In his quest to reach the National Hockey League, Fergus native Brock McGinn doesn’t need to look further than his own household for a pair of great role models. As the youngest of three brothers, McGinn has watched his elder siblings make the leap from major junior hockey to the NHL.
Brock’s oldest brother Jamie, 26, has settled in with the Colorado Avalanche, and Tye, 23, split last season between the Philadelphia Flyers and their AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms.
“I can lean on my brothers during the season,” said McGinn as he embarks on his fourth season with the OHL’s Guelph Storm. “We can all help each other through any hectic times, because we’re all going through it together.”
The fast-paced schedule of the hockey season is nothing new for McGinn, who spent much of his childhood on the highways and in the rinks of southern Ontario.
“My mom would pick us up from school with our bags packed and our dinner in plastic containers so we could eat in the car,” said McGinn, describing a familiar scenario for many minor hockey families across the OMHA. “It was definitely an adventure and I couldn’t thank my parents enough for how much time they put in for us to do what we loved.”
After beginning his minor hockey days playing for the Fergus Highlanders, McGinn transferred to Halton Hills in 2004-05 and helped lead the Major Atom Halton Hurricanes to an OMHA Championship. He holds that experience among his favourite minor hockey memories.
“Playing in the OMHA’s was special because you work so hard to get there all year,” said McGinn. “Reaching our goal and winning just meant so much to our team that season.”
Following that championship season, he stuck close to home to play his last six seasons of minor hockey with the Guelph Jr. Storm. It was in Guelph where he developed a physical aspect to his game that made him a player of interest among OHL scouts.
At the 2010 OHL Priority Selection, the Guelph Storm went right into their own backyard and selected McGinn in the third round, and it didn’t take long for the diminutive winger to make a big impression.
“He came into his first camp as a 16-year old and we didn’t expect to keep him with the team that year,” said Chris Hajt, the Storm’s Assistant General Manager. “But he arrived and hit everything that moved, played an up-tempo game and basically forced us to give him a spot.”
McGinn says playing in the OHL for team so close to home continues to be a thrill that doesn’t go away.
“Growing up going to the games in Guelph, it was only a dream to play for the Storm,” said McGinn, who played in all 68 games and posted 14 points during his rookie season with the Storm in 2010-11. “As that dream became reality, it felt surreal.”
On the subject of his physical play, a bashful McGinn shrugs it off as something that has come naturally to him.
“As the youngest brother, I was always getting beat up on the outdoor rink we had in our backyard,” said McGinn. Hitting each other into the snow banks actually really helped!”
During his sophomore season with the Storm, McGinn continued to develop an offensive touch to complement his rugged style of play, potting 12 goals in 33 games. Despite missing half of the season due to injury, McGinn was a late riser in the rankings leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh. On draft day, the Carolina Hurricanes selected McGinn in the second round, 47th overall.
“Getting drafted was a pretty big thrill, and I want to show them what I can bring and prove that I can make the next step to play in the NHL,” said McGinn as he begins his second training camp with the Hurricanes.
In 2012-13, McGinn blossomed into a leader with the Storm as he put up 54 points in 68 games and was named one of the team’s alternate captains. As a veteran player, McGinn looks forward to putting that leadership on display in what will likely be his final year of junior hockey.
“We should be a very good team this season, because we’ve been growing as a team for the last couple of years,” said McGinn. “We’ve all been looking forward to this year together.”
It is that type of optimism that will allow Storm management to rely on McGinn during a season that carries some lofty expectations.
“He comes to the rink every day and works hard to get better every day,” said Hajt. “We expect that leadership to rub off on the younger guys, as they learn how to carry themselves on and off the ice.”
Looking back at his OMHA days and a time when his brothers showed him the way, it’s no wonder McGinn has become a shining example to younger players. Now as pro hockey looms on the horizon, the youngest McGinn looks to repeat the entire process. Given his track record, it would not be smart to doubt him.