|Justin Bourne and Jordan Hart |
One (Bob Bourne) was known for his speed and skill, while the other (Gerry Hart) was known for his steadiness at the blueline. It's no surprise that each of their sons – Justin Bourne and Jordan Hart – have developed into players, similar to their fathers.
At first, the two try not compare themselves to their fathers, but they find it hard to deny it.
"I play a similar game to my father," said Hart. "I'm a stay-at-home defenseman, who likes to keep it simple. However, my dad always told me that if he were my size, he would still be playing in the NHL."
"I'd consider myself a skilled guy," said Bourne. "I'm an offensive player who is also responsible defensively. People have said I have deceptive speed and am sneaky."
At 6-2, 200 pounds, Jordan has the size to be a menacing force in front of his own net. Jordan spent two-and-a-half seasons playing at Merrimack College, which competes in one of the most competitive conferences in the NCAA – Hockey East.
Each weekend Hart and his fellow Warriors would take on powerhouse schools such as Boston University, Maine and New Hampshire. The competition was as much as they could handle, as the Warriors only garnered 14 wins in the three seasons Hart spent at Merrimack.
"Every day was a battle," said Hart. "It was tough to be at Merrimack playing against teams like BC and Maine. You took the good with the bad. It wasn't just a battle in hockey, but in life."
After two-and-a-half seasons with Merrimack, Hart decided to forego his final year-and-a-half at college, joining Kalamazoo of the UHL.
|Jordan Hart, Photo Courtesy of Merrimack College |
"It was a rocky two-and-a-half years at Merrimack," said Hart, "but I know it will always be a home for me, should I decide to return. At Merrimack I matured as a player and in life."
A native of Huntington, Long Island, Jordan was born after Gerry's playing days were over, but turned to videos to watch his father. A die-hard Islanders since he can remember, Hart names the 1993 series against the Penguins as his favorite Islanders memory.
"I remember David Volek's goal in Game 7 very well," recalled Hart. "My dad used to take me down to the rink and meet the players. During my visits, I became pretty good friends with Steve Webb."
Meanwhile, across the continent another Islanders descendant started his life just a few months prior to Jordan. Justin Bourne spent his youth in Kelowna, British Columbia. Justin's father Bob, who was a member of all four Islanders Stanley Cups elected to move to Kelowna following his playing days.
"My mother has family up in Kelowna, so they had seen it before," said Justin. "After visiting, you can understand why people fall in love with it. It's absolutely gorgeous up there."
Like Jordan, Justin decided to go the college hockey route and landed a spot on the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves, who had finished 1-28-7 the previous season.
"I decided to go to college to play hockey because my education was also very important," said Bourne. "Alaska gave me a good scholarship and they were also in a very tough WCHA conference. When I signed my letter of intent, they were 1-1. Who knew they would lose out the rest of the season?
The team made a complete turnaround Bourne's freshman year. They finished the 2003-04 season 14-23-3, which was the highest win total since they picked up 15 in 1999-00.
"There is a lot of turnover at Alaska because it's difficult to live there," said Bourne. "The team's success hinges on the freshman class, and our year we had a deep group. As I got older, we got more competitive. It's tough to recruit considering the location."
|Justin Bourne, Photo Courtesy of Seawolves |
After completing his fourth season with the Seawolves in 2007, Bourne joined the Alaska Aces of the ECHL for the final nine games of the season.
Hart and Bourne coincidentally played each other at the start of the 2006-07 season, when Merrimack paid a visit to Alaska on October 13.
"Justin and I have known each other through our hockey careers," said Hart. "We've been keeping in touch recently, especially since we know we'll both be at the Islanders camp."
Both Hart and Bourne will be taking part in their first Islanders prospect camps, with the hopes of joining the organization for the long term.
"My goal at the camp is to enjoy it," said Bourne. "I'm old enough that I won't be nervous. If I'm good enough, then that's great, if not, life will go on. However, it will be a thrill just to pull on that Islanders jersey."
"This is an opportunity to get a foot in the door." said Hart. "I'm hoping to get a good look. If I can show I can play, I'm hoping to become a part of the organization. It would be a dream come true."Check back later for more from the Islanders Prospect Camp at Iceworks.