Jack Drury heard the stories of what it was like to play at Madison Square Garden. His uncle Chris Drury played for the New York Rangers during the late 2000s, while his father, Ted Drury, visited the arena as an opposing playing during his NHL career.
While an NHL career awaits Drury in the distant future, he still had the opportunity to skate on the same rink as his family while playing hockey for the Harvard Crimson. Not only did Drury get his chance as a sophomore, but he left his mark against Yale in the Rivalry on Ice, recording a hat trick and four points on January 11.
“I got to go to a couple of games and watched Chris play here. It’s a special rink,” Drury said. “It’s cool any time you get to play at MSG. It was fun last year, (in the 2018 Frozen Apple against Cornell), and obviously, Chris had some success here, so it was nice to follow that up a bit. I will reflect on it in terms of my family when I look back at this game.”
From the outset, Drury took charge of the game’s tempo, scoring goals in the first and third periods, while centering a line that played with sharp precision. Drury’s line controlled the slot in front of the crease and maintained the same focus in the defensive zone, where physical play led a rise in puck possession. The unity of the top line reverberated throughout the club.
“We have a tight-knit group, and it starts with the coaches and staff, and everyone around us,” Drury said. “This is a very close team. The support we have for each other is awesome, and it is nice to see. You look for consistency and playing the game the right way. Our forward depth is a huge strength for us.”
Before arriving at Harvard for the 2018-19 season, Drury played two years in the USHL for the Waterloo Black Hawks, recording 24 goals and 65 points as an eighteen-year-old. Impressed by his performance and demeanor, the Carolina Hurricanes took Drury in the second round of the 2018 NHL Draft, and hope that he can develop into a presence like Sebastian Aho or Andrei Svechnikov in recent years.
Due to their athletic pursuits, it is often easy to overlook the fact that education takes a presence for a college player. At a school such as Harvard, those lines are more precise since determination for admission comes down to attaining strict academic requirements. Drury, as a student-athlete, finds balance in each area and builds skills, such as leadership, that aid the team and himself off the ice.
“Jack is a sound, fundamental player,” Harvard head coach Ted Donato said. “He’s a tremendous teammate and a leader. From the day he walked on campus, he’s been asked to do a lot of things, like play against top lines. Jack is one of the most impressive and one of the most mature young student-athletes I’ve ever had to work with. He does things with such humility and class that it makes it more enjoyable when he has this kind of success.”
Drury’s success builds from having a quality work ethic and a willingness to excel at all facets of the game, including as a defensive forward. His scoring touch in front of the net is a byproduct of his intangibles. Being productive without the puck through a check or a penalty kill allows Drury to get his other linemates involved in the play and build lasting chemistry.
“I play with two great linemates, and anytime you will be out there with anyone on our team, you know you are going to be successful,” Drury said. “I think it’s good to see chemistry across our lineup happen. We try to find ways to finish games, not only offensively, but defensively.”
After recording 24 points in 32 games as a freshman, Drury is on pace to eclipse his point total during the sophomore season after just 12 games. Drury’s growth as a player since coming to Harvard originates from his work with Donato, and fitting within the confines of the system. Drury’s capability of filling various roles allows him to adapt against higher caliber talent.
“He’s dangerous offensively, but he’s the kind of guy you can match up against the other team’s top centers,” Donato said. “He fearless as far as blocking shots and a tremendous faceoff guy. I think his game is really coming along. College hockey can be difficult for anybody when they first come in, but he’s handled things quite well so far (at Harvard).”