By Jeff Johnson, The Gazette
CEDAR RAPIDS – Breda McGing has one, and only one, request for sons Hugh and Liam this weekend. Make that one demand.
She’s their mom, so she can do that.
“Don’t fight, don’t fight, don’t fight,” Hugh McGing said.
“I told them both ‘If you drop the gloves, I’m going to embarrass you by coming out on the ice and breaking it up,’” Breda McGing said.
You can only imagine what it was like for Breda and Jim McGing to be in the stands Friday night at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena to watch their boys play hockey against each other for the first time. Hugh is a forward for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, Liam a defenseman for the Muskegon Lumberjacks.
Cedar Rapids got a third-period goal from Aaron Thow for a 4-3 win.
Certainly there was a ton of pride for mom and dad McGing. This is the best junior league in America, after all.
Yet there must have been some trepidation in there, too. The teams play again Saturday night at 7:05, making this a mega-McGing weekend.
“It’s interesting because you want both of them to do well,” Breda McGing said. “But not so much against each other.”
This is the second season in the United States Hockey League for Liam McGing, 19, who played last season for his hometown Chicago Steel. Hugh McGing, 16, signed a pre-draft tender with the RoughRiders last spring and is in his first USHL season.
Because of their age difference, the boys have never played against each other or together. Liam did play against oldest brother, James, when they were on separate junior teams in the North American Hockey League in the 2012-13 season, something mom and dad witnessed.
James McGing, 21, plays club hockey at the University of Illinois.
“I don’t know how it’s going to be, to be honest,” Hugh said Thursday. “It’s going to be fun to see him because I haven’t seen him in awhile. I’ll try to dangle him, try to knock him around a little bit. We’ll see how it goes.”
“I remember Liam putting a hit on James, and I just cringed,” Jim McGing said. “It’s a strange situation when you’re sitting there in the stands and all the people around you are rooting for just one of the teams. I’ve got a hat from each team I might have to wear this weekend.”
This is an identical situation from the 2010-11 season, when brothers Jayson and Jaycob Megna (now both playing professional hockey) opposed each other. Jayson Megna was a forward for the RoughRiders, Jaycob a defenseman for Muskegon.
They also were from Chicago. What a coincidence.
Jim and Breda McGing, by the way, will support all of their sons this weekend, watching Cedar Rapids and Mukegon play twice, then heading to Champaign, Ill., for one of James’ games. They feel fortunate being within a relatively short drive from the three of them.
“I haven’t talked to Liam about it at all,” Hugh said. “He played against my oldest brother before, so he knows what it’s like. I don’t. They both said they would make jokes to each other on the ice, but, other than that, it was pretty normal.”
Remember, guys, normal does not mean fighting. Unless you want mom to come down to the ice and wring your respective necks.