Family Trip

Kraken dads getting in on the road trip action

The Kraken dads have descended.

Seattle’s first family trip is underway with fathers, fathers-in-law, brothers, a childhood friend and one billet dad traveling from around the globe to accompany Kraken players and staff on a somewhat typical weekend in the NHL. The Kraken are set to host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night and travel for an afternoon game Monday against the San Jose Sharks.

Variations on the theme are popular throughout the league.

“My wife … I think she’s emailing everyone asking when the mothers’ event is,” Bob Beniers, Matty’s father, said.

Matty’s sister is also apparently ready to book a flight.

“She saw the Bruins trip and was like, ‘When’s our sibling trip?’” the Kraken center said.

For now it’s just the paternal figures and friends who get to tour the facilities, travel in style and pull the curtain back further on the lives and careers they influenced.

“It’s weird how they don’t really get to see your day-to-day life, even though they were a big part of it growing up,” center Morgan Geekie said.

It’s the first fathers’ trip for Beniers, but Darren Eberle is an old pro. He’s a veteran of at least five similar events.

“A lot of dads here coached their sons growing up, so they get a chance to see what real coaching is,” his son, Kraken winger Jordan, 32, quipped.

Bob Beniers said the big family picture never included a pro hockey career per se. Hockey was a vehicle for Matty, now 20, to go to college. Seattle drafting him second overall in 2021 out of the University of Michigan was quite the surprise.

“This is an amazing treat and he’s earned it,” Bob said. “We’re very proud of him.”

Craig Geekie – who, like the others, spent several formative years coaching his sons – echoed those statements. Morgan making it this far out of tiny Strathclair, Manitoba seemed unlikely at best. Now he’s played three seasons in the NHL and his younger brother Conor is an Arizona Coyotes prospect.

Craig said he needed a change of mentality when Morgan was about 10 and falling out of love with the sport, and he was “going to lose him as a hockey player.”

“Let them be who they are and make their own mistakes,” was his advice.

The Eberles dragged out a few coaching skeletons as well, as Jordan pointed out Darren benched him “more than any of my coaches, ever” if he wasn’t playing well.

But hey, in the end, it all worked out. This weekend is a celebration of that.

“To accomplish what he’s accomplished, it’s pretty amazing,” Craig Geekie said.

More Gourde

With Andre Burakovsky sidelined the past five games, a spot on the Kraken power play opened up. As if pesky forward, penalty killer and alternate captain Yanni Gourde didn’t wear enough hats, he’s been planting himself in front of opposing goalies with the man advantage.

“He plays in a lot of critical situations. Critical on the PK. He plays with a ton of energy, so you want to be careful with those minutes,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “But we made that decision to put him into that spot where he’s really comfortable, at net front.”

Hakstol pointed out Gourde spends time toward the end of many practices honing his hand-eye coordination and tipping dozens of pucks into the net. That net-front presence is tied to this current power-play opportunity.

Gourde scored twice in the Kraken’s 6-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers. The second one came on the power play, a blast from between the faceoff circles.

He was on the ice for teammate Justin Schultz’s power-play goal as well. He didn’t collect an assist, but was screening Philadelphia goaltender Carter Hart.

“He sent a pretty clear message that he probably should have been there long before,” Hakstol said with a chuckle.

Related Articles

Back to top button