The hockey pedigree is undeniable, but Adam Tambellini isn’t about to ride the coattails of his family name, nor is he about to follow in the footsteps of his big brother.
The son of Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini, and younger brother of ex-Chilliwack Chiefs forward Jeff, Adam is intent on forging his own identity as he pursues his dream of becoming a pro.
“It’s kind of good to have sometimes, but I don’t like to use it to my advantage. I’m just like any other player in the league,” shrugged the 1994-born centre.
Tambellini has already shown he can handle himself in big-pressure situations.
He recorded a hat trick to help the Edmonton SSAC Athletics ground the Saskatoon Contacts 3-2 in the gold-medal game of the Mac’s Midget AAA Tournament in January.
He finished the tourney with four goals and five assists in seven games.
“I don’t think you can ask for any better situation than that. In the Mac’s tournament, that was probably the best game of my life and I’m glad I got to do it on that stage,” said Tambellini.
The Vernon Vipers are hoping the six-foot-one centre (he is already two inches taller than Jeff) will bring some of that scoring savvy when he joins the organization for the coming season.
“He wants to make his own name for himself. He played for a pretty good team, but he was instrumental in their success,” said Vipers’ assistant coach Jason Williamson.
Tambellini, a cousin of fellow Viper Aaron Hadley, compiled 29 goals and 25 assists for 54 points in 34 games with the Athletics, and was a constant threat on their powerplay.
Listed by the WHL Portland Winterhawks and sought after by several other junior clubs (Steve is close friends with Harvey Smyl of the Chiefs), Tambellini opted to follow the scholarship route.
“I saw what my brother did in going to Michigan (NCAA Division 1 Wolverines) and it seemed to work out pretty good. He’s been playing in the NHL for six years now so I thought that was a pretty good road for me.”
Incidentally, Jeff, playing with the Chiefs, and Williamson, as captain of the Vipers, battled one another in the 2001-02 Fred Page Cup finals.
Chilliwack won the best-of-seven series and advanced to the Royal Bank Cup.
More recently, Tambellini watched Jeff play for another cup… as in the Stanley Cup.
“It was pretty surreal to watch (Canucks vs Bruins). We got to go down for Games 5 and 7. Game 7 was quite the experience. I’ve never seen anything like that before,” said Tambellini, who has always received pragmatic hockey advice from his big brother.
“All the time he was developing, he was telling me to just get out there and play the game and don’t worry about anything else.”
Jeff has since left the NHL to sign in Europe.