By Dan Tomayko
Gwinnett Daily Post
DULUTH, Ga. – Brothers Jason and Matt Kandrick usually live thousands of miles apart.
But Wednesday night, they were sitting right next to one another for Game 4 of the Kelly Cup playoffs at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. However, they were still thousands of miles apart where hockey allegiances are concerned.
Jason, 32, lives in Lawrenceville and is a Gladiators fan, while Matt, 30, calls Anchorage, Alaska, home and is an Aces fan.
Both of them grew up in Marietta, but the rivalry while Matt has been in town during the past few months for an internship at Grady Medical Center has been a friendly one.
“There may be a little bit of ego on the line, but that’s about it,” Matt said.
“There’s been a little trash talking over the dinner table during the finals, but not much more,” Jason said.
As transplants from the Northeast, hockey has been a part of the Kandrick family for a long time.
“We actually went to the inaugural Thrashers game,” Jason said. “So we’ve been big fans of hockey for a while and we’re proud to have two teams here in Atlanta. Now that my brother’s in Alaska, it’s kind of a unique situation for us.”
“I went to college in Arizona and started watching the NHL and the Coyotes, and I had a roommate from St. Louis who got me into the Blues,” Matt said. “Last year the Aces signed with the Blues so I get the best of both worlds up there.”
Matt’s ties to the Aces and to hockey have become even stronger during his six years in Alaska as a paramedic.
“I live within walking distance of Sullivan Arena (where the Aces play), so I go to just about every home game,” Matt said.
However, the fact that he and the Aces happened to be here at the same time is pure coincidence.
“I knew the team this year was going to be very competitive, but I had no idea that Gwinnett was going to pull through it and that I would be lucky enough to be here and able to catch this game, especially since it’s a Game 4 and there’s a good chance for a sweep,” Matt said. “I wanted to bring a little broom and dustpan and chuck it out on the ice, but I don’t think they would have been too happy with me.
“I’ve got all my friends in Anchorage that I’ll be text-messaging while we’re here at the game with updates.”
Game 4 was a family affair, with their uncle, Howard Swinford, and their dad, Ed Kandrick, attending and a chance for the brothers to celebrate their birthdays.
“I’m really lucky to be here and that our uncle got us some really great tickets,” Matt said.
“It’s right in between both of our birthdays, too,” Jason said. “So it’s kind of a special night for us being that we’re both together at this time of year and that it’s the playoffs.”