Jaret Anderson-Dolan, prospect with two mothers, could be inspiration
Spokane center may have future in NHL, be voice for LGBT communityby Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer
Center Jaret Anderson-Dolan of Spokane in the Western Hockey League is one of the most competitive players you'll find available in the 2017 NHL Draft presented by adidas.
He's also a proven leader, conscientious teammate and very clear on the things that are most important to him: family and hockey. They are traits he learned at a young age from two very important people in his life.
Anderson-Dolan and his brother, Dorian, were raised by two mothers, Fran and Nancy. Fran is Jaret's biological mother, and Nancy is Dorian's.
[RELATED: Complete NHL Draft coverage]
Jaret, 17, is proud of his upbringing and honored to stand up in the fight against homophobia in sports.
"I obviously don't know any other way of being raised, so for me it was normal," Anderson-Dolan said. "There's a couple of times where during a game or at school people may look to say something to me, but like I've said, I'm not ashamed about it. I believe it's very important that I try and make an impact in the community, as well as on the ice, and I won't shy away from doing that."
James Gilholme, whose son, Eric, has been friends with Jaret since age 5, witnessed those episodes on the ice.
"You could never tell with Jaret because he was on such an even keel," Gilholme said. "He was so balanced. I saw some of the incidents and he never got into it; maybe 'ignored' is the best word. But he never let any of that talk or those naive comments towards his family ever affect his play.
"Clearly he developed that inner strength at an early age. He was better than that, and he always rose above the nonsense whenever it was thrown his direction. I'd argue that it motivated him to reach an even higher level."
During a Spokane home game Feb. 26, Jaret decided to join the NHL's Hockey is for Everyone campaign by wrapping his stick with rainbow tape.
"The support I received that night when we taped our sticks was unbelievable," Anderson-Dolan said. "All my teammates participated so that meant a lot to my moms and meant a lot to me knowing that they all had my back."
Anderson-Dolan (5-foot-11, 190 pounds) is No. 21 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, up from No. 40 in the midterm rankings released in January.
"It's been a dream of mine to play in the NHL since I was a little kid and the draft is the first step to that," Anderson-Dolan said. "The real work starts after the draft, but it's exciting times right now. My family did the work behind the scenes; they don't get enough attention for it, but I'm very thankful.
"My goal is to be a first-round pick, but if I'm chosen later it would be an honor to just be drafted."
The first round of the draft at United Center in Chicago is Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN). Rounds 2-7 are Saturday (10 a.m. ET; NHLN, SN).
Fran and Nancy believe that while attending the draft is going to be incredibly exciting, having an opportunity to watch Jaret achieve a lifelong dream will be indescribable.
Also in attendance at the draft will be Jaret's uncle, Thomas Dolan, who is his male role model. Thomas is a life coach in Honolulu, and they keep in close contact.
"He was probably the closest thing I had to a father figure growing up, and he means the world to me," Anderson-Dolan said. "Being around him a lot and seeing the way he treats other people stands out to me."
Jaret believes he has inherited special qualities from each of his mothers.
"Fran has great leadership ability," he said. "When she played hockey, she was captain of her team. Nancy is clear on what she wants in life. That's important because people are going to treat you how you treat them."
Fran was captain of the Calgary Canadiens in the Southern Alberta Women's Hockey League and won the provincial championship, in addition to the 2008 Western Canada Shield.
"Nancy is the more holistic, natural-type person; she likes to hike and has a wonderful perspective on life," Gilholme said. "Fran was more intense and someone I would characterize as a vociferous-type of leader; Jaret is more a quiet leader and likes to lead by example. I think maybe some of that leadership quality in Jaret also comes from Nancy and her vision she provided when it came to the bigger picture in life.
"Fran and Nancy have done so much for both their sons."
Dorian, 20, attends the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology for automotive technology in Calgary, and in his spare time serves as a ski and mountain bike instructor.
Jaret, who began skating when he was 18 months old, had 76 points (39 goals, 37 assists) in 72 games in his second season for Spokane. The left-handed shot led Spokane with 14 power-play goals and ranked second with six game-winning goals.
"The one thing I always noticed about Jaret that he shares with a lot of the very highly competitive athletes I've worked with is his undying compete level," said Ross McCain, Anderson-Dolan's strength and conditioning coach at the Edge School for Athletes in Calgary. "It's just a different relationship with training. Some athletes become a little bit intimidated by how hard it is to become better. Jaret has a different mindset with that. Every day is a challenge and every day brings a sense of nerves in if he feels he's going to get better."
Gilholme said he can see Anderson-Dolan becoming a great voice for the LGBT community.
"He believes in it so much based on his upbringing with Nancy and Fran, and in my opinion has never lost sight of that and never will," Gilholme said. "I think where we are today vs. even five or 10 years ago is kind of helping clear that path for Jaret to continue to be a very strong advocate moving forward."