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RE/MAX Sales Associate’s sons battle it out in WHL playoffs

When Derek Topping’s sons — Jordan and Kyle — were young, it took a lot of effort to satisfy their passion for hockey.

The family grew up on Salt Spring Island, an idyllic setting on British Columbia’s west coast. The only problem: Salt Spring Island doesn’t have a hockey arena.

This forced Derek, a RE/MAX REALTOR® since 1996, and his wife, Kim, to transport their boys back and forth from Salt Spring Island to the Cowichan Valley on a regular basis.

“I coached both kids from the time they were five years old. It wasn’t uncommon for my wife or I to be on the ferry with one boy or both every day of the week,” says Derek.

But as Derek sat in Prospera Place on March 22 and watched his boys skate onto the ice for Game 1 of the first-round Western Hockey League playoff series between the Tri-City Americans and the Kelowna Rockets, all those years of effort seemed to be worth it.

“I’m extremely proud of them for getting to this level. It’s pretty neat to see.”

Jordan, the older brother, was drafted 175th overall by the Tri-City Americans in 2012. He posted 80 points in 72 games played this season.

The Kelowna Rockets selected Kyle with their last pick in the 2014 WHL Draft. This year, he enjoyed a breakout season, more than doubling his point production from last year with 65 points in 66 games.

“This is basically the first year they’ve ever played against each other,” says Derek. “They’re two years apart, so when Jordan was leaving a division, Kyle was always just coming into that division.”

“Not many brothers get to experience this, so I’m trying to make the most of it. But once you hit the ice, you try to forget about it and do your best to win,” says Kyle.

(From left: Kyle, Derek, Kim and Jordan Topping pose for a scenic family photo.)

Looking back on their childhood, Jordan and Kyle are incredibly thankful for everything their parents did to help them realize their dreams of playing hockey competitively.

“Having two kids playing at various times, and with different schedules: it took away from our parents’ social lives. They put us first and we’re very fortunate for the things our parents have done,” says Jordan.

“Often times me and my mom would be going one way and my brother and my dad were going the other way. We were definitely fortunate to have my mom and dad supporting us,” adds Kyle.

Despite the Rockets’ superior regular season record, Derek watched as Jordan’s Tri-City Americans posted an impressive 5-0 away victory to take a 1-0 lead in the series. Two nights later, the Tri-City Americans would steal another road victory in a high-scoring 9-7 contest.

At the time of writing this, Kyle and the Kelowna Rockets were headed south of the border for Games 3 and 4, down 0-2 in the series.

“I think it’s going to be a long series. It wouldn’t surprise me if it goes seven games,” says Derek.

Both Jordan and Kyle are working hard to try to secure professional contracts; however, they’re preparing for all outcomes, and may take advantage of the WHL’s scholarship program to further their education.

Along with his love of hockey, Derek’s passion for real estate has also rubbed off on his boys.

“The last couple of years, I’ve started taking more of an interest in real estate. My dad and grandpa were both REALTORS®. I think, down the road, it’s something I’ll consider,” says Jordan.

With 2018 being Kyle’s draft year, his full attention is focused on earning a pro contract; however, he is also open to the possibility of a real estate career later in life.

“It’s definitely something I would look into down the road,” says Kyle.

“Watching my dad go through a successful career, I think it’s something that could suit me well.”

(Top photo credit: Marissa Baecker)

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