The New York Islanders will add a few new members to the family at the 2016 NHL Draft in Buffalo.
But one potential prospect, Tage Thompson, is already is part of the family.
Thompson, son of Bridgeport Sound Tigers Head Coach and former Islanders Assistant Coach Brent Thompson, is the 20th-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. The Islanders hold the 19th overall pick. Tage Thompson also lives in Oyster Bay.
“It’s crossed my mind a couple of times,” Tage said of the possibility of being drafted by the Islanders. “If that happens, it would definitely be pretty cool. I’ve been around the organization for a few years now and I’m pretty close to some of the staff and it would definitely be a pretty cool, unique situation.”
This year’s draft features some familiar names like Matt Tkachuk and Alexander Nylander, continuing the hockey lineages of their fathers Keith and Michael. But a father-son duo in the league is rare, let alone in the same organization. One of the most recent examples was the case of the Sutter family. Brett Sutter’s brief time with the Calgary Flames was a family reunion, as his father, Darryl, was the General Manager and his uncle, Brent, was the coach.
So while it would be an exclusive club to join, Brent Thompson isn’t getting his hopes up too high.
“The thought has crossed my mind and that would obviously be very exciting and it’s kind of a neat little thing, but a challenge too,” Thompson said. “I really just hope for him that he goes to the right place to continue with his development.”
Brent has Tage in the summer at various tournaments and sees his son with a coach’s eye. He calls him a power forward with great hockey sense, great hands and a gift for scoring goals. He complimented his stride and said when his strength catches up – Tage is listed as 6-foot-5 and 185 lbs., lean by NHL standards – he’ll have a nice combination of speed and size.
Tage is asking his dad a lot of questions about what to expect from the Draft and knows to heed the advice. Brent carved out an NHL career for himself, playing 121 games in the show before getting into coaching.
“Huge,” Tage said of his father’s impact on his hockey career. “He played the game so he knows what it takes to get there. He’s been around it his whole life, so whatever insight he has tends to help me along the way. I think I have a little bit of advantage than some other kids because I know what it takes to get there and all the stuff that goes into it.”
Brent said the anticipation takes him back to his draft day. His message to his son is to enjoy all of it; the hoopla, the anxiety and most importantly, that unforgettable feeling when your name is called. He’ll be up there in the crowd waiting with him, and if the stars align, then maybe he’ll be welcoming him into the Islanders family.