Brock Krygier brings NHL pedigree to ASU hockey

Arizona State's Brock Krygier grew up in an NHL household. His father, Todd, played for three teams in his 10-year NHL career.

TEMPE, Ariz. — Sun Devil defenseman Brock Krygier brings a 190-pound presence to the blue line, previous college hockey experience at Michigan State and knowledge from his father, Todd Krygier, who played in the NHL.

Todd coached Brock while he was growing up Michigan.

"It was tough at times," Brock said. "Obviously he was hard on me and it felt like at times guys on my team would make mistakes and I would make the same mistake but I’d be punished for it and other guys wouldn’t. Looking back in hindsight I realized it was just for my benefit, it made me better in the long run."

Coaching his son had it’s own challenges for Todd. He said he might have been hard on Brock at times in order to make sure he didn’t appear to favor him.

"It’s difficult to coach your own kids," said Todd, now the head coach of the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the United States Hockey League. "I definitely was harder and if someone had to serve a penalty it was always my kid, so I probably went to the opposite extreme and was too hard on him at times."

In his 10-year NHL career, Todd played for the Hartford Whalers, Washington Capitals and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. One of Todd’s most notable moments as a pro was netting an overtime goal in game two of the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals for the Capitals, helping them reach the Stanley Cup Final that year. The Detroit Red Wings, ironically Brock’s favorite team, went on to win the Cup, beating his dad’s team in four games.

"It was definitely a little pressure," Brock said of having a father who played in the NHL. "Kids at school would ask me when they saw hockey cards like ‘Oh that’s so cool,’ like are you as good as him?"

While Brock described his dad as a "hard-nosed winger," he himself is a stay-at-home defenseman. Todd spent some time playing defense during his college years at the University of Connecticut from 1984-88, which helped him coach his son through high school and provide well-rounded hockey knowledge.

"He calls me after almost every game," Brock said. "There’s always a lot of communication and I appreciate that. Obviously playing in the NHL, and now coaching in the USHL, anything that he can give me tips-wise or strategy-wise can always help."

Todd tried to pass down as much of his experience from the NHL as possible. However, he is unsure if it gives his son much of an advantage.

"I think a lot of people think there is some mystery about professional sports," Todd said. "I tell all the guys that I coach that the game is exactly the same from the NHL all the way down to mites. The difference is the skill, the strength, the size, the speed and then the hockey IQ."

Now when they talk, Todd tries to speak to his son as more of a dad then as a hockey coach.

"My message to Brock is always to work your butt off in school, on and off the ice and make good decisions," Todd said. "He’s pretty much done that most of his life and I would expect him to continue to do it."

Todd said that one of his son’s strengths is his intelligence. Instead of taking a few years off from school to play junior hockey, which most hockey players do, Brock went right to Michigan State, where he redshirted his freshman year.

He came into college having completed advanced placement classes in high school. This gave him a head start with his credits as a human biology major at Michigan State.

He also took classes over the summer during the team’s workouts. The quick completion of credits led to his graduation in just three years. He only played two years as a Spartan, leaving him two more years of eligibility. From there, Brock chose Arizona State for both hockey and the health care master’s program at the university’s College of Health Solutions.

"It’s the science of health care delivery," Brock said. "So the business side of how the health care system works. There aren’t many of those in the country so when I saw that and had the opportunity to play hockey as well as get my education I wanted to jump right on that."

Todd and the Krygier family are very proud of their son for his accomplishments and character. Brock is the oldest of five siblings, and Todd said that he has been an excellent example for his brothers and sisters.

"We’re very proud," Todd said. "I think he cares about other people. He doesn’t just center his life on himself, so we’re real proud with the person he’s becoming and how he’s growing and then you know obviously proud of what he’s accomplishing hockey-wise. "

In regards to how much his family means to him, Brock responded with, "A whole lot, they’ve been priceless in my development as a person and as a hockey player."