Kirby Dach says feisty brother Colton has a little 'Tkachuk blood'
It was last month that Colton Dach really considered the possibility he could join brother Kirby in Chicago with the Blackhawks.
"I got a phone call from one of the guys with Chicago and it kind of hit me, like, hey, I could be going to camp with Kirby and training with him to try and make that team," the Saskatoon Blades forward said. "It would be pretty special. We would've been in Saskatoon together and unfortunately we didn't get to play together because he was in the NHL. It would be nice to go there and have someone there who knows how to get the best out of me. He knows what I can do the best and how to get that out of me."
"It'd be pretty cool," added Kirby, who was picked third overall by the Blackhawks in 2019. "Obviously, a lot of brothers grow up dreaming of playing in the NHL together. For our family, they'd maybe be a little worried about us living together in a city away from them, but it'd be a lot of fun. I'd love to have him in Chicago. That decision isn't up to me, so we'll see what happens."
Colton came in No. 61 on TSN's final ranking of draft prospects compiled by TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie. Chicago owns the No. 62 pick.
Throughout the draft-year process, 18-year-old Colton has leaned on 20-year-old Kirby for support.
"One thing he told me at the start of the season was just wake up with a smile," said Colton, who led the Blades with 11 goals in 20 games. "Every kid is going to do his best when they're having fun and smiling all day. He's told me a lot about hockey and stuff like that to try and raise my draft stock, but the biggest thing was to come with a smile on my face."
The siblings, who both stand 6-foot-4, smiled a lot during a competition-filled childhood in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. They reflected on that shared experience during a joint interview with TSN this week. The following is an edited transcript of the conversation.
TSN: What would it be like to play against Kirby in the NHL?
Colton: "I would absolutely love it. Since he was drafted to Chicago I said, 'I can’t wait to play you.' My family always laughs and my mom gives me this look and says, 'You're not doing anything dumb.' It would be really cool to play against Kirby. It would be a moment we'd never forget. I don't think many of our friends or family would ever forget that either."
Kirby: "It'd be a lot of fun as long as the gloves stay on. I don't think we'd have any problems. It'd be a cool experience for our family."
TSN: You guys have gone up against each other quite a bit already. What was it like growing up?
Kirby: "A lot of mini-stick battles. We actually got those taken away when we were nine or 10. We were making too many marks on the walls and our parents weren't too happy, but it was fun. I wouldn't trade it for the world."
Colton: "With the mini sticks, we had a desk we used for a net and somehow the desk collapsed and that was the final straw for our parents. Everything we did revolved around hockey. And everything was about one of us winning, and if the other one didn't win they were pretty upset. The next time we did something we did it twice as hard."
TSN: Somehow the desk collapsed? Was someone bumped into it?
Colton: "Yeah, probably. There were a couple holes in the walls that happened like that. We won't go into too much detail about all the dumb things we did together."
TSN: Do you have a favourite memory?
Kirby: "Being together at the lake. We always would go to the lake. Even now we spend our weekends there with our buddies, being on the water and doing water sports like skiing and wakeboarding. We played baseball. Now spike ball has become a new game, even though our parents don’t like us playing that because it gets pretty competitive and usually fights break out at the end of those games. But, it’s all fun and games. We love each other a lot and it's a fun way to grow up."
Colton: "My favourite memory is when we would play road hockey with our buddies. That was something that, after school, we always looked forward to. When I was younger I always wanted to be a goalie, so I would always strap on the gear and he would always shoot on me. We'd have hockey cards and I'd always pretend to be one of the goalies [from the cards] and he'd pretend to be one of the players."
TSN: When did you stop playing in net?
Colton: "My dad let me try it one summer and go to a few camps. Then, during the winter, he put me on ice with Kirby and a bunch of his friends, who were pretty good players back in bantam. I spent an hour out there and came back to the house and said, 'I'm done. I don't want to be a goalie.' I think he knew if he put me out there with those guys I was going to say I don't want to do it."
TSN: Kirby, can you give us a scouting report on your brother?
Kirby: "He's a big, strong, physical forward that plays a good 200-foot game. He's super smart and that's an area where we're pretty similar. We like to read the play and react. But, I've always been jealous of his shot. For some reason, even though I was the one shooting on him, he always had a harder shot. It's something I try to take from him."
TSN: So, Kirby's jealous of your shot, Colton, is there something you want to steal from Kirby?
Colton: "I'd really like to have his hockey IQ and his hands."
TSN: Kirby, is there a guy you've gone up against or seen in the NHL that reminds you of Colton's style?
Kirby: "There's a few. Jamie Benn is one of them. Just that big, strong, power forward that carries the load and does it at both ends of the ice. Blake Wheeler is another guy. And he's got a little bit of that Tkachuk blood in him where he's pretty rough around the edges and can mix things up that way. That's another area where we're different. Colton's pretty physical and he's strong and he's big and he likes to get in there and battle hard and compete and be the guy that's in your face all game."
TSN: Where's that come from, Colton?
Kirby: "From me beating him up all the time."
Colton: "When we were younger, Kirby was pretty good at making me feel bad with some words and I wasn't very good at coming back with chirps, so I would come back with a right cross or something like that. So, that's where it started and it evolved from there."
TSN: What's something we don't know about your brother?
Kirby: "I don't know where to begin with this one. He's super kind and always had a soft spot for people. It's the cool feature to the person that he is because he's so outgoing and super competitive but, at the same time, he's super compassionate."
Colton: "We were raised the exact same way ... when I was in Grade 6 and he was in Grade 8, he would always come down and see how I was doing and see if anything was wrong or see how my day was going and he wasn't just like that with me. He was like that with my friends who would always hang around at the house. He was a guy who's always looking out for the best for you ... I hope I can be like that one day."
Kirby: "I'll add one more thing. We had a nickname for Colton growing up, 'Frank the Tank' from Old School, the Will Ferrell [character]."
TSN: How did you get that nickname?
Colton: "My parents gave it to me. I was like three or four and they saw the movie and they were like, 'Yeah, this guy looks just like him.' Obviously, growing up we did a lot of fun things. Well, things we thought were fun and ..."
Kirby: "They didn’t."
Colton: "My parents didn't think so. There was one instance where we were sharing a room when we were eight or nine and we would shove pillows up our shirts and the other guy would run across the room and try and hit the other guy as hard as he could. One time I launched off the bed and put a little hole in the wall and that was one instance where the nickname came from."
TSN: Colton, did you have the edge on Kirby in anything growing up?
Colton: "I had the edge in taking stuff too far. If we were playing basketball and the game was 21 and he got to 21 before me I'd make up some rule where he cheated or something. I'd always try and make it to an outcome where I won. And I'm going to continue to do that when I'm 30 years old or 40 years old. I always want to beat him and he always wants to beat me."