Ivy League decorum, working-class grit

Manhattan Beach’s own Jack St. Ivany is the best of both worlds on the ice.


In my most recent edition of this column, I wrote about San Diego native Chad Ruhwedel, who has since been traded. Ruhwedel moved from the Pittsburgh Penguins to the New York Rangers. 

Given he moved from a team in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division to the team in first in that same division, this is a great opportunity for Ruhwedel to chase a Stanley Cup. I wish him and his new team the absolute best. 

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But a cool coincidence has also arisen from that trade that Ruhwedel will probably appreciate: It made room for a fellow Southern Californian hockey player to fulfill his NHL dreams for Ruhwedel’s former team in Pittsburgh. 

Jack St. Ivany has an attitude built for the East Coast. The hard-working, hard-hitting defenseman excels at everything that makes a defensive player exciting: putting up big hits and shutting down the penalty kill. Penguins fans are going to love him. 

But that no-nonsense attitude that East Coast fans are bound to love was fostered in none other than Manhattan Beach. St. Ivany had the great fortune to grow up watching Drew Doughty anchor the Los Angeles Kings with his superstar defense. 

Doughty is still as elite as ever for those same Kings after 16 seasons with the team, and now St. Ivany could have an opportunity to line up against him. 

Idolizing Doughty greatly influenced the specific way that St. Ivany loved the team as a boy. When his youth coaches pointed out that someone needed to play defense, little Jack was quick to slide back and excitedly take on the challenge so many young boys with dreams of scoring lots of goals would have rolled their eyes at. 

St. Ivany’s parents could only watch in amusement as their son decided to play defense completely of his own volition. What kind of kid decides to do that? 

Only the kind of kid that was born with ice hockey purism in his heart and soul.

Since St. Ivany decided he was going to be a defenseman all those years ago, he’s worked tirelessly at it, with dreams of first playing for an Ivy League school and then going to the NHL. 

In 2018, both of those dreams were well on their way to being fulfilled. St. Ivany was drafted in the fourth round by the Philadelphia Flyers and also committed to play collegiate hockey at Yale. 

St. Ivany spent two seasons with the Bulldogs before transferring to Boston College, another dream destination for any young kid looking to play for a college hockey powerhouse. 

St. Ivany’s final season in college was his finest, as he complimented stout defense with great offensive numbers for a defenseman as well, putting up 24 points in 35 games for the Eagles. 

Despite his college success, St. Ivany’s NHL future suddenly became a bit murkier than it initially seemed. He couldn’t agree with the Flyers on an initial contract. 

But another team had been paying attention to St. Ivany and jumped at the opportunity to sign him. The Pittsburgh Penguins got their guy and St. Ivany began his career in Pennsylvania after all. 

St. Ivany spent his first pro season in 2022-23 entirely with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League, and he struggled. The team was -17 when he was on the ice and he only put up eight points in 63 games. 

But St. Ivany’s second season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has been far better and he’s drawn praise from coaches across the organization. 

It also earned him a call-up to Pittsburgh when Penguins defenseman Ryan Graves went on paternity leave for the birth of his first child. 

St. Ivany made his NHL debut  this past Friday against the Dallas Stars, with his parents and girlfriend in attendance. 

That amusement they’d felt years ago turned into a deep pride as the St. Ivanys watched their son take the ice at the American Airlines Center. 

And if St. Ivany continues to dazzle fans and coaches alike with exciting play on the defensive end, it should mark only the beginning of a career everyone from SoCal will feel proud to witness. 

Ethan Inman is a junior writing about Los Angeles’ unique hockey heroes in his column, “L.A. on Ice,” which runs every other Wednesday. 

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