DENVER | This is a story about family and hockey, one they’ve told countless times because it’s just so fitting: David and Sarah Shore met on the first day of law school at the University of Denver. On their inaugural date, they attended a Pioneers hockey game.
Years and numerous hockey rinks later, their kids ended up playing for Denver. Drew, 25, and Nick, 23, had illustrious careers for the Pioneers before embarking on pro campaigns. Now there’s Quentin, a senior forward who’s earned some major bragging rights over his older brothers — the first of the siblings to lead Denver to the Frozen Four.
“My brothers are so happy for me, so it’s not something I need to shove in their face,” said Quentin, whose Pioneers (25-9-6) face North Dakota (32-6-4) on Thursday in Tampa, Florida, with the winner advancing to Saturday’s title game. “But maybe in the future.”
Who could’ve envisioned this sort of future when David, a banking and real estate attorney, got to know Sarah, oil and gas, through a study group they attended. He can’t remember who the Pioneers played on that first date or even the score. Looking back, one thing remains abundantly clear:
“We certainly had no idea we were going to spend the next 25 years in rinks,” he cracked.
It all started with Drew watching a Stanley Cup Final with his dad at a young age and wanting to learn how to skate. Drew quickly picked it up — even went through the Pioneer youth program — and instantly was hooked on hockey.
It became the family pastime as the rest of the brothers discovered an equal passion — first with Nick and then Quentin. There’s a fourth brother, too, Baker, a 16-year-old who was actually offered a scholarship by Denver as a ninth grader. He could be the best of the bunch in Quentin’s estimation.
“He’s just a machine,” Quentin said. “He never stops (practicing). He works very hard.”
As do his parents. Try getting all those kids to all of their games.
Take the last week and a half for instance: They went to Minnesota to watch Quentin qualify for the Frozen Four and then headed to San Jose, California, for a national tournament in which Baker’s team, the Colorado Thunderbirds, lost in the semifinals.
Meanwhile, they were trying to keep track of Los Angeles games — Nick is a forward for the Kings — and get updates on Drew, who’s currently with the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League.
“It’s been a whirlwind. As parents of four, it’s not that unusual,” said David, who married Sarah on Dec. 30, 1989, in Sarasota, Florida — not all that far from the Frozen Four site, where plenty of relatives are expected to attend. “We rarely ever get to be in the same place.”
The Shore brothers definitely have a robust rivalry. Growing up, they would play street hockey for hours in their cul-de-sac, with one of them the designated goalie and the others firing shots on him.
It always ended up the same way — someone in tears and usually a little bloody.
“Getting hit in the shins, getting mad, playing out there until it got dark,” explained the 21-year-old Quentin, who is third on the Pioneers with 13 goals. “Then my mom would always yell at us to come inside, and we’d come in scratched up.”
So are these: Quentin helping a talented Denver squad to their first Frozen Four since 2005. The team was 7-7-2 at one point, before going 18-2-4 since New Year’s Day. St. Louis Blues forward Paul Stastny catches as many games as he can of his former team, appreciating the play of the Shore clan over the years.
“That’s how it is when you have four brothers and the oldest one is so successful,” said Stastny, who won a national title with Denver in ’05. “But each one has been as successful as the other one. They’ve all taken different paths to where they want to be.”
Drew led Denver to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances, but fell short of reaching the Frozen Four. He skipped his senior season to sign with the Florida Panthers, a team that picked him in the second round of the 2009 draft. He was later traded to Calgary and is now playing for Stockton.
Following his brother’s footsteps, Nick topped the Pioneers in points in ’12-13 before signing with the Kings, who took him in the third round of the 2011 draft. He has three goals and seven assists in 67 games for an L.A. team headed to the postseason.
Then there’s Quentin, a sixth-round selection by Ottawa during the 2013 draft. He had a goal and an assist in a 6-3 win over Ferris State that secured Denver’s place in the Frozen Four.
And while he never played on the same Pioneers squad as Drew, Quentin did play alongside Nick for one season, with the brothers scoring a combined 24 goals.
“It’s nice in the summers, when we’re all home and get to train together,” Quentin said. “Having the dynamic of competing against each other, whether it’s at video games or playing lacrosse in the backyard, it’s competitive, maybe a little over-competitive at times.
“But it raises your level of intensity and makes you better in the long run.”