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Rolling Rock - A Unique State of Beer

LCS Hockey

  Silver Spoons Forever
by Michael Dell, Editor-in-Chief

Every person's life has a defining moment for which they are remembered above all else. For some this happens in high school with the crown of Home Coming Queen or the title of football hero. I always thought it would be pretty terrible to peak in high school; to be through at 18. That's why I'm pacing myself. At my current rate of progress, I should be a somebody by the time I'm 63. Let's hope.

Probably the only thing worse than having all of life's glory in high school is reaching such status at a younger age. Do something memorable as a kid and you're pegged for life. For instance, take child actors. Think Emmanuelle Lewis is ever going to shake the Webster label? Yeah, good luck. Or how about Urkel? That kid might as well close the garage door and start the car. It's over.

But there are a few exceptions to the rule. Every so often someone will come along with the ability to reinvent themselves, allowing them to excel and achieve fame on separate occasions for uniquely different tasks.

The year was 1982. A 12-year-old teen heartthrob by the name of Ricky Schroder burst upon the scene with a starring role in the NBC sitcom "Silver Spoons." Schroder portrayed Ricky Stratton, a rich kid that lived with his dad in an enormous mansion that featured, among other things, full-sized arcade games and a miniature locomotive capable of transporting people all through the house.

Ricky Schroder
Ricky Schroder

It wasn't long before the blond-haired, blue-eyed Schroder became a fixture in teen magazines and a hot topic among junior high school girls. All the attention was fine when he was 12, but trying to shed his Ricky Schroder, teen icon, persona proved to be quite painful once "Silver Spoons" finished its run in 1987.

It would have been easy for Schroder to pack it in and live off his past glory while settling into the life of an everyman. But he strived for more. He dropped the "y" from his first name and began pursuing harder, more dramatic roles. The transformation was completed this fall when he made his triumphant debut on ABC's "NYPD Blue."

No longer riding around his living room on a train, Ricky, excuse me, Rick Schroder now gets to bust heads on the mean streets of New York as detective Danny Sorenson. Jimmy Smits who? Schroder does such an excellent job that it's almost impossible to imagine anyone else as the partner of Andy Sipowicz. It's amazing, really. His past is buried. His future bright.

But Schroder is not alone in his staggering accomplishment. There's a young man in Denver, Colorado, looking to follow in his footsteps.

In 1989, two years after "Silver Spoons" died, little Chris Drury helped lead his team from Trumball, Connecticut, to the Little League World Series championship. Drury was the winning pitcher in the deciding game and will forever be immortalized in the minds of those who, you know, actually give a rat's ass about little league baseball. I'm not sure who that is exactly, but I'm sure they exist.

Reaching such lofty heights at a tender age could stunt one's personal growth. Drury could have easily rested on his laurels and the years would have passed with a blur. One day he's striking out some kid from Taiwan, the next he's a 47-year-old bag boy at the local supermarket that likes to go to bars alone and tell whoever will listen about the time he, well, struck out some kid from Taiwan.

But Drury wasn't satisfied polishing his own "Silver Spoons." He wanted more than a momentary train ride through the living room of life. He wanted to be a hockey player.

While Drury's interest in baseball faded in high school, his love of hockey grew. With his older brother Ted, who currently plays for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, acting as a role model, Chris applied himself to the game on frozen pond and was rewarded with a four-year scholarship to Boston University for his efforts. He also caught the eye of the Colorado Avalanche, who drafted him in the third round of the 1994 Entry Draft right out of high school.

Drury thrived at BU, leading the Terriers to an NCAA title, finishing as the school's all-time leading scorer (116 points), and winning the Hobey Baker Trophy in his senior year. He enjoyed such success that the temptation to leave school early and make a bid for the NHL was quite enticing. But Drury remained loyal to his school. He had an obligation to fulfill. And he's a man of his word.

"After my junior year, there was a real good possibility [to leave school]," said Drury. "I was thinking about it, talking about it with my family and my coaches. But, you know it just didn't feel right. My gut feeling was to go back for my senior year. I felt I signed and accepted a four-year scholarship at BU, and I wanted to honor that commitment."

With his college career complete, and the Hobey Baker to his name, Drury made his way to training camp in Colorado this past fall with hopes of making the big team. It wouldn't be easy. The Avalanche were already three deep at center and boasted a roster with such superstars as Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, and Patrick Roy. That's a tough situation for any rookie. And Drury admits that at first it was a bit overwhelming.

