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Joey Keane Working Towards NHL Dream Alongside Younger Brother

by Connor Loucks and Fraser Weir /

Growing up in Homer Glen, Illinois, Joey Keane was one of four brothers (Thomas, Gerard and Jack) born to parents, Joe and Kim. The boys would find themselves caught up in what would be a period of unprecedented youth hockey growth in the state of Illinois, coinciding with the ascent of the Chicago Blackhawks as three-time Stanley Cup Champions.

Joey and his brothers jumped right into this movement playing their youth hockey with the Chicago Mission program. Joey would put up strong numbers for the Mission. Leading him to be drafted in the 5th round by the Barrie Colts in the 2015 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection Draft. In 2016 Joey moved to Dubuque, Iowa to play for the USHL's Fighting Saints. During his one year in Iowa - as one of the youngest players in the league - Joey notched 11 points in 55 games for the Fighting Saints.

Then came decision time, Joey had been committed to play hockey at Miami University of Ohio but for his next junior season, Joey would choose to forgo the NCAA and join the Ontario Hockey League's Barrie Colts. Joey's reasoning to follow the OHL path in his own words was "I had heard nothing but good things about the OHL and I knew it provided a more pro atmosphere and pro-style game that would better prepare me for the National Hockey League."

In his first season in the OHL he would produce 19 points (1-18-19) in 67 games as a rookie. Despite not being drafted in his first year of NHL eligibility, Joey returned to Barrie as a 19-year-old, determined to make this a blip on his radar. He would be named an assistant captain for the 2017-18 season and promptly emerged as an offensive threat with 44 points (12-32-44) in 62 games, as well as 7 points in 12 playoff games for the Colts. Joey showed great strides during the 2017-18 season.

"It was a really exciting time for the family, I was really happy my parents were really proud. Then getting the chance to play in the preseason game at Madison Square Garden, I couldn't ask for a better organization to get drafted by." Joey said of getting drafted in the 3rd round by the New York Rangers in the 2018 NHL Draft.

Never one to take his foot off the peddle, Joey returned to Barrie for a third season in 2018-19, where he was well on his way to establishing career highs before he was part of a midseason trade to the London Knights. All he's done after the trade is add an additional 10 points in 10 games since joining the Knights, opening more eyes on a talented blue line, and helping the Knights gear up for a Memorial Cup run in 2019.

Joining the London Knights has been a family reunion of sorts for the Keane's as Joey's younger brother Gerard joined the Knights in the summer of 2018 as a 16-year-old rookie. The brothers are even living together again sharing a billet house. Joey sees no better situation for his younger brother to develop in than with the tutelage of himself and fellow NHL draft picks Evan Bouchard, Alec Regula and Adam Boqvist. The brothers are supporting each other on and off the ice as Joey put it "I feel like him being a 16-year-old I can help his transition into the league as he plays alongside me and guys like Bouchard and Boqvist. He has helped my transition as well here to London just bringing a sense of familiarity and comfort."

For a player who has gone from a small village just outside of Chicago, all the way to Northern Ontario in pursuit of his hockey dreams, Joey has come farther in the last six months than just about any prospect taken in Dallas last June. Having already played in three OHL seasons, as well as nearly cracking the lineup of the U20 United States national team for the World Junior Championship, Joey (who will turn 20 this July) also went through training camp with the Rangers in 2018 and played in one NHL preseason game.

Joey Keane made a lot of noise this season. He broke out as a point per game player in London and established himself as a top prospect in the hockey world. Wherever he plays next season, one thing is for sure, no one is overlooking Joey Keane anymore.

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