Forward played for the Wilmette Braves, CYA and Chicago Mission; attended Loyola Academy
By Ross Forman – Jack Drury is spending the summer in the northern suburbs, training, skating and working out – he’s hoping to land on the Carolina Hurricanes’ roster in the fall after agreeing in July to a three-year entry-level contract with his 2018 draft club.
“I’m excited to get to Carolina,” said Drury, 21, a left-handed shooting forward who played two seasons at Harvard University and then this past season in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL).
In his first professional season in Sweden, Drury had 10 goals, 20 assists in 41 regular-season games and was one of three finalists for the league’s Rookie of the Year award. In post-season play, he finished second in the league with 11 points in 14 games, helping his team win the title.
He’s been training this summer with, among others, his younger brothers: Owen, Teddy, and Ryan – all of whom will play this fall for the Reapers Hockey Association, which will play its home games this season at the Mount Prospect Ice Arena (MPIA), where the Reapers Tier 1 organization will battle such foes as the Chicago Fury, Chicago Mission, Windy City Storm and Team Illinois, among others. “It’s fun to push each other,” in the gym, Drury said.
Hockey certainly is a family sport for the Drury clan of Winnetka. After all:
**Jack’s uncle, Chris, played close to 900 regular-season NHL games, with a Stanley Cup championship for Colorado in 2001. He is now the GM and president of the New York Rangers.
**Jack’s father, Ted, played eight seasons in the National Hockey League, 1993-2000, spanning 414 regular-season games, with 41 goals, 52 assists.
Drury has plenty – and he doesn’t mind.
“As a hockey player, you embrace the pressure and enjoy it,” he said. “I’m a hard-working player, good on both ends of the ice, with a high hockey sense and good scoring ability. I try to play a complete game.
“Yeah, (my name) brings a little pressure, but pressure is something I’ve always embraced. Obviously, I’ve been the beneficiary of a lot of great advice from my parents and my uncle, so I’m grateful for that.”
Drury said his entire family has been “incredibly supportive” of his hockey journey, which started at age 2 when he first skated, then on such local teams as the Wilmette Braves, Chicago Young Americans and Chicago Mission.
“People in Illinois know that AAA hockey is a grind, a lot of long car rides, a lot of long drives to games and practices, but my parents were always there supporting me. They helped me a lot with the mental aspect of the game, trusting in yourself and believing in yourself,” he said. “My dad and my uncle gave me tips on hockey here and there, but mostly helped me with the mental aspect of the game, learning how to be consistent, learning how to embrace the difficult parts of the game, what the process is to be successful; that’s something that’s probably underappreciated by most people. That mental side of the game is so valuable.
“Both of them have helped me with my offensive game, some technical skating things too, such as my stride. Nothing too much; they’ve let me figure out my game for myself.”
And yes, he does have Jan. 21, 2022 circled on his calendar: the first of four games this upcoming season between Carolina and the Rangers.
“That will be something fun. (That game) will be fun for my whole family,” Drury said.
“It’s been so cool my whole life being around the rink when my dad and my uncle were playing. I remember going to a lot of Rangers games as a kid, watching them in the playoffs when my uncle was playing.
“It will come full circle (this season), which will be a cool feeling.”
Jack is the oldest of the four brothers and he has one sister, too.
“Everyone is so supportive, and I have so much fun with them. We all push each other at the gym. It’s a lot of fun following their careers, trying to help them, and we’re all really competitive,” Drury said. “When I’m home over the summer, it’s a blast, playing street hockey, playing knee hockey, skating with them … we all motivate each other and push each other to do better.”
Drury started his hockey journey in Germany when his dad was playing there. When they returned to the U.S., he joined the Wilmette Braves for a couple seasons. He went to Loyola Academy for two years before moving to Iowa to play two seasons for the Waterloo Black Hawks in the USHL.
“It was a lot of fun being on the town team, playing alongside kids from your elementary school,” said Drury, who still sees some of his former Wilmette teammates over the summer.
What about his old Wilmette uniform?
“I don’t think I still have that one,” he said, laughing.
Drury skated his squirt major season for CYA, along with other former Wilmette teammates.
Then he moved to the Mission for five seasons.
“We had a really good team (with the Mission), really competitive with good players, a lot of like-minded guys who sacrificed a lot for hockey,” Drury said, “It was a motivated team; that’s where I really learned to push myself, to be really competitive.
“A lot of skills in my game today, I developed with the Mission, including just learning how to win, play under pressure.
“We always had good teams and were among the top teams in the country. I remember games against Honey Baked and Little Caesars. Getting to play in those high-stakes games as a kid really helped me handle pressure, especially as I got older.”
Drury’s Mission run included a journey for a national championship as a U14 (Bantam Major), but they lost in the finals in double overtime.
That same team also won the Silver Sticks Tournament in Michigan, winning in double overtime.
“Illinois hockey was a lot of fun, fond memories – and that’s what it should be,” Drury said. “You don’t always remember the wins and losses, but you definitely remember the fun moments, such as at tournaments, (the time) in hotels, etc.”
**Photos courtesy of Jack Drury**