GENEVA – Alex Broadhurst centered his older brother, Terry, on the Rockford IceHogs' No. 2 line last season.
Two Orland Park residents, prepped at Providence, playing for their boyhood Blackhawks' American Hockey League affiliate. Was this bliss beyond the boards or what?
Sharing shifts again at Fox Valley Ice Arena this week, the Broadhursts still brooded slightly, which is more than usual. The Blackhawks did not renew Terry Broadhurst's contract in the offseason, prompting him to sign with the rival St. Louis Blues organization.
That's hockey, Terry Broadhurst reasoned. Even so, it's the game he grew up playing without a most familiar face as he lines up at left wing.
"Yeah, it kind of bums us both out," Alex Broadhurst said. "I mean, it was cool. Last year was the first year we got to play together, so it was a lot of fun. Obviously, it kind of [stinks] not being able to play with your brother again, but, I mean, it'll be fun. We play against them a lot."
"Them" refers to the Chicago Wolves, the Blues' AHL affiliate who first visits Rockford in a preseason game at 7 p.m. Oct. 2. The Broadhursts look forward to that meeting and many others, although they're careful not to get ahead of themselves.
They can't be the Hulls or Sutters – iconic hockey families with ties to both the Blackhawks and Blues – without reaching the NHL first. As is stands, they're still just one rung away.
In his AHL debut last season, Alex Broadhurst, 21, led all Rockford rookies with 16 goals, 29 assists and 45 points in 75 games. Terry Broadhurst, 25 and a left-handed shot like his brother, wasn't far behind, contributing 16 goals and 28 assists in 73 games.
Skating alongside Cyclones Amateur Hockey Association youth players as part of a skills camp for current and prospective players here kept the Broadhursts humble in their professional pursuits. Ditto for the handful of other prospects on hand, including Finnish center Teuvo Teravainen, the Blackhawks' first round draft pick in 2012.
"Oh, absolutely," Terry Broadhurst said. "I think that that little guy's still in all of us, right? You see these guys out here having fun, scoring goals, doing the celebrations. It's no different in the pro games that we score and do the celebration. So it's cool to see the passion. I think that's the biggest comparison. These kids out here have a lot of it, so it's nice to be around."
Of course, observation is a two-way street.
"I think it's good for kids to see guys like us who aren't quite there yet, but we're still trying to fight for it. For the NHL," Alex Broadhurst said. "It's good for these kids to see us and how we act and how we do things around the rink and stuff."
Cyclones program director Pete Rutili had ties to the professional players through his involvement with Acme World Sports. The Broadhursts are set to return to Fox Valley in two weekends as part of a skills clinic.
Next weekend at Woodbine in Homer Glen, they'll co-host a golf fundraiser for their foundation, with the proceeds benefiting local charities as well as kids without the financial means to buy hockey equipment.
"Just good, local boys that are chasing it down and giving back," Rutili said.
With the move to the Blues organization, Terry Broadhurst actually will play home games closer to his south suburban base than he would as a Blackhawks prospect.
Now, though, his destination arena is St. Louis' Scottrade Center, not the Blackhawks' United Center. Strange but true. And still motivating.
"Now, you know, it's seeing the business aspect of it and understanding wherever you're playing at, that's the team you're playing for and you have to play hard for them, whether it's your hometown team or not," Terry Broadhurst said. "I think it's a good opportunity. I'm excited to be a part of it."