Kings forward Jordan Nolan grew up with the ultimate hockey dad. Ted Nolan served as coach of the Buffalo Sabres, the New York Islanders and the Sabres for a second stint that started last season. But before he reached the NHL, he was the youth coach on one of Jordan’s teams.
The Nolans faced off against each other for the first time as opponents in the NHL on Thursday night at Staples Center, when father Ted and the Sabres played against son Jordan and the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings.
“He’s an NHL coach and he’s also my dad, but he knows a lot about the game, so I’m always trying to impress him,” Jordan Nolan said. “I’m always looking for advice and whenever he’s in the building I push a little harder because I want to make him proud and show him what I got.
“I always seem to work harder when he’s in the building, so hopefully the night goes well.”
Jordan Nolan, 25, has filled checker’s role during his tenure with the Kings, and that’s been especially true this season. He went into Thursday’s game without a goal or an assist in five games, averaging only 9 minutes, 37 seconds of ice time.
He was surrounded by reporters at the Kings’ pregame workout, however, with teammates giving him a hard time about the sudden surge of attention. It’s not been often that he’s been asked to answer questions about himself or his play.
Jordan Nolan didn’t seem to mind, however. He understood this was a special occasion.
“We never thought this would happen,” he said of facing his father. “We always hoped to get another chance. But to do it (against the Sabres), it’s pretty special for him, and for our family to be back in that organization and for myself to be here. It’s pretty remarkable.”
Asked about playing for his dad as a youth, Jordan Nolan said, “I think he favored me a little bit. He played me a lot. It was always nice to play for him. He always got the best out of me and he always pushed me hard.”