.
But Alex was drafted by the Blackhawks in the summer of 2011, around the same time that Terry was talking to the organization about signing there as a free agent. Terry left school following his junior season in 2011-12 and Alex went to the Ontario Hockey League, ending their first chance to play together.
"I thought it would never happen," said Alex. "Terry is four years older than me so we’ve never had the chance to play on the same team. We almost got to do it in college, but he ended up signing after his junior season and I decided to go to the OHL.
"He’s been around the league for a couple of years now and whenever I have questions or problems it’s nice to have him by my side and have that support here."
The Broadhurst brothers haven’t played on the same line a lot in the early season, but have shown some good chemistry when matched up. They’re two big reasons why Rockford’s offense has gotten off to such a strong start in 2013-14.
Naturally, as the younger brother, Alex looks up to Terry, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to one-up his older sibling.
"We are very competitive, but we’ve grown up a little bit and are a little more mature," said Alex. "But if you put any kind of game in the same room with me and him, then it’s going to be a battle and a competition. It’s been good though. Everything I’ve learned in hockey has been from him, from playing one-on-one in the basement. Obviously there were fights sometimes and arguments, but it was good for our development."
As the older brother and more experienced pro, Terry tries to be as much of a teammate as an older brother to Alex. After playing three seasons of junior hockey between the USHL and OHL, this is the first time that Alex has been living completely on his own. Terry went through three seasons of college hockey and is now in his second pro campaign, so he can help Alex adjust to life of laundry and cooking.
Not that Alex and Terry want to live together during the season though.
"In the summer when we live together it gets pretty intense," said Terry. "When we first get together we are happy to see each other, but then after awhile we start wearing thin on each other. We’ve been good so far, but it’s probably only a matter of time before we get back into it like the summer.
"We thought it was good idea to split up. We still get to see each other every day at the rink though."
Life as a hockey player is rough on families, especially when they are playing far from home. There is little opportunity to see family, with the exception of a brief Christmas break and All-Star break. This is the first time that the Broadhurst brothers have been able to spend quality time with each other, other than between the summer months, in about seven years.
For Terry, he’s enjoying seeing the progress that Alex has made as a player and seeing what kind of player his brother is. But he doesn’t want to be overbearing on his teammate.
"I’ve been trying to be more of a teammate than a brother," said Terry. "I kind of let him be. He’s been playing the game long enough to know when he needs to change stuff and when he doesn’t. If I feel I need to say something then I will, but I let him figure stuff out on his own. For me, seeing how much he’s developed has been fun."
Brothers will be brothers though and when the time comes when there is, well, maybe a slight disagreement, and Alex and Terry need to figure out a way to settle things the way brothers only know how, who will have the upper hand?
Said Alex, "I’d try to attack him quick; he’s a little older and knows more than me so I’d have to hit him with a lot of energy, I guess."
"He’s got a few pounds on me, but I’m going to have to take my experience over him," said Terry. "I have that older brother thing on him. I think he’d probably disagree with me, but I think I’ll always take him when it comes down to that."