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Fourth generation of Hextalls on the way?

by John Kreiser

Former Flyers goalie and current Kings assistant G.M Ron Hextall was able to see his son Brett's name get called as a sixth-round draft pick by Phoenix. If Brett makes it to the NHL, the Hextalls will be the league's first four-generation family.
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Ron Hextall is an NHL son and grandson. He may have the chance to be an NHL dad, too.

The former Philadelphia goaltender, son of Bryan Hextall Jr., grandson of Bryan Sr. (and nephew of Dennis), may get the chance to become part of the NHL's first four-generation family after the Phoenix Coyotes selected his son, Brett, Saturday in the sixth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

Brett Hextall, at 5-foot-10 and 176 pounds, is a lot smaller than his dad, who is 6-foot-3. But, he was taken by the Coyotes after scoring 24 goals and 72 points this season for Penticton in the British Columbia Hockey League.

The NHL will be on hold for a while as Brett has committed to the University of North Dakota and will play there this fall.

One good omen for Brett Hextall: His father had a long and successful NHL career despite also being selected in the sixth round (No. 119 overall, 40 places higher than his son) in the 1982 Entry Draft. Ron Hextall played three years of major juniors and two more in the minors before making it to the NHL in 1986.

Now the assistant general manager for the Los Angeles Kings, Ron was on the draft floor when his son's name was called Saturday.

"It was exciting," he said. "I wasn't sure if he would go or not. We had heard from a few teams. He's excited."

Brett was born in Philadelphia in 1988, less than a year after his dad won the Conn Smythe Trophy as Stanley Cup Playoff MVP in the Flyers' seven-game loss to Edmonton.

Coyotes general manager Don Maloney, who made the pick, said the combativeness of Brett’s father has been passed down to the son.

"His son and my son are the same age, and I saw him when he was 15, 16 years old back at Cushing Academy," Maloney said. "I remember him because he always played mean and ignorant at 14, 15 – he was one of those guys you just hated. He always had that Flyer mentality from the 70s; he'd spear a guy or hack a guy in the back of the leg."

When told that his son played just like he did, Ron Hextall laughed and joked, "I blame it on his mother."

But the proud father also knows that while a fourth generation of Hextalls in the NHL is now possible, it's no sure thing.

"That would be pretty cool," Ron said of having another generation of Hextalls in the League. "But he's still got a long way to go. To get drafted is one thing; to make it (in the NHL) is another. He's going to North Dakota and we'll see how he progresses."

Maloney also says Brett has a ways to go before he can think about suiting up for the Coyotes.

"I saw him in Penticton this year," said Maloney, whose New York Rangers had some epic battles with the Flyers in the late 1980s. "He's going to North Dakota. His skating has to get better."

But Maloney also feels Hextall can't change his style of play if he wants to make it in the NHL.

"He plays the game the way he has to play to have a chance," he said. "I think that will give him the best chance possible (at an NHL career)."


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