"You can watch them on TV all you want, but when you sit in the same room with them it's a little different," explained Drury. "After the first day, I realized they're just normal guys like you and me, they tie their skates the same way, tape their stick the same way. They're just great guys who are exceptional hockey players."

Once he relaxed, Drury was able to impress the Avalanche coaches enough with his speed and competitive nature to earn a spot on the opening day roster.

"I didn't really know what to expect," said Drury, thinking back to the early days of training camp. "I wasn't sure if I was going to be on the team from the start, if I was going to spend the whole year, half year in the minors. I didn't know what they had planned for me.

"I knew a lot of it was going to depend on how I adjusted. I'd say the biggest adjustment has been life-style change, moving to a new city. Obviously, it's a big difference than college. There's no homework. You're not surrounded by your friends and family. You're kind of off on your own, starting a new thing. That was probably the biggest difference for me."

Drury's adjustment was made somewhat easier by the presence of another talented rookie, Czech winger Milan Hejduk. Both youngsters have injected the Colorado offense with two things it desperately needed: speed and enthusiasm. Perhaps sensing their importance to the future of the team, the Avalanche veterans have welcomed Drury and Hejduk with open arms.

"I think all the veterans have handled myself and Milan really well, knowing it's our first year, trying to include us in everything at home and on the road," said Drury. "They've all just been real terrific about it."

Of course, Drury had a slight edge over Hejduk when it came to adjusting to life in the NHL. Whenever Chris needed some advice, all he had to do was look to big brother Ted.

"My brother has helped me a ton," claimed Drury. "He didn't really just say one thing, or a few things to get me ready. It's probably been just leading by example, just over the years, watching him play in the league, just learning how to keep myself healthy, get the proper rest away from the rink so you do have some energy down the stretch here and for the playoffs."

At 5'10, 180 pounds, Drury's biggest asset as a player is his speed. He has exceptional quickness and can dart all over the ice. However, speed alone wouldn't keep him in Colorado. All the skating in the world doesn't mean a damn thing if you can't finish. Drury knows how to finish. He currently has 15 goals and 35 points in 62 games, tying him with Vancouver's Bill Muckalt for the lead among rookie scorers.

Drury, 22, hasn't had the benefit of playing on one of Colorado's top two lines this season. That honor has gone to Hejduk, the more natural shooter and compliment to the likes of Sakic and Forsberg. Drury, who enjoys taking the body and playing a physical game for his size, has found his niche playing the left wing on the third line with Stephane Yelle at center and either Shean Donovan or Shjon Podein on the right side. The rookie uses his speed to forecheck hard and create havoc while never neglecting the defensive responsibilities that often come along with a third-line role.

That's what makes Drury so special. He has the talent of a top flight scorer but also is willing to do the dirty work on a third line. He just loves to compete. He's an intense kid. It's a quality that he shares with first-year Avalanche coach, Bob Hartley. Drury has found playing for Hartley to be quite the experience.

"It's pretty intense," admits Drury. "That's probably one word I can describe him. Every game, every practice, you got to come to work and show him that you want to be out there."

The wear and tear of an NHL season, not to mention the stress involved, took its toll on Drury early in the season.

"I'd say probably around the 20-, 25-game mark, I felt a little sluggish, a little tired," recalled Drury. "But coach Hartley and our strength coach Skip Allen sat me down, worked some things out. I lost four or five pounds at that point. Started riding the bike, doing some extra skating. Since then, I've really felt great, feel light, have lots of energy."

The Avalanche will be counting on that energy to help spark their Stanley Cup run. Drury could prove to be such a vital cog in the club's success that the Calder Trophy might become a natural byproduct. If it happens, great. If not, no big thing. Drury has his priorities in the right place.

"I think there are too many things going on right now with our team, worrying just about winning hockey games than to get caught up in an individual award," said Drury.

Yes, Chris Drury is an adult now. His childhood days are behind him. He's no longer the lad with the fastball capable of sitting down Asian kids one, two, three. Drury is a hockey player now. He's an NHLer. That's what should be remembered. And never call him Ricky.

All together now...

"Here we are, face to face, a couple of Silver Spoons. Hoping to find, we're two of a kind, making a go, making it grow. Together, we're gonna find our way, you and I. Together, takin' the time each day, to learn all about those things you just can't buy. Two Silver Spoons together, you and I. Together, we're gonna find our way, you and I. Together, we're gonna find our way, you and I. Together."

LCS Hockey

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