Nathan MacKinnon, the first overall pick in June, as turning heads all over the NHL with his play early. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Straight from the draft to the NHL, No. 1 overall pick Nathan MacKinnon has a lot to take in this year. Thankfully, he’s found a home in Colorado with teammate J-S Giguere and the two are very happy with the arrangement so far.
“It’s awesome,” MacKinnon said. “I have a great set-up downstairs and it’s been a lot of fun.”
Both MacKinnon and Giguere played junior hockey in the Quebec League for the Halifax Mooseheads, though ‘Jiggy’ was on the first-ever edition of The Herd back in 1994-95, while MacKinnon led the most recent squad to its first-ever Memorial Cup championship. Living with the Gigueres has given him a soft landing place during what can be a chaotic year. The home cooking from Kristen Giguere (Jiggy handles the barbecue) has been much appreciated, too.
“I try to help out as much as I can, though I’m not a very experienced chef,” MacKinnon said. “I try to do some little things around the house, but most of it is taken care of. It’s great for my first year, I don’t have to worry about things.”
For Giguere, it’s also been a boon to have the rising young phenom under his roof.
“It was a good fit for him and my family,” Giguere said. “I have three young boys under the age of six who love hockey and having Nate as a big brother is fun for them.”
The two carpool to the rink and though it would be silly to think of them sitting down in the study for an official meeting on what it takes to be a pro, there have been organic conversations about hockey that MacKinnon appreciates.
“He’ll share experiences, which is great for me,” he said. “He’s a 17-year vet, he’s won a Conn Smythe, won a Stanley Cup, plus he’s a goalie, so he’s had a chance to sit back and watch the play; he’s not always in the midst of things. It’s been great to learn from him.”
For his part, Giguere is glad to help, but at the same time he doesn’t want to impose on the youngster.
“I’m not his dad,” he said. “I’m not going to tell him when to come home and I don’t want to be overbearing. He’s going to get lots of advice and it doesn’t just fall on me, there are a lot of veteran guys in our dressing room.”
Though the season is just a week old, the Avs are undefeated in two games and MacKinnon already has three assists. That’s music to the ears of Colorado fans, though when it comes to the hip hop the explosive center likes to bump, it’s already been established there will be no Kendrick Lamar in Jiggy’s carpool.
“Ha ha ha! Not a chance,” Giguere said. “No country, no hip hop.”