District Danglers: NHL Players With Ties To The DMV

Photo: NHLPA via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals’ recall of forward Joe Snively to their 2021-22 roster marked a momentous occasion last season, as Snively was the first Washington Capitals player ever to be born and raised in Northern Virginia.

However, Snively is not the only NHL player who has spent time in the Washington D.C. area. Here’s a look at a few other NHL’ers with ties to the DMV.

Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Jeff Halpern

When thinking of players who grew up in the Washington D.C. area, most Capitals fans think of Jeff Halpern. Halpern, who was born in Potomac, Maryland, grew up playing hockey in suburban Maryland. By age nine, he played hockey for the Little Capitals, a local youth team that played games up and down the East Coast.

Halpern’s local high school, Churchill High, had no hockey team so he transferred to St Paul’s, a prep school in New Hampshire. After one season of junior hockey, he attended Princeton University.

After graduating from Princeton, Halpern joined the Capitals as an undrafted free agent before the 1999-2000 season and remained with the team through the 2005-06 season before leaving the team in free agency.

Halpern returned to the team for the 2011-12 season and remained in the NHL through 2013-14. He is currently an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning and was part of their staff for their 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cups.

Washington Capitals Alumni Profile: Jeff Halpern
Jeff Halpern: From Gordon Rink to the NHL
Home Boy: Jeff Halpern’s Road to Success
Princeton Tigers: Mens Ice Hockey Jeff Halpern ’99 is a Stanley Cup Champion
Princeton Tigers: Mens Ice Hockey Jeff Halpern ’99 Wins Second Consecutive Stanley Cup
NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning Assistant Coach Jeff Halpern Gets His Day With-Stanley Cup
Jewish Press Tampa — Meet Jeff Halpern Lightning Coach and Jewish Sports Honoree
Capitals Insider: Catching Up With Jeff Halpern
Washington Post: Potomac’s Hockey Family
Hockey News: Center Jeff Halpern Returns to Capitals on One Year Deal

Photo: J.D. Cuban/Getty Images

Jeremy Roenick

Jeremy Roenick was born on Jan 17, 1970 in Boston, Massachusetts but as his father, Wally, was a district coordinator at Mobile Oil. The family had to move around to different locations in the Northeastern United States, including Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Fairfax, Virginia.

Jeremy would join the hockey team at each of those locales. He played in the 1982 Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament with a minor ice hockey team from Middlesex County, Connecticut, and in the 1983 tournament with the Washington Capitals minor ice hockey team.

At age 12, the family moved to Fairfax, Virginia where he initially played with the Little Capitals but then joined the Washington Metros, a travel team who played against opponents from Philadelphia, Long Island, Providence, Boston, Chicago, and Quebec City.

The next year, he joined a Bantam team in Totowa, N.J., the New Jersey Rockets. This was so he could have a higher level of competition than he could get with the Washington Metros.  However, it required him to take a flight from Dulles Airport to Newark, New Jersey, on a weekly basis to make the Rockets’ games. He helped the Rockets to a state championship, registering 300 points in only 75 games.

After a year of playing for the Rockets and dealing with the traveling it entailed, the Roenick family moved to Marshfield, Massachusetts. Wally decided to sacrifice his own corporate advancement so that his son could have a higher level of hockey competition. Jeremy enrolled at Thayer Academy where he played on the same line as future NHL line-mate Tony Amonte; the two went on to win two League Championships.

After high school graduation, he went on to play one year of junior hockey for the Hull Olympiques in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) during the 1988-89 season. The following season he began his career with the Chicago Blackhawks where he played until 1995-96. He also played for the Phoenix Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, and San Jose Sharks before retiring as an active player after the 2008-09 season.

Since retiring from hockey, Roenick was an analyst for TSN and NBC. NBC suspended him indefinitely after he made inappropriate sexual comments toward one of his broadcasting partners and never did bring him back.

Washington Post: From Fairfax to Chicago on Skates
Sports Illustrated: Blast From the Past: Roenick, Chicago’s Fiery Young Center is a Throwback
Utica Observer Dispatch: Roenick’s Life Career Fascinating
Potomac Local:Hockey Great Roenick Appears as Prince Willia Ice Center Continues Rebound

Photo: NHLPA via Getty Images

William Nylander

William Nylander, while born in Calgary, Alberta on May 1, 1996 and primarily thought of as being a Swede, spent some of his formative years in hockey in suburban Maryland. It is not recorded where he first played organized hockey as a youth. But he played for Team Maryland and was coached by Bob Weiss while his father, Michael played for the Washington Capitals during 2007-08 and 2008-09.

