As the final days of winter kept its grip on the Mile High City, David and Sarah Shore were beginning a busy, yet familiar routine of shuffling back and forth between local hockey rinks, their home away from home, for as long as they care to remember.
This time, rather than toting hockey sticks and equipment bags, they were clutching tickets as they took their seats at Pepsi Center, anticipating No. 37 of the Los Angeles Kings to hit the ice. In a few days they would return to the familiar section set aside for family and guests of opposing teams and get ready to cheer on No. 22 of the Calgary Flames. And hours later they would make the short drive down the I-25 interstate to the University of Denver to watch No. 27 skate for their alma mater in the NCHC playoffs.
Different teams, different numbers, different tiers of hockey. The one constant is the name “Shore” on the back of the jerseys.
Sibling rivalries are often defined as competition between brothers and sisters. These Colorado brothers are no exception, and they have used that rivalry to drive themselves to succeed on the ice.
Drew, Nick, Quentin and Baker; four siblings, four different paths to the NHL. Two are already there; two others are working hard to join them.
The family’s inevitable second home that is the rink had humble beginnings when 3-year-old Drew got his first taste of hockey watching the Stanley Cup playoffs in the early ’90s.
“He thought that hockey looked like a really cool game,” recalls David, an attorney in Denver. “We went out, started skating and ran into one of the guys who was running the University of Denver Junior Pioneers program. He suggested that we bring Drew out to a practice, and he really enjoyed it.”
That was the start of a decades-long ripple effect that continues to run through the Shore family more than 20 years later. As Drew picked up the game, his younger brothers were soon itching to follow suit.
“I started because my older brother was playing,” says Nick, who is 21 months younger than Drew. “I always tried to follow his lead as a little kid, jumped out on the ice as much as I could. He sort of started it for all of us.”
For Mom and Dad that meant long, and often chaotic, days of getting the kids where they needed to go.
“What was always bad was the spring time because they would do hockey and lacrosse,” jokes Sarah, who is also an attorney. “Some weekends we’d have three hockey games, three lacrosse games, all in a day. It would be like literally charting it out and figuring out who was going where.”
“We had a series of smelly cars and a really bad smelling garage,” David adds.
While they may not have acknowledged it at the time, the brothers are all very appreciative of what their parents have done to get them to where they are today.
The boys have never forgotten their parents’ sacrifice of sleep, support and miles on the odometer. They served as cheerleaders rather than pushing their kids day in and day out to pursue their own dreams. And as they matured on and off the ice, the Shores used that same parental support to carve their own paths to the elite tiers of the game.
“It was nuts, I don’t know how my parents got through it, but I’m really happy they did,” Quentin recalls after an afternoon Pioneers practice.
“When I played with Nick in Peewees, we would have 5 a.m. practices at South Suburban [Ice Arena in the Denver suburb of Littleton]. My dad would be driving us, and we’d be asleep in the car, and he’d be trying to get us dressed at the same time. And, of course, we would be late.
“He knew he wanted to do it for us, and at the same time I’m sure he’d rather be sleeping.”
The eldest brother was the first to have his name called at the NHL Entry Draft, chosen 44th overall in 2009 by the Florida Panthers. His resume is the most unique, having elected to play in Canada, a bold move for a 13-year-old kid.
“I was even writing letters to my parents trying to convince them that it would be a good situation,” Drew recalls. “They were a little hesitant at first, but at the same time there wasn’t a lot of good hockey in Colorado at that time.”
From there Drew made the Detroit Honeybaked Midget minor squad before skating for the National Team Development Program. After two years in Ann Arbor, Mich., Drew felt he was more than ready to lace up for the college ranks.
“I matured a lot as a person and as a player,” the 24-year-old says. “That may have been two of my most beneficial years in my career.”
After developing with the Colorado Thunderbirds program, Nick kept the family name going at the NTDP, skating for the same teams Drew did in previous years. From there he joined his older brother with the Pioneers for two seasons from 2010-12. He would also play one year with Quentin at DU, before the Kings made Nick a third-round pick in 2011.
“Anytime you get a chance to play with one of your siblings it’s going to be really special,” Nick says. “I got the full swing of things playing with the older brother and the younger brother.”
Both Nick and Drew were called up from their clubs’ respective AHL affiliates during the 2014-15 season. The stars seemed to align as the brothers were set to face off against each other late in the season before Drew (now with the Flames via trade) was a last minute scratch.
While that division rivalry is as heated as any in the NHL, it hasn’t gotten in the way of their support for one another. The only difference was that both were fighting tooth and nail for a Stanley Cup Playoff berth.
“I’m watching all of his games hoping that he scores a couple goals and his team loses, to be honest.” Drew jokes.
Dave and Sarah haven’t missed a beat. They were present for both their sons’ first NHL games—Drew’s being in Montreal and Nick’s in LA. Despite crossing borders every now and then, it’s just another day at the rink for the Shores.
“Anytime you see your kids playing at the highest level, it’s almost surreal,” David admits. “They’ve worked really hard to get there…but it’s still a strange thing to actually see them on professional ice.”
Now that the two eldest Shores have broken the NHL barrier, Quentin is poised to follow suit.
The 21-year-old is preparing for his senior season with the Pioneers, and is a prospect in the Ottawa Senators system, chosen in the sixth round in 2013. He too kept “Shore” a familiar name on an NTDP sweater following Nick’s departure from the program, skating for the very same U17 and U18 teams that his brothers did.
The torch now gets passed to 16-year-old Baker, a product of the Colorado Thunderbirds AAA program. And, like his brothers, he kept the family tradition alive by wearing the USA crest in August with the U.S. Select Team at the Five Nations Tournament in Arosa, Switzerland.
While he has not committed to any college yet, becoming the fourth Shore to lace up for Denver would be the worst kept secret in the world. He arguably has the biggest melting pot of inspiration from his brothers, having three of them to push him to carve his own path to The Show. His three elder siblings are quick to point out that he may be the best of them all.
“We’re all pretty close so we keep up with each other every day. We all know what each other is doing, maybe even a little too much,” he says.
That sibling rivalry never takes a break. In the offseason, you can catch all four at the local golf course or at the Magnus Arena, where they keep equipment and train together on the oh-so familiar DU ice sheet. They remain the best of friends, and all in all, the Shore boys are just your average American brothers making anything and everything a competition.
“We’re all pretty competitive,” Baker says. “We always try to see who can get the upper hand, but all in good fun.”
Despite being hundreds of miles apart on any given day, that brotherly bond has never been stronger. They communicate nearly every day between practices, weight room sessions and games. Wherever they may be, the Shores know they have each other’s back and support on the ice.
“Growing up it was fun that we always had someone to play with and compete with,” Drew says. “To this day we still push each other and want the best for each other.”
As they continue to carve out their own individual careers, the greatest challenge in this ongoing sibling rivalry may be who will be the first “Shore” to have his name carved on Lord Stanley’s Cup. One thing is for sure, when it does happen it will be a family affair.
Story published on LAKings.com with the consent of USA Hockey. The story, written by Nick Salen, was originally published in the September 2015 edition of USA Hockey Magazine.