Novi's Krygier twins drafted together, will play at MSU together
Cole, left, and Christian Krygier, who will play at MSU, will join their older brother and two sisters as D1 athletes.
The fact that twins Cole and Christian Krygier of Novi were selected in the same NHL draft, only five picks apart, is not the only noteworthy part of their story.
They are only the second set of brothers ever taken in the same NHL draft; the first were Sweden’s Henrik and Daniel Sedin.
Their father, Todd Krygier, played nine seasons in the NHL for the Hartford Whalers (now Carolina Hurricanes), Washington Capitals and Anaheim Mighty Ducks. He’s also been a High School, Junior and College Hockey coach.
And they are two of five children who all reached the level of Division I college sports.
As Todd and Kim Krygier were raising their family, they had a simple mandate for their children when they signed them up for sports: Work hard. Compete. Strive to be better people than athletes.
“We don’t live our lives through our kids,” Todd, who scored 100 goals as a left wing in 543 NHL games from 1989-90 to 1997-98, told USA Hockey Magazine. “We support them and enjoy them, and we’re proud of all of them for what they’ve done in sports and academics. But it’s up to them to accomplish what they’re going to do.
“We never put a huge emphasis on them playing Division I. It just kind of happened because their sports have been their passions.”
Todd coached Novi High School to its only state championship – Division 1, 2011. He also coached the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL and is an assistant coach at Western Michigan.
The twins’ older brother, Brock Krygier, played three seasons of hockey at Michigan State and a fourth at Arizona State and is scheduled to begin medical school this fall. Natalie Krygier played one season of soccer at Todd’s alma mater, the University of Connecticut, and three at the University of Iowa. And Grace recently began her freshman season of soccer at the University of Wisconsin.
“It’s a little crazy when the whole family is together, because we’re all so competitive and we’re always kind of battling, so it can get a little heated,” said Christian, who was taken with the 196th pick by the New York Islanders in June. “There’s never a dull moment in our house. It’s just kind of how our family is made up.
“With both hockey and soccer, you have to put in a lot of time and effort away from the rink or the field. When we were little, there was never a time when my sisters weren’t helping us with hockey or we weren’t helping them with soccer. Through everything and how competitive we were, we always supported one another.”
Cole was selected by the Florida Panthers with the 201st pick. Both are defensemen and are 6-3, 192 pounds.
The other brothers, the Sedens, were taken by the Vancouver Canucks in the first round (second and third picks) in 1999. They both retired at the end of the 2017-18 season.
The 18-year-old Krygier brothers originally committed to playing at Wisconsin but then changed their minds. After being released from their letter of intent by Wisconsin coach and former Detroit assistant coach Tony Granato, they moved on to Lansing and will be on the blue line for Michigan State when the 2018-19 College season begins.
Both were drafted from the Lincoln (Neb.) Stars of the USHL. During their time with the team, the twins did everything together. They billeted together, shared a car and played on the same defensive pairing for the second part of last season.
“At the start of the season, we weren’t really playing together, and our team wasn’t doing really well," Christian told www.hometownlife.com. “And then they kind of made some changes, changed some stuff up. They actually put us together, kind of almost like expecting us to not do very well together.
“And then we kind of turned it on, came together and actually became a lot closer playing together, which was pretty cool because it was more than just playing for ourselves. It was more playing for each other throughout the season, because we both wanted to do well and we were both on the ice together. It actually became a really tight bond … with communication and play, stuff like that. It was a pretty cool process."
But like so many other siblings, they also regularly antagonize each other, many times on purpose.
“It’s more knowing how to get on his nerves and doing it,” Christian said. “We’re always going at it – we’re brothers.”
Cole, who was born five minutes before his twin brother, and Christian also take full advantage of the fact that their father played in the NHL – though they were not born until after his career was over – and is a longtime coach.
"It helps a lot to have a guy to go to, let alone your dad, who has gone through it and knows what it's like," Cole said. "Any advice he gives, we'll take it and use it to the best of our abilities because obviously he understands from a playing standpoint and a coaching standpoint.
"He just wants us to go out and play and not focus so much on who's watching or what's happening. Just go out, play and have fun. If you're not having fun, it's probably not going to end up too well for you."
The two are both good skaters and physical, defense-first defensemen who have to work on their puck skills in order to keep progressing in their careers.
"Obviously, we're both kind of bigger, strong guys, so we are defensive-minded, but we like to get up in the rush and play, kind of that fourth forward kind of thing," Christian said. "I'd say we have a pretty similar style of game."
Not exactly the like the Sedins’ kind of game, but so far, good enough.