Sports specialists and scientific researchers alike have long supported young athletes participating in multiple sports. By training in different activities, children can build diverse skills, work multiple muscle groups and improve focus as well as hand-eye coordination. About 47 percent of professional hockey players began as multisport athletes in their childhoods, but one of the best examples of this is Chris Drury, who excelled at several sports from a very young age.
As a child, Drury played several sports, but he truly excelled in both baseball and hockey. He played pitcher and helped lead his Trumbull, Connecticut team to the 1989 Little League World Series, where they defeated Chinese Taipei. During the game, he pitched a five-hitter, as well as counted for two runs. Because of his early excellence, Drury got to fly in one of Donald Trump’s private planes, meet the president at the time, George H. W. Bush, and pitch the ceremonial first pitch in the second game of the 1989 World Series.
Chris Drury was great at hockey as a child as well. In 1989, before he won the Little League World Series, Drury helped his Connecticut team win the U.S. Amateur American Hockey Championship in Chicago. At the time of both victories, Drury was only 13. Though some worried the boy’s early successes would lead to complacency or end up being the highlights of his career, Drury pressed onward. He would eventually drop baseball to continue with hockey. Once he graduated from high school in 1994, Drury was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques. He played for Boston University from 1994-1998, setting the record for most goals scored by a men’s hockey player with 113, a record he holds to this day. He also won the Hobey Baker award in his senior year.
By the time Drury made his NHL debut, the Quebec Nordiques had become the Colorado Avalanche. He was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1999, recognizing him as the league’s top rookie, and in the 2000-2001 season, he scored 65 points in the regular season and 16 in the playoffs to help the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup. He then played in three Olympic games (2002, 2006 and 2010), and played for the Calgary Flames, Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers before retiring as a player in 2011. Today, Drury works as the Rangers’ assistant general manager, putting his hockey knowledge to good use.
Chris Drury is a perfect example of why children should be allowed to play several sports at young ages. Athletes who diversify have been shown to have outstanding careers as adults, as Drury proved throughout his time in the NHL.
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