Rychel blending his skill with dad's work ethic
There's a good chance power forward Kerby Rychel will hear his name called in the early rounds of the 2013 NHL Draft on June 30 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
The same could not be said for his father, Warren, who almost three decades ago sat through the entire 1985 draft at Toronto Convention Centre and failed to hear his name announced among the 252 players selected.
Many project Kerby, a 6-foot-0.75, 205-pound left wing for the Windsor Spitfires in the Ontario Hockey League, as a late first-round pick. More than anything, hearing his son's name in the early stages of the draft certainly would put Warren at ease.
"He's got way more skill than I did," Warren told the National Post. "But his work ethic, I don't think, at this age, that anybody matches it. He really wants it."
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Kerby Rychel finished with a team-leading 40 goals and 87 points in 68 games for Windsor this season (his father scored 47 goals in his entire three-season OHL career). In 2011-12, Kerby became the youngest Spitfire since Taylor Hall to score 40 goals in a season when he had 41 in 68 games.
"My father told me that there will be many challenges; there's going to be valleys and peaks and I just have to keep working hard no matter if you're on top of the world or on the bottom," Rychel told NHL.com. "You're never as bad as you think and never as good, either."
Make no mistake -- Rychel was pretty effective this season for Windsor. He's No. 17 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters, and according to Windsor coach Bob Boughner, Kerby "just flat out knows how to score goals."
"He's the type of guy who, when competing really hard, is very effective," Central Scouting's Chris Edwards told NHL.com. "When he's banging around and separating guys from the puck, that's when he's really on his game. He has a good shot and the ability to pass the puck in traffic."
Rychel was selected in the first round (No. 21) by the Barrie Colts in the 2010 OHL draft, but began his OHL career with the Mississauga St. Michaels Majors following a trade in August. Then midway through the 2010-11 season, he was dealt again, this time landing in Windsor, where his father is the team's general manager and a part-owner.
His grandfather, Stan, works in the pro shop. His grandmother prepares meals at the home of the Spitfires, WFCU Centre. Additionally, Rychel's younger brother, Maddux, usually sits next to Warren at every home game.
"There's definitely a lot of support there," Rychel said with a smile. "There's probably seven or eight members of my family watching me play every home game … it's definitely fun and exciting."
And when the game was over and it was time to head home, was dad offering a ride?
"No, no, no … I went home in a carpool with one of my buddies," he said. "I see him around the house and during dinner, but from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., I don't see him. When we are together, we talk hockey. He's a pretty intense guy and loves the game, so he's always trying to point things out to help me."
Kerby believes he has his father's work ethic, but that's about it.
"I think I'm a two-way power forward who can be used in all situations," he said. "I think the coaches have a trust in me to play in all situations. Some people will nitpick at my game since they know who my dad is. But I don't play like him. I work hard like him, but I'm not a fighter. I'm more of a goal scorer and penalty killer."
NHL Network analyst Craig Button told NHL.com, "Kerby is a power winger who gives you everything he has in the game. Never, ever will Kerby leave his team short on effort or determination."
Warren Rychel spent 13 seasons in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks. He finished with 38 goals and 1,422 penalty minutes in 406 games. Kerby has 88 goals and 221 penalty minutes in 198 games in the OHL.
He said he's looking forward to the draft.
"There is pressure [in your draft year], but playing in my hometown with my dad as GM was pressure every night, so I'm kind of used to it now," Rychel said. "So I just try to go out there, play my game and work hard."
Follow Mike G. Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL
Author: Mike G. Morreale | NHL.com Staff Writer