Our days and nights seem to be ruled by coronavirus news and social distancing and growing accustomed to new norms. Lives are changing completely – but that doesn’t automatically mean in unfortunate ways.
For example, Chicago Wolves alternate captain Jaycob Megna and his wife, Kasey, are eagerly counting down the days until their first child enters the world.
Earlier this month, they took some advice from their obstetrician (their daughter appears to be growing larger than the average child in Kasey’s tummy) and started arranging an inducement date at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital that tried not to conflict with the Chicago Wolves schedule.
While there aren’t many silver linings that have come with the suspension of the American Hockey League schedule due to the novel coronavirus, Jaycob and Kasey have taken advantage by driving to Allentown, Pennsylvania. That means they’ll get to welcome their daughter into the world with Kasey’s family nearby – and they hope Jaycob’s parents will be able to drive up from Florida when the time comes.
“We’re doing well,” Jaycob said. “We’re seeing the doctor on Friday to figure out a date.”
One thing seems certain. This baby girl will be proud to look up to her dad – and not just because he’s 6-foot-6.
Athletically, the 27-year-old Megna has 43 games of NHL experience on his resume since turning pro at the end of the 2013-14 season. He has served as a captain three of his last four seasons, including full captain’s duties last year with the San Diego Gulls.
“We saw him as a leader, without a doubt,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson, explaining why the Vegas Golden Knights and the Wolves were eager to acquire him last summer. “(San Diego coach) Dallas Eakins couldn’t say enough good things about him.
“He has mentored our young defensemen this year, particularly Dylan (Coghlan). He has helped ‘Cogs’” game without the puck. He does a great job of helping other people be better. I think one day this guy’s going to be a coach. When you hear him on the bench, you know he sees the game very well. He’s very vocal, but in a positive way.”
Megna could be a coach, but he also figures to have ample opportunities in the real world once he’s done playing. He needed just three years to graduate from the University of Nebraska-Omaha with a degree in Finance, which built on his perfect academic record in high school.
Megna, who grew up in Northbrook, started and finished his high school years at Glenbrook North, where he posted straight As and earned a 33 on the ACT. He also spent his sophomore year with his older brother, Jayson, at Tabor Academy in Massachusetts, and most of his senior year at Mona Shores High School in Muskegon, Michigan, while playing in the United States Hockey League.
He returned to town in time to graduate with his friends at Glenbrook North. He finished his Advanced Placement classes in Michigan, so he wrapped up a couple other classes at Glenbrook North and spent the other hours helping kids with learning disabilities.
“My parents (Jay and Jacqueline) have always been very, very invested in my school,” Jaycob said. “School got done first, then everything else you were able to do afterward.”
In addition to playing hockey, Jaycob played baseball and golf in high school. He also played shortstop and pitcher for the high-powered Highwood Braves travel team – and his teammates included former White Sox outfielder Charlie Tilson and Kansas City Royals pitcher Jake Junis.
But one of Jaycob’s favorite baseball memories happened during his year at Tabor Academy – when he shifted to second base so he could form a keystone combination with Jayson at shortstop.
“It was cool,” Jaycob said. “A lot of fun. The year we had together in prep school and the year we had in college were so much fun. We were in the same dorm both years, so it was a blast.”
While the good times were important, what’s better is how Jayson describes his younger brother. Baby Girl Megna, this is the dad you’re getting:
“He’s just an all-around great dude,” Jayson said. “He’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. His work ethic is incredible. He’s wise beyond his years. I’m very proud of him.”