For Jordan Stevenson, being a second-generation Weyburn Red Wings star is both a blessing and a curse.
On one hand, the New Sarepta, Alberta product meets a lot of people who fondly remember his father Doug from his four seasons with Weyburn during the 1970s.
On the other hand, many of those same people get on Jordan’s case because he isn’t just like dear old Dad, one of the most tenacious checkers in Red Wings history.
“People tell me I’m a little more skilled, but lazier,” Jordan says with a chuckle. “I get that quite a bit – if only I worked as hard as my dad, that sort of thing.”
Just like his father before him, Jordan patrols the right wing. But that’s where the similarities end, according to Red Wings coach Dwight McMillan. The veteran bench boss should know, because he was behind the bench when Doug Stevenson was a Red Wings rookie – in 1973.
“I’ve coached quite a few fathers and their sons, and I guess that tells you I’ve been here too long,” chuckles McMillan, who stands second behind Brian Kilrea of the Ottawa 67’s on junior hockey’s all-time wins list. “(Doug) was one of the best corner men I ever had play for me. He’d go in the corner and come out with the puck. Jordan is more of a stick-handling type of hockey player, an offensive type.”
If McMillan could combine the grittiness of the Stevenson father with the slick puck skills of the Stevenson son, he’d have the perfect hockey player.
“If you get a guy like Doug Stevenson, you wish he’d have a little more offense in him, and you get a guy that’s real offensive, you wish he’d have a little more checking in him,” McMillan says. “The only guy that I really know who could do both well was Gordie Howe. There aren’t many of them.”
His father’s legacy is a lot to live up to, but Jordan is pretty good at handling the unsolicited critiques of his game from the Weyburn hockey faithful – partially because he knows they contain some truth.
“(Dad) kind of says that same thing – I just get floating sometimes, going through the motions,” Jordan says. “I kind of know that, so I don’t take it too hard.”
Following in his father’s footsteps might come with a bit of extra scrutiny, but Jordan is making it look easy. In his second year with the Red Wings, he finished second on the team with 18 regular-season goals. On a Weyburn team that has trouble scoring, his offensive production is key, and he’s off to a good start at the Royal Bank Cup. He scored Weyburn’s lone goal in their opening-game loss to the Portage Terriers, and his tenacious forechecking led to the winning goal in the Red Wings’ 4-3 victory over the Georgetown Raiders.
“I was proud of him,” Doug said following the Georgetown game, which he watched from the stands. “On that fourth goal, he went deep and got the puck out, which is something I get on him for sometimes.”
Jordan says it’s “pretty cool” to be pulling on the same jersey as his dad did 30 years ago, but he says Doug enjoys it even more than he does.
“I think he likes it quite a bit,” Jordan says. “All his buddies come out when he’s down here, and he gets to watch the game and see them at the same time.”
As for McMillan, he doesn’t mind coaching former players’ kids, even if it makes him feel old.
“They’ve all got their own personality,” he says. “But usually, it’s like racehorses – they’ve got that competitive blood in them, and that’s what counts.”