Between February 1977 and September 1980, three healthy sons were born to Anna and Jack Moore of Windsor, Ont. In '84 the family settled in the Toronto suburb of Thornhill, and like many boys in the region, Mark, Steven and Dominic Moore played hockey and dreamed of reaching the NHL. When the boys came of high school age, Anna and Jack enrolled each at St. Michael's Catholic, an institution with a demanding academic curriculum and a reputation for producing NHL players, some 180 over the years. The brothers Moore were not only exceptional athletes, but also exceptional students. So it has come to pass that the three of them, each an NHL prospect, skate for Harvard, which finished the regular season 11-15-2 and this weekend begins play in the ECAC tournament.
"I came to Harvard because of the quality of the education," says Dominic, a 19-year-old freshman. "But also because of my brothers. We'd never all played on the same team, and I thought it would be better to play with them than against them."
Dom knows how cutthroat they can be. As children he, Steve, now 21, and Mark, 23, competed ruthlessly on the local pond. They played until their feet nearly froze and then for hours more, using a couple of old boots for goalposts. They played games of one-on-one-on-one. "We'd stay out there until at some point Dom faked an injury," says Mark, a senior defenseman and a 1997 seventh-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins. "He'd fall on the ice and start crying, and we'd have to go home."
"That's not true," Dominic interjects. "We'd go home because Mark started making up the rules as we went along." Steve, the middle child, the mediator, raises a hand and says, "Let's just say there was often a misunderstanding that ended the game."
Steve, a junior center, went in the second round of the 1998 draft to the Colorado Avalanche. Dominic is projected to be a first- or second-round pick in June. "They're all essential to our team," says Harvard's first-year coach, Mark Mazzoleni, "but they're very different in many ways."
At 6'4", 215 pounds Mark is the Crimson's bruising blueliner and the team's career leader with 104 penalties for 232 minutes. A quiet, measured mathematics student who is scheduled to graduate this spring, Mark got into Harvard partly because he scored 1590 (out of 1600) on the SAT.
Steve, 6'2", 205 pounds, is wont to barrel over opponents yet also possesses play-making skills that enabled him to lead the team with 14 assists and an average of just under a point a game. He most likely will put off the NHL, return for his senior season and complete studies in his field of concentration, environmental sciences and public policy.
Dominic, who is willowy and elusive at six feet, 180 pounds, has a team-best 12 goals plus eight assists. His offensive potential has attracted a cadre of NHL scouts. Mazzoleni describes Dom as "a playful puppy on the ice"; he's an ebullient joker with a fondness for the overacting of Jim Carrey. He hasn't settled on an area of academic study.
You will find the Moores together at the rink, on the team bus and at many evening meals. All three go to church on Sundays. "It's a little like being home because three of the five of us are here," says Mark. "It's incredible that we're together at Harvard. We're very lucky, but it hasn't been easy."
Of the sacrifices the young Moores made, the many times they passed up ski trips and spring-break vacations to play hockey, the greatest challenge came in 1989 after their mother, Anna, underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor. During the long operation she suffered a stroke, and the boys weren't allowed to see her for several months. When Anna finally left me hospital she was partially paralyzed below the waist and had lost sight in her left eye. With Anna incapacitated—she has since regained much of her mobility, but her vision has not returned—and Jack at work, the boys disciplined themselves to do their homework and household chores. "It was scary for them," Jack says. "What they had was each other."