HALIFAX – Former Soo Greyhound Jeremy Stevenson got to accomplish a lot in his hockey career, but his son Keegan is experiencing something he never did.
The younger Stevenson and his Guelph Storm teammates are in Halifax, waiting for the result of Wednesday’s final round-robin game between Halifax and Rouyn-Noranda, which will decide if Guelph plays in the semifinal on Friday or goes straight to Sunday’s championship game.
The Storm won two of its three preliminary matches.
The elder Stevenson never got a Memorial Cup moment of his own although he does hold an NHL record.
Jeremy played four years of junior and 15 years professionally.
During his professional career, he played for the Anaheim Ducks and was part of the team when it became the first team to beat two teams in a row each in the seventh game of the series during playoffs.
His final year of junior he was traded to a pretty good Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds squad.
“The Sault won it the year before I got there and then we lost in the league final to Detroit. We were close but not close,” Jeremy said.
After retiring from professional hockey, Stevens returned to the Sault where he and his wife (from the Sault), raised their two children.
Jeremy, mom Selena, sister Kayla and Keegan’s grandparents are all in Halifax to take in the experience.
“He’s loving it here, he keeps on coming up to me and telling me how much he enjoys watching me play in the Memorial Cup,” said Keegan, 18.
“It’s something that not every kid gets the opportunity to embrace,” Jeremy said.
“For my son and the Guelph Storm, I don’t know if they really realize how lucky they are that they are at this point.”
“They’re going to remember this 30 years from now and bump into people that were here and talk about it.”
“It’s not just about their hockey, it’s about life after hockey as well.”
Jeremy played four seasons in the OHL in Cornwall and Newmarket before wrapping it up with the Greyhounds in 1993-94. His best season was a 28-goal, 56-point campaign.
He would go on to play 207 NHL games with Nashville, Minnesota, Anaheim and Dallas. He finished playing pro in 2009.
The elder Stevenson was known more for his rough-and-tumble game and willingness to drop the mitts with anyone and everyone. YouTube has plenty of evidence.
Jeremy recorded 654 penalty minutes in his OHL career. Keegan has 14 penalty minutes and no fights in his two junior.
“One hundred per cent he’s a different player, he’s a different personality than I am,” Jeremy said with a laugh.
“My daughter got my personality and my son has pretty much has his mom’s personality. He’s more calm, collected. Kayla’s more energetic and hot-headed maybe.”
“He plays smarter than I ever did. I was always an intense guy.
Keegan, who is eligible for this June’s NHL draft, said his dad gives him solid advice about the game.
“He likes to give me his advice, he’s obviously been through the OHL and the pros, so he’ll give me advice on what to do,” Keegan said.
Jeremy said it’s a fine line and while he does give advice, he doesn’t want to try and give too much.
“I always have to say something before a game. I’ll send him a text and say ‘hey, do this,’ or ‘you did well the last game at this, so continue it.’
“He takes it pretty well. A dad talking to a son is a lot different than another person talking to your son.”
“He listens well. He’ll ask me questions. But I try to limit it so it’s not like a nagging thing. Sometimes he has to figure it out himself. In the summertime, when we’re on the ice, that’s when a lot of the teaching comes in.”
Has Keegan been giving dad the business about making it to a Memorial Cup when he didn’t?
“He hasn’t yet. But I’m sure it’s going to be brought up,” Jeremy said.
“I know some of the parents in Guelph have mentioned it, that he’s one step ahead of me now.”