He’ll hit you. He’ll crunch you. He’ll make you see double. It
shouldn’t be any surprise that Soo Indians defenseman Jared
Nightingale’s favorite player is St. Louis Blues hulking icon Chris
Pronger. It’s precisely who he models his game after.
Not that he needs to anyway. You see, he’s from a talented family of
hockey brothers who have big aspirations – possibly one of the most
talented and toughest trio of hockey-playing brothers to come out of
Michigan since Lansing’s Kelly, Kevin and Kip Miller.
Jared is prepping himself in the North American Hockey League (NAHL)
right now, while brothers Adam and Jason (both of whom also played for
the Soo Indians) currently play in the college ranks at Lake Superior
Born and raised in Cheboygan, the three brothers were raised in a good,
wholesome, deeply religious family, which has molded them into a group
of fine young men.
Soo Indians head coach Joe Shawhan has seen and coached all three boys
and would love to coach more of them.
“There was definitely a solid, growth environment in their family,” says
Shawhan. “I give their parents so much credit for allowing their kids
to chase their dreams of playing hockey.”
While Jason and Adam have taken their games to the next level, Jared
aspires to do the same.
“My goal is to play Division I hockey,” says the 18-year-old Jared.
“God’s been good to us, especially in the ways our parents raised us,
and it’s leading us all in positive directions.”
Jared says it was an indoor rink in Cheboygan that he played at quite
frequently while growing up, that inspired him to take hockey more
“I really took the game a lot more seriously after that,” he says.
“But, I realized I would have to move away to fulfill my dreams.”
Jared says his brothers have played the biggest role in shaping him not
only as a hockey player, but as a person.
Coach Shawhan can fondly look at each player and see differences,
despite the good kids they are.
“Jason was a late bloomer and a big kid with huge legs, standing about 6
feet tall,” he says. “When we picked up Adam it was a gamble, but we
knew he would develop.”
Shawhan says both were all-stars for the Soo Indians before they went on
“Jason is more of a straight-forward hockey player, not retaliatory,
but physical and quieter,” he says. “Adam is kind of a jokey guy,
pretty physical and mucky.”
In fact, both Shawhan and Jared will tell you that Adam will take guys
into the corners and smash them into the boards, while skating away with
a smile on his face – even in practice.
Jared on the other hand has a bit more of a professional nastiness to
his game, says Shawhan.
“He’s taller, bigger and nasty,” says Shawhan. “He’s a stay-at-home
defenseman who likes to step up, scrap and hit.”
Sounds like Pronger. And Jared wouldn’t disagree.
“I model my game after Pronger because he’s my favorite,” says Jared,
who also played at the midget level with the Indians. “I feel it’s my
role to be a an in-your-face defenseman.”
Jared says his biggest adjustment from midgets to juniors has been the
quickness and size of the people he’s hitting and defending.
“I’m getting acclimated pretty well, but it took awhile to adjust,” he
says. “It’s so much faster (in the NAHL).”
Jared likes the look of this year’s Soo Indians squad and feels the team
has excellent chemistry.
“We have high goals this season,” he says. “We want to be contenders.
We know we have the talent and we know we’ve got to put it together.”
And with Jared’s work ethic, there’s no reason he can’t strike fear into
every opponents heart. It’s got to be music to coach Shawhan’s ears.
“I just wish there were more Nightingales,” he says. “I’d love to coach