Brett Hextall scored two goals at Toyota Sports Center on Wednesday. The only thing weird about it was the uniform he was wearing — the sandstone-red-and-white of the Phoenix Coyotes.
“A couple days before I left to come to Phoenix, I was working out at the (TSC) gym,” Hextall said. “I thought, it’s weird that I’ll be back to play on the other side and I’ll be the enemy.”
As the son of the Kings’ assistant general manager Ron Hextall, the 23-year-old forward is privy to some perks. Summer access to an NHL gym is a big one. So are the genes of three generations of hockey history–great-grandfather Bryan had a Hall of Fame career; grandfather Bryan Jr. carved out a 10-year career in the NHL; great-uncle Dennis was once a winger for the Kings; while Ron was among the best goalies of his generation.
Brett Hextall’s own lineage is interesting.
His hometown is almost ubiquitously listed as Manhattan Beach, but he did not train on the rinks of Southern California. After growing up in Philadelphia, where Ron spent his playing and post-playing career in the front office, Brett left to play hockey at Northwood Prep –coincidentally coached by current Manchester Monarchs coach Mark Morris. Morris coached the Kings’ prospects against the Coyotes’ prospects Wednesday and Thursday.
“I know everybody,” Brett joked. “I might as well walk in their locker room and say ‘hi’ to everybody.”
If familiarity were not a factor, maybe the Kings prospects wouldn’t have been too happy to see Brett. He was mostly playing the role of agitator Wednesday, and both goals were “kind of greasy,” in his own words.
“Probably where I’m going to fit in at the NHL level, is just to be a little bit of a pest and hit guys and stay relentless, kind of be in their face,” he said. “That’s more my strength.”
The Coyotes drafted Brett in the sixth round out of the University of North Dakota in June. There’s no guarantee he’ll give the Hextalls four generations of NHL blood, but he certainly held his own in his debut. With Ron Hextall watching with many of the Kings’ front-office staff from behind a plexiglass window above the rink, Brett achieved his goal of doing his dad proud.