When Joey Daccord makes a save, he knows what it feels like on the other side.
The Boston native was one of the goalies selected by the Kraken in its expansion draft. An Arizona State alum who has played just about everywhere in North America, he’s also played just about everywhere on the ice as well.
Daccord played both goalie and forward until he was 13 years old, when he had a decision to make; pursue being a scorer or continue a family tradition between the pipes.
“I think it maybe made me a better skater,” he said. “I was always into the goalie thing but also liked scoring, and I still do, but I asked my dad like, ‘When it comes to decision time, what am I better at?’ And he said, ‘I think you got a chance to be a pretty good goalie,’ and I thought he was right.”
Daccord’s father, Brian, is a former goalie, and he is a special assistant to the general manager and director of goaltending operations with the Arizona Coyotes.
Plenty of hockey players grow up in hockey families around the game, but the Daccords are a goalie family.
“He’s been a huge help and obviously is an amazing dad,” Daccord said. “Having him as a mentor in hockey, too, is incredible.”
His brother, Alex, also knew he was fated to be in net and gave up playing as a forward when he was 10. Entering his junior year playing for New Hampshire-based Saint Anselm, he has been inspired by his older brother.
Like Joey, Alex played forward and goalie. Seeing what his brother did at the position, he made the move to goalie full-time as well.
“Joey taught me a lot of things growing up,” Alex said. “He was always interested in the goalie style and things like that, and that’s what my dad’s favorite thing was, too, like growing up seeing the Gerry Cheevers mask and all that. We loved the equipment, and Joey helped me get a nice painted mask he actually paid for, which was really nice.”
Alex is looking to have a bigger impact with Saint Anselm as a junior, and across the country Joey is looking to establish a role somewhere with the Kraken. He earned his first NHL win last season with Ottawa, filling in for an injured Matt Murray against Toronto. He made 33 saves in a 4-3 win.
The journey to get to the NHL wasn’t a given for Joey; he was drafted 199th overall by the Senators in 2015, a seventh-round selection. He had been playing in the USHL before taking a flyer with a new program at the Division I level, Arizona State, where he played for three seasons.
When Daccord made his debut in 2019 — a 5-2 loss to Buffalo — he became the first Sun Devil to play in an NHL game. It was a landmark for a Boston kid who had to go all the way across the country to play in college after growing up with the elite programs in his backyard.
“I got my first game right out of college, and then my first year of pro hockey (in the AHL), it took a lot of maturing,” Joey said. “You kind of learn a lot of how to be a pro, and then in the past year starting, getting called up, getting the chance to play, that’s what it’s for.”
Two games after Daccord’s first win he suffered a leg injury and missed the rest of the season.
It was another lesson in patience for a guy who has done that his entire career. He faces the same challenge in Seattle, where he enters as the clear No. 3 goalie behind Philipp Grubauer and Chris Driedger.
“I just want to get settled in and get focused, with a new team I just want to have a good camp,” said Daccord, who has been at captains practices at the new facility in Northgate. “I want to show everyone I can play, and I think last year was a good first step for me to get confidence at the NHL level.”
Joey knew there was a good chance his name would get called during the Kraken expansion draft. Ottawa left him unprotected, and many projections had him as the top option.
He was working out with Alex when he learned on the morning of the draft that he would indeed be Seattle-bound.
“I came outside and Joey was on the phone,” Alex said. “He seemed sort of taken aback, and then he goes, ‘You can’t tell anyone, but I’m going to be selected as one of the picks tonight.’ We had a dinner that night and nobody could know, so we had to be like, ‘Oh there’s a chance he gets selected.’
“I think it was a bittersweet moment for him, because he spent like, six or seven years with the Ottawa organization with development camps and stuff, so I think in his heart he has a lot of love for them, but he’s excited to be in Seattle.”
Daccord first got his chance with the Senators last season as initially their third-string goalie, so even sitting behind a few guys he knows there’s always a chance.
For him, it’s just another step in a journey that has taken him almost everywhere across the continent.
“I always thought I was better than average,” Joey said. “I always thought I was pretty good, but when you’re younger you’re kind of naive to how hard it is to actually make it you keep advancing to the next level, like I was in public high school, then prep school, then junior, then I’m in college, it all starts happening. When you’re younger you just keep expecting that, but once I got drafted to the NHL it was when I realized, ‘Oh, I can really go somewhere in hockey.’ “
When Joey Daccord began his hockey journey, he had to choose between scoring goals or stopping them. Behind a family of goalies behind him, he made the right choice. He then had to make the choice to go to Arizona State. It was also the right one.
Going to Seattle and leaving the only NHL organization he had known wasn’t his choice, it was the Kraken’s. But it showed a belief in him he has already developed. Next, he wants to prove himself another time.
“Facing guys like (Connor) McDavid and (Auston) Matthews and all those guys in Canada, it kind of gave me the belief in myself I can compete in the NHL,” he said. “It’s hard to come in and set goals now, but I want to play well and show everyone what I can do.”