4th Hextall headed to NHL?


Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Courier-Post Staff

Ron Hextall's grandfather, Bryan, Sr., played for the New York Rangers in the 1930s and 1940s.

His father, Bryan, Jr., and uncle, Dennis, played for eight different NHL teams in the 1970s.

Ron followed by playing for three NHL teams in the 1980s and 1990s.

Which begs this question: Could Brett Hextall be a fourth generation NHLer?

An undrafted 19-year-old center now playing for the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League, Hextall has 20 goals and 41 assists in 46 games this season and has committed to play for the University of North Dakota next season.

"Brett's a hard-working kid," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said.

"He's very aggressive. He's not real big (5-foot-10, 180 pounds) but he's filled out nicely. North Dakota is like a hockey factory, so that's not a bad place to develop as a player. He has a chance."

Steve Mountain, Ron Hextall's agent when he was a player and Brett Hextall's coach when he played three seasons for the Valley Forge (Pa.) Minutemen, said there is no question in his mind that Brett will someday lace up his skates in the NHL.

"He's got a lot of Steve Downie in him," Mountain said. "He's not afraid of anybody. His teammates took a vote on who was the toughest on the team and he won. He's going to play in the NHL."

Brett Hextall piled up 156 penalty minutes in 59 games last season, but has just 52 penalty minutes through 46 games this season.

"He got his mother's genes," Ron Hextall joked. "I've got her to blame."

Ron Hextall said he doesn't want to place undue pressure on his son, saying he simply wants him to make the most of the opportunities he's been given.

"He's a high-energy, gritty, working player and North Dakota plays an upbeat style that gets in on the forecheck," Hextall said. "I know he's really, really excited to play college hockey."

Mike Green, Brett’s Hockey Coach at Bishop Eustace Prep, never doubted Brett’s potential. “Brett's intensity is what sets him apart,” he added. “He plays with the type of energy that makes the entire team better.”

Hextall was the team’s leading scorer and First Team All-Star in 2004, and led the team to their first Conference Championship with a 5-1 win over rival Saint Augustine Prep.

Chuck Gormley at cgormley@courierpostonline.com