|Long Island natives, Chris and Peter Ferraro, have been reunited to play for the Las Vegas Wranglers after being separated in 2006-07.|
They dress the same without telling each other what to wear. One hits his head, the other feels the pain.
When it comes to the Ferraro twins, there is one certainty -- they enjoy each other’s company.
It’s been 15 years since Peter and Chris Ferraro were selected in the 1992 NHL Draft, both by the New York Rangers. While their success at hockey’s highest level was modest -- they combined for 16 career goals -- the Ferraro twins continue to play the game they love. More importantly, they’re doing it together.
And they won’t have it any other way.
Despite numerous offers from American Hockey League and European clubs -- where the grass would unquestionably have been greener -- Peter and Chris opted to sign deals with the Las Vegas Wranglers in the ECHL. Not only did “Sin City” offer them a chance to play for one of the league’s annual top teams, but it also provided them a chance to reunite after being separated in 2006-07.
Last season, Peter split time between the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and the Peoria Rivermen in the AHL. While Chris also spent the majority of the season in the same league, he was in San Antonio. Sure, it was fun, but the twin brothers missed each other’s company.
They decided to fix that over the summer. Sure, they both received more-lucrative deals overseas and at the Triple-A level. But Wranglers coach Glen Gulutzan made them an offer they couldn’t refuse -- the chance to be teammates again on American soil.
In exclusive interviews with NHL.com, the Long Island natives explained why Las Vegas was the perfect fit.
“The last several years have been an up-and-down kind of roller coaster ride for us,” said Chris, who lost his wife to cancer in 2002. “Now, it’s like we’re regaining that chemistry that has excited us throughout our careers. Just being in Europe and just scrambling all over the place just to play somewhere … we’ve been on the same team from time to time, but never had the ability to just stay consistent playing with each other shift after shift. That’s what we’re getting here.”
The move has paid dividends for both parties. Chris and Peter are thriving together (Chris is 5-14-19 in 15 games; Peter is 8-9-17 in 14 contests), as the Wranglers entered Thursday morning’s home game against the Idaho Steelheads riding a nine-game winning streak. Through the first 15 games of the season, Las Vegas had reeled off 13 victories and a nine-point lead over the Stockton Thunder in the Pacific Division.
“Obviously, our team is playing very well,” Peter said. “I think right now we have the right chemistry. Our coaching staff has been very good at preparing us in all areas of the ice. We’re just creating a total team-chemistry atmosphere, which is obviously filtering into the wins we’re able to achieve.”
While winning a Kelly Cup is the main goal in 2007-08, the Ferraro brothers also have something else they’d like to achieve: They’d like to finish their careers playing alongside each other. Both have basically come to the realization that they’re days in the NHL are over, so why not stay together the rest of the way?
“Unless there was an offer that he couldn’t refuse or I couldn’t refuse … no,” Chris responded when asked if he would continue to play without his brother. “We’re not looking to part ways any time soon. Obviously, if there was a tremendous, tremendous opportunity for my brother to take advantage of, I would encourage him to fully take advantage of it, and the same for me. But at our age, the chances of that are not great. We’re just at a stage in our lives where we want to be the best we can be at any level it is. But to be together and play together is the most important thing for us.”
Peter agreed. The former first-round pick – Chris was selected by the Rangers in Round 4 -- also wanted to put to rest any worries that Wranglers’ brass or fans may have that he and/or Chris would leave for greener pastures this season.
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
“My brother and I made a commitment to the organization and Glen Gulutzan early on,” Peter said. “No matter if European teams continue to call for very good money, or if AHL teams call in the meantime, we’re not going to go anywhere. I guess that was a big concern from the start -- that we were going to take off. But my brother and I are stand-up guys and we stick by our word. They’ve been great to us, so we’re not going to put them in any danger of losing two veterans. We’ve made that commitment.
“It’s nice if we could stay together in the future as well,” Peter added. “My brother and I love to play the game. We’re very passionate and driven and love the competitive part of the game. We want to play as long as feel good and teams will give us an opportunity. It’s a great start here.”
One that truly is a family affair. Not only do Peter and Chris get to see each other and play hockey together on a daily basis, but their sister also lives in the Las Vegas area. In the end, the bonds they all share simply outweighed the benefits of playing overseas or in the AHL.
“The hockey world has just been incredible to my brother and I, giving us the ability to play together for pretty much the majority of our careers,” Peter said. “At the start of the season, we had some AHL teams that were interested in us, and some European teams that were very interested. We kind of wanted to take a step back and choose a different direction. My sister’s been out here for about five years. She owns a modeling agency out here. That gives us the ability to stay out here and be with her.”
And although the six-figure and multi-million contracts are likely in the rear-view mirror, the fire still burns for the articulate pair. Both Peter and Chris have thoroughly enjoyed the leadership roles they knew they would be attaining as soon as they signed on the dotted line with the Calgary Flames’ ECHL affiliate.
“What keeps us going is the love and passion that we have for the game,” Chris said. “We just feel that at this stage of our careers, we could be more effective as leaders and just through our experiences. It’s something that’s very rewarding for my brother and I -- to still be able to have the ability to play, but also play alongside young, hungry, motivated players that are looking to get to the next levels. It’s something we really, really enjoy.”
So much so that when their careers are over, Peter said he’d like to go behind the bench. Oh, yeah, and he’d like his brother to be standing right alongside him.
“Absolutely,” Peter said when asked if he and his brother would like to coach one day. “We’ve played together, and I’d love to coach together if that was a possibility. I think with all of our experiences and our knowledge … we’ve played every level of hockey. With any pro athlete, once your playing career is over, I think the closest fit to playing is obviously coaching. It would be an amazing opportunity if we somewhere down the line had the ability to coach together. It would be great.”
Almost as great as the bond these two obviously share.
Brian Compton can be e-mailed at: email@example.com.