As the Masuk Boys Hockey team hit the ice this winter, a certain brother-duo is proving to be a nightmare for defenses. Both starting on the first line, Junior Nick Kondub along with freshman brother Luke Kondub have been lead scorers this season, becoming a powerful pair in the rinks.
Nick and Luke have been playing hockey ever since they were three years old, accounting for over ten years of experience on ice together. However, this hockey season is the first time the brothers have ever played on the same team.
“We were never together on one team because of our two year age gap,” says older brother Nick, who played with Donohue Hockey Skills while Luke played for Hamden AA, “but we’ve always loved to play against each other for scrimmages or just for fun.”
Although they may be new teammates, their connection cannot be disregarded. This Wednesday, Nick assisted all four of Luke’s goals during their away game against North Branford, helping rack up their close 6-7 point loss. In only the second game they played together, they helped score five of the six goals for Masuk.
“We have a little bit of a brotherly connection,” Luke says, “We just find each other on the ice. We know how to play the game and know exactly where to put the puck.”
Only a freshman, Luke is quickly becoming an asset on the team. With four goals and an assist, the left wing forward accounted for the majority of the points in the North Branford game.
Nick takes on his third year of Varsity Ice Hockey for Masuk, as the right wing forward he holds one goal across the three games the team has played this year. A quarterback for the offense, he leads the team in assists, currently holding nine.
Aside from the brother-duo on the ice, there is a third member of the Kondub family that can be found off the ice and behind the operation.
John Kondub is a second year assistant coach of Masuk Boys Hockey team, and the older brother of Nick and Luke. He played hockey all throughout his youth just like his brothers, and became a coach as Nick entered his sophomore season.
Luke says that having a brother on the side has been something that took adjusting, saying it has been a “different” experience.
“I’ve gotten used to it though” he says, “He helps out there teaching us how to be better hockey players, so it’s a plus to [both] us and the team.”
Luke adds that there is no real separation between coach and brother on the ice, saying “we just like to have fun during practice,” and “he coaches us just like he would coach anybody else on the team.”
Being the youngest of two successful older brothers in Masuk Boys Hockey, Luke was quick to measure up. When asked how he first felt about playing on the Varsity team as a freshman, Luke expressed the initial worry he had before hitting the ice. However, he explained how after playing in practices and games, he became more comfortable.
“I love this team,” says Luke, “It’s been such a great experience playing with guys that are a lot older than me, especially since we have great team chemistry.”
Older brother Nick adds to this, saying that besides being the only two siblings rostered, the whole team is one family.
“We are all brothers, and we all believe in each other,” Nick says. “We will always pick each other up when we make mistakes.”
Nick says that Boy’s Hockey is in extremely good shape for the season: “I definitely feel we’ve become a better offensive team than last year, but we have to play good defense or we won’t win games.”
Last year, the team lost in the first rounds of states against Enfield after completing a strong regular season. However, this year Nick says this year the boys are “locked in,” ready to come through with a strong and successful winter.
“I think the team wants revenge from how last season ended,” he states, “So this year we are chasing a ring.”
As the team starts off the season with three high scoring games, family on and off the ice keep the boys roaring. The team is a brotherhood, and new additions to the team are only adding to that family.
Players and fans alike can only hope to see the team improve as they take on seven more regular season games, which will be starting back up in January of 2023.