Jeff Petry follows father Dan, but not in baseball

Edmonton Oilers d-man Jeff Petry had to choose between baseball, hockey

Published On: Feb 08 2012 06:22:15 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 08 2012 07:29:37 PM EST
DETROIT -

Visiting teams may have a tough time taking on the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena, but one visiting player feels right at home.

Edmonton Oilers Defenseman Jeff Petry grew up in Farmington Hills, and played hockey at Orchard Lake St. Mary's High School. Being the son of former Tiger pitcher Dan Petry, it was only natural that Jeff played baseball as well. During his junior year, he was nervous about telling his dad that he was dropping baseball to focus on hockey.

Dan was the assistant baseball coach.

"I was getting ready for a practice," recalls Dan Petry. " My wife Chris called and said Jeff's not coming to practice. He's afraid to tell you."

But Petry made it easy for his son.

"He was 100 per cent supportive. He said if that's what you want to do go, ahead and do it," said Jeff.

His father never hesitated to give his blessing. "It's just wonderful to see him play," said Petry, who was part of Detroit's 1984 World Series Championship team.

Jeff has only faint memories of his father's playing days. He says he never forgot this piece of fatherly advice:

"The one thing that sticks out is, there's always people with the same or more talent. The thing that separates guys is work on and off the ice."

The elder Petry will be watching tonight's Wings-Oilers game at the Joe. He says he's proud of Jeff for achieving hockey success on his own, and for continuing work on his degree at Michigan State.