Getting drafted by an NHL team is hard enough, but for twin brothers to go in the same class? That doesn’t happen very often. But Cole and Christian Krygier pulled it off this summer, with Christian going 196th overall to the New York Islanders and Cole going five picks later to the Florida Panthers.
Both kids are big, nasty defensemen who skate well. This fall, they’ll suit up for Michigan State, the same college program their older brother played for (though Brock Krygier finished his college career at Arizona State). Their father, Todd Krygier, played in the NHL for nearly a decade before turning to coaching and having family members blaze the trail has been great for the twins.
“Yeah, obviously it helps,” Cole said. “Every bit of advice they give us we take in.”
The boys never saw Todd play in the NHL because he retired just after they were born, but he has nonetheless had a big influence on their careers. After years coaching high school hockey in Michigan, Todd was hired to coach the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks in 2013-14. That same year, the Lumberjacks brought in Jon Hull as assistant GM. Hull would end up with the Lincoln Stars as GM, where he would sign Christian Krygier as a “tender,” a player that gets signed in that league before the draft, which replaces the team’s first rounder (he must play a certain amount of games with the team that year).
“I’ve known ‘Hully’ since I was 12,” Christian said. “He was always there for us. It was a no-brainer to sign with Lincoln. It almost would have been a slap in the face not to.”
Cole, who was born five minutes before Christian, had to wait a bit longer to join the Stars. A converted forward, he was taken in the fifth round of the USHL draft and very happy to be joining his brother.
“It wasn’t set up, but I think Lincoln wanted both of us,” Cole said. “Teams kinda laid off.”
Needless to say, the twins do everything together. They billetted together in Lincoln and shared a car. Both originally committed to Wisconsin before switching to Michigan State, where they will provide the Spartans with a lot of physicality and athleticism.
And while they love hanging out together, naturally two teens who are so similar are going to anger each other sometimes – and it’s not by accident.
“It’s more knowing how to get on his nerves and doing it,” Christian said. “We’re always going at it – we’re brothers.”
Now they’ll be causing havoc in the Big Ten. The main mission for both twins will be to work on their puck skills. When they were younger, they could simply skate around (or through) opponents, but that won’t wash as the competition gets better. Both players suited up in last fall’s All-American Prospects Game, but struggled to put up numbers during the season with Lincoln.
There is a nice base to work with, however, hence the fact both the Islanders and Panthers were willing to take the twins in the draft.
They may never be the Sedins in terms of offensive impact, but the Krygiers have a very unique opportunity in the future – not many twins get to play at the highest levels of hockey. The next challenge is the NCAA and if their history is any indication, the Krygiers won’t give an inch on the ice to any college opponent.