New Growlers signing Jacob Modry is a well-traveled young man.
The 24-year-old left-handed defenceman was born on the west coast in sunny El Segundo, California, moved out east and currently lives in Albany, New York near his alma mater SUNY Plattsburgh and has roots overseas in the Czech Republic where his family, including his father and former NHL veteran Jaroslav, currently reside.
While Modry will certainly be a long way from home when he comes to Newfoundland for Training Camp next week, he is thankful that he has a Newfoundland hockey legend as an uncle to help him get acclimated to his new home province.
That famous uncle is none other than St. John’s native and 1991 World Junior Hockey Championship hero John Slaney.
Slaney and Jacob’s father Jaroslav were teammates with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings from 1995 to 1997 and are married to a pair of sisters, making Slaney Modry’s uncle by marriage.
Modry and Slaney recently connected in Los Angeles, where Modry was invited to participate in the Kings’ development camp and later earned an invitation to the main training camp. Slaney, an Assistant Coach with the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners, was in town leading the Arizona Coyotes’ rookie squad against Modry’s Kings.
Following Kings camp, Modry remained in California and attended the training camp of the Kings’ AHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign. When he was released from Ontario’s camp and the opportunity to play in Newfoundland began to materialize, Modry knew who he had to call first.
“As soon as I heard the news that Newfoundland was a potential spot for me, I started to get really excited,” Modry said from his home in Albany.
“I gave him a call and let him know that I was potentially going to head to Newfoundlandand he got really excited. He sent me his sister’s phone number right away and she still lives in Newfoundland. Just in case I need anything or in case anything pops up, she can be there. It will be nice to reconnect with his side of the family for sure.”
Slaney may have earned himself a job with the Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism Board following his coaching career in Arizona, as his excitement and passion toward his hometown and its hockey community has clearly rubbed off on his young nephew.
“I’m so excited,” Modry said of his impending arrival in Newfoundland.
“I just know how much the community values the team there, how much they support it and how much they love St. John’s. I’ve heard it’s one of the most beautiful cities in Canada. It’s hard not to get excited about it. I’m just ready to get to work and do whatever it takes to be a Growler.”
Believe it or not, Slaney wasn’t the only one to try to convince Modry to come and play hockey on Canada’s beautiful east coast. He had been hearing the pitch all last season at school.
“One of my teammates in university is from Newfoundland as well,” Modry said with a chuckle.
“Kyle Alaverdy. He’s from Grand Falls-Windsor. He was at Plattsburgh with me. He’s got all the tattoos, he’s super homegrown, just an awesome kid, and he would talk about Newfoundland every day.”
SUNY-Plattsburgh’s reigning Male Athlete of the Year and Third-Team All American is set to arrive in St. John’s later this week and is looking forward to putting his 6’5” frame to good use on the Growlers blue line.
“(I feel I am a) good, smart defenceman,” Modry said of his style of play.
“I think I have a good first pass and a good stick defensively, always in the way. I like tobe physical. I like to create plays, I like to play fast. I like to move the puck. Basically, I feel I am a two way defenceman who loves to play the game. I’m really excited to get going.”
Photo credit - Gabe Dickens (SUNY Plattsburgh Athletics)