by Nicole Del Villano | AHL On The Beat Archive
Chris Wideman had many highlights in his 2014-15 season, including being named the Eddie Shore Award recipient as the American Hockey League’s outstanding defenseman, and representing the Eastern Conference in the AHL All-Star Game. But one of the biggest moments came at the end of the year when his younger brother, Alex Wideman, joined him as a teammate.
On April 3, the Binghamton Senators
signed Alex to an ATO after he completed his final season with Miami (Ohio) University. The younger Wideman ended his collegiate career with career-high point run and three multi-point games.
Chris, who also attended Miami, is currently wrapping up one of his best professional season of hockey. He currently leads all AHL defensemen in points with 17 goals and 40 assists over 72 games played. Chris was also named to the AHL’s All-Star First Team and had his first professional call up to the Ottawa Senators earlier in the year.
The brothers had the chance to play together a year in college, but this time they were going to be teammates at a professional level.
“We thought if we were going to give someone a shot, why not give someone that we know that they are [from] a good family with hardworking people,” said Binghamton coach Luke Richardson
. “I think the success and drive that Chris has had some of the guys have seen in Alex’s play.”
The Wideman brothers have had the chance to feed off each other since they were younger growing up together in St. Louis, Missouri. Their natural brotherly competitiveness is something that both kept them busy and helped them on their similar paths.
“With him being a forward and me being a defenseman, I think it gave us a lot of time to work together,” said Chris.
“We always played games in the backyard whether it was football, basketball, or hockey,” added Alex. “We played against each other but we also helped each other a lot too.”
Transitioning from the college to professional level has allowed Alex to continue to grow and learn alongside his brother, but also bring his own energy into the mix.
“It’s different because they are at the end of their season,” said Alex. “In college you only play 40 games and these guys have played up in the 70s. I feel I have a little more energy in my body than the other guys.”
Switching from late afternoon practices to morning skates along with taking focus off classes and solely putting it on hockey is something Alex has adjusted to and enjoyed.
“Young guys at this time of the year bring energy. Not that the guys here get complacent, but it will wake them up that there are people here looking for jobs for next year,” said Richardson. “It keeps everyone on their toes. I think it’s nice to have some new blood in the dressing room. The guys have fun with a young guy at the end of the year.”
Alex got his chance to show what he had been learning when his professional debut came around on April 10, with an added coincidence of falling on National Siblings Day. Alex put up a plus-1 rating in his first game and will look to keep learning from his new coaches and teammates while they take some lessons from the Wideman brothers also.
“I think it’s the family togetherness which reminds you what your teammates are to you,” said Richardson. “It’s good for the players to see the closeness and remind them what they have to do in the dressing room as a team.”