By Don Laible and Mark Caswell, Jr. | AHL On The Beat Archive
If you think you know who or what has influenced Jordan Subban‘s hockey career the most, you may want to take a second guess.
How Jordan Subban became a professional hockey player did not happen by accident. Coaches and teammates, along with a couple of well-known brothers who are equally as fascinated with the game of hockey, are all major factors in where Jordan Subban is today – the American Hockey League.
While everyone knows about the Subban brothers, the biggest factor driving the Subban trio is not as well-known as the players themselves. That would be their father Karl.
"He’s a big character guy," said Jordan, of his dad. "As a former teacher, he goes into the rough neighborhoods of Toronto, trying to make a difference."
The rough neighborhoods in which Jordan refers to begins in the northwest end of Toronto, the area known as Jane-Finch. It is a community that has one of the largest concentrations of criminal gangs of any area in Canada. Jane-Finch also has the highest amount of low-income earners and public housing of any community in Toronto.
This is not a calling many would or have answered.
"He wants to make a difference,” explained Jordan. “That’s why he pushes us. Turning a negative into a positive is what he always wants to accomplish."
There are 20 schools in Rexdale, an informally-defined district of Toronto, and Karl Subban isn’t finished making a difference there. He has also served as an Ambassador for Hyundai Hockey Helpers, a program that offers grants to Canadian kids to cover registration and equipment fees, who otherwise would not be able to afford to play.
Along with being an educator and role model for children for 20 years, Karl squeezed in enough time to build and maintain a backyard rink for the hockey playing Subban trio. If ever there were an ultimate hockey dad award, Karl presents a strong resume.
The more you learn about Karl Subban, the more you understand where the determination to succeed that is constantly showcased by the Subban trio comes from.
In Jordan Subbans’ case, he is the youngest of the three brothers. He not only leads all Comets defensemen and rookies in goals (10), assists (23) and points (33), he is also the team’s current active leader in points and assists.
His older brothers, P.K. and Malcolm, have been a built-in support system for the rookie defenseman as he progressed to the pro game this season. P.K., the 2012-13 James Norris Trophy winner (NHL’s Best Defenseman), is a household hockey name. Malcolm, a goaltender in the Boston Bruins organization, made his NHL debut last season.
At 5’9 178-lbs. and three inches shorter than P.K., Jordan’s game differs from the popular Canadiens’ defenseman. While both possess strong offensive games, Jordan has to rely on his natural speed and position more than P.K. has to. Despite the differences in game styles, and in Malcolm’s case, position, Jordan looks at his brothers as role models. When they speak of him, Jordan offers undivided attention.
“Stay positive,” Jordan answered, when asked what the best piece of advice his brothers have given him. Obviously it is a big jump from juniors to pro hockey. It is not always going to be easy. Stick with it and come to the rink every day willing to learn and get better.”
In the Dec. 14, 2014 issue of The New Yorker Magazine, P.K. went on to give the ultimate endorsement by saying, "Jordan is going to be the best of all of us.”
In knowing Jordan Subban’s roots, and the character traits that have been instilled in him, it is tough to discount the defenseman that has his sights set on making it to the NHL for good.