When his father was no longer a member of the Capitals, in 2009-10, he played with the Chicago Mission 14 and Under team. After that, he played various levels of junior hockey in Sweden before debuting with Modo Hockey in the Swedish Hockey League in 2013-14. The Toronto Maple Leafs drafted him in the 2014 Entry Draft.

Nylander debuted in the NHL during the 2015-16 season and became a full time NHL player during the 2016-17 season with the Toronto Maple Leafs where he has played ever since.

Nylander’s younger brother, Alexander, has also played in the NHL, with the Buffalo Sabres and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Team Maryland: News Article on Nylander
Washington Post: Nylander Raised by Capitals Now Trying to Eliminate Them
Elite Prospects Team Maryland 13U AAA — Where Are They Now

Photo: Getty Images

Jarred Tinordi

Jarred Tinordi was born in Burnsville, Minnesota on February 20, 1992 but primarily grew up in Millersville, Maryland. He was born when his father Mark was playing with the Minnesota North Stars but relocated to Maryland at the age of 3 after his father joined the Washington Capitals. The Tinordis remained in Maryland even after Mark retired from the NHL.

Jarred Tinordi played for both the Little Capitals 13-Under and with the Team Maryland 14-Under teams during his youth hockey years. He also played one year of hockey at Severna Park High before joining the Washington Junior Nationals during 2007-08.

Tinordi then played for the US National Team Development Program from 2008-09 through 2009-10. After that, he played junior hockey for the London Knights.

Tinordi has played in the NHL for the Montreal Canadiens, Arizona Coyotes, Nashville Predators, Boston Bruins, and New York Rangers. He has not yet established himself as a full-time NHL player.

Photo: @Capitals

Joe Snively

Joe Snively was born on January 1, 1996 in Herndon, Virginia and made his National Hockey League debut in the Caps’ loss to Los Angeles Kings on Dec. 20, 2021.  As a young athlete, Snively played for the Washington’s Little Caps program and trained at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Arlington.

Snively is the franchise’s first Virginia native and only the third player from Virginia to score a point in the NHL, according to NHL.com.

Capitals’ Joe Snively: “I’ll Just Try To Stick To My Strengths And Try To Help The Team Get A Win If I’m In The Lineup”
Capitals’ Snively Likely To Make NHL Debut vs. Kings; Hathaway, Wilson Skate But Don’t Take Line Rushes
Joe Snively Makes NHL Debut Against Kings, Records Assist On Capitals First Goal
Joe Snively Scores First Two Career NHL Goals In Capitals 5-2 Win Over Canadiens
Rare Club From The Old Dominion: With His Name on the Scoresheet, Capitals’ Joe Snively Joins Select Company
Patch: Snively Signs Contract With Capitals

Photo: Courtesy of Quinnipiac athletics

Sam Anas

Sam Anas, who signed a contract with the Hershey Bears for 2022-23, was born on June 1, 1993 in Potomac Maryland. He played at various levels for the Little Capitals, Team Maryland, and DC Capitals during his youth hockey in the Washington DC area. Anas has been invited to Washington Capitals Development Camps.

Anas played college hockey for Quinnipiac for three seasons before starting his professional career. He has played for AHL teams for the last six years, most recently with the Springfield Thunderbirds who were the runner-ups for the Calder Cup last season.

[Author’s note: Bill Nyrop and Kevyn Adams were both in DC, but Nyrop’s family moved to Minnesota when he was two and he grew up there and Adams’ family moved to Clarence, New York, near Buffalo, where he grew up.]

By Diane Doyle

When Dreams Come True –Meet Sam Anas — A Potomac, Maryland Native Gone Minnesota Wild!
Washington Post: Quinnipiac Hockey Standout Sam Anas Tries to Blaze Trail From Maryland to the NHL

Further Reading
Time to Give DMV Hockey Prospects a Power Play

About Diane Doyle

Been a Caps fan since November 1975 when attending a game with my then boyfriend and now husband.
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2 Responses to District Danglers: NHL Players With Ties To The DMV

  1. Anonymous says:

    Canes’ prospect Bryce Montgomery was actually born in DC proper and played for the little caps, and also played with McMichael on the Knights, shame we didn’t get him.

    • Diane Doyle says:

      Once he makes it to the NHL, a future edition of this story could include him. Except for Sam Anas who’s with Hershey, the other players mentioned in here had already made it to the NHL.

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