Slaggerts, Janickes joins the story of Notre Dame hockey siblings // The Observer

On the way to kindergarten, the Janicke family’s car blew up the Notre Dame battle song on repeat. A love of Irish hockey was rooted in the heads of the two Janicke brothers, since before they were even old enough to take a stick.

Eight hours away, the Slaggert brothers joined in on the same tune with similar visions of one day joining the Notre Dame hockey roster.

Two pairs of brothers, four different jerseys, a Notre Dame Hockey Team.

Although each pair of brothers is unique with their own special style on the ice and their own story, they are bound by their brotherhood. Graham and Landon Slaggert – natives of South Bend and son of associate head coach and former Irish player Andy Slaggert – have always dreamed of playing side by side. On the road in Minnesota, Justin and Trevor Janicke followed in the footsteps of their father Curtis Janicke, who played for the Irish from 1989-93.

Both Janickes and Slaggerts started playing hockey before they even learned their ABCs. For Justin Janicke, his hockey career began when he was two years old, strapped to a small walker in Janicke’s makeshift rink in their backyard. Slagger’s first experience with hockey never even involved ice cream – only their living room rug and a puck.

From first learning to skate to elementary school teams (which involved daily trips from South Bend to Chicago for Slaggerts), to travel tournaments, to the U.S. Hockey junior program through high school, both sets of brothers followed similar paths to win their place on the Notre Dame hockey list .

The Janickes come as the sixth father-son duo (including Justin, they are a trio) to play for the Irish. Their father Curtis Janicke played for the Irish from 1989-93, appeared in 125 matches and earned 144 points (46 goals and 98 assists). Overall, they make the 16th set of brothers to take the ice gear in Notre Dame’s blue and gold.

Slaggerts also joined these two exclusive clubs, just a year before Janickes. As a coach at Notre Dame for 29 years, having played under Lefty Smith and Ric Schafer, Andy Slaggert has been a longtime part of Irish hockey. Because of him, Slaggers was the fifth father-son set. On their own, they are the 15th set of brothers getting ready for the Irish.

“Our lives revolve largely around the game,” said junior Trevor Janicke. “It’s like my whole family is talking about.”

The Slaggert family shares a similar obsession.

“The conversation still always goes back to the team, or what’s going on in the hockey world,” said senior and captain Graham Slaggert. “Honestly, it gets pretty annoying when guests are over. Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves. ”

A love of all hockey was instilled in both households – on TV, at the dinner table and in the yard. For both families, Notre Dame hockey became more than a dream; it became a lifestyle.

The older brothers Trevor and Graham both set the stage for their younger brothers. They worked hard to create a good reputation for themselves and set the bar high for their younger brothers Justin and Landon.

“It’s about wanting to be better than your older brother,” Landon Slaggert explained a second time. “Graham really paved the way for me and allowed me to see that my dreams are really possible.”

Freshman Justin Janicke agreed, saying having hockey as a similar passion definitely strengthened his relationship with his older brother Trevor. He noted that the only drawback to this could have been the constant comparison and competition.

“But at the same time, the competition really pushed me because I always wanted to do better than him,” Justin said.

Despite their competitiveness and their conflicting schedules, both sets of brothers feel that playing hockey has made them closer. It gives them not only a constant topic of conversation, but also a wealth of shared experiences.

This season marks Janickes ‘first time playing on the same team together, and Slaggerts’ second time. Being on the ice at the same time is something both sets of brothers had become accustomed to, as their relationship on the ice is very different from outside.

For Trevor Janicke, it’s about finding a balance, and he hopes to let Justin find his own rhythm.

“I would not be the overbearing big brother who always says, do it and do it,” Trevor said. “I just let him figure it out on his own because that’s what you need to do.”

Landon Slaggert is grateful for the communication he has with his older brother Graham.

“Graham was not always in my ear about things,” Landon said. “I think we found a balance where we can constructively criticize each other and in a way build on that.”

But this stable and comfortable relationship as players did not come easily. The transition from brother to teammate has its challenges.

“It took time to develop that relationship,” Landon added. “We definitely had some tough points early on, especially because we have the opportunity to play on the same line as each other. We should learn to work together towards a common goal. ”

Both sets of brothers have worked together since they were children, but playing together on the ice changes everything. The Slaggert brothers may have struggled to find their flow in the beginning, but have since achieved a level of comfort and confidence that makes them a perfect pair on the ice.

Landon believes that their shared family connection makes conflicts easier to resolve.

“We are brothers. We can get under each other’s skin, but in the end we know we love each other,” he said.

Brothers Janicke and Slaggert bring something special to Notre Dame’s list this year that is hard to copy. Playing the game together brings back many years of memories. Trevor remembers little brother “JJ flying around” in the backyard, while Graham and Landon remember hanging out on the long daily commute to Chicago.

But both Janickes and Slaggerts do not necessarily think their relationship is very different from the rest of the team. For these four hockey stars, blood is not the only thing that defines brotherhood.

“We all have each other’s backs,” Landon said. “We are all brothers on the ice.”

Tags: Brothers, Curtis Janicke, father-son, Graham Slaggert, Justin Janicke, Landon Slaggert, ND Hockey, Trevor Janicke

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