Hockey connection runs deep in Herman family

Photo by Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald Notre Dame Hounds defenceman Julianna Herman attempts a pass during SFU18AAAHL action at the Art Hauser Centre

After the Prince Albert Raiders dealt Nolan Allan to the Seattle Thunderbirds on Nov. 16, there was a captain size void to fill in the Raider dressing room.

The Raiders had the perfect candidate already on the roster, and during a practice later that week, Evan Herman was announced as the 47th captain in franchise history.

However, Evan is far from the only captain to come from the Herman household. His older brother Erik served as captain of the Notre Dame Hounds AA team during his time there and younger sister Julianna is the current captain of the Notre Dame Hounds of the Saskatchewan Female U18 AAA Hockey League.

The trio of siblings grew up on the family farm just outside of The Pas, Manitoba about 35 kilometres east of the Saskatchewan border.

Evan Herman says he is humbled to be the captain of the Prince Albert Raiders and he learned a lot of life lessons from both his parents growing up.

“It’s a huge honour, it comes back to our parents. My mom Lavonne and my dad Garry they preached from day one to be the best version of yourself and every day is a new day. Try to lead others and do things the right way so others follow in your footsteps. I think they taught us that from a young age.”

Photo by Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. Prince Albert Raiders captain Evan Herman lines up during the Raiders skills competition at the Art Hauser Centre

Julianna Herman is in her final season with the Notre Dame Hounds and was named the captain of the team earlier this season.

She credits her older brother in helping her reach a goal of hers, becoming captain.

“It’s definitely a great achievement on his part and mine. Seeing him have the letter and having the privilege to have the letter on my jersey this year is definitely a huge accomplishment for both of us. I know without his help, I would’ve never reached this goal.”

For their father Garry, he says it’s an extra special moment to see both of them become the captain of their respective teams.

“I’m very proud of both of them. I don’t think that’s any different than any other hockey parent that is proud of their kids who succeed in anything that they do. I think the captaincy is very special on any team and it speaks a lot to individual character, which makes me extra special proud. It means that they’ve done well in their sport as well as people. I hope that they continue to do well in life. I’m exceptionally proud.”

Partners In Crime

If you ever found Evan or Julianna on the family farm, the other was usually not far away. Both siblings were very competitive with each other and are always trying to get a leg up on the other.

Garry says the two siblings have always had a very strong relationship and were often found getting into childhood hijinks together.

“They were exceptionally close. We have three kids, and they are all great kids. Evan and Juli, who are three years apart in age, they absolutely did everything together. Everything from building sandcastles at the beach, from playing with toy farm equipment in the dirt at the farm, riding quads and dirt bikes, skating in our outdoor dugout rink, building forts in the bush. They were truly inseparable even for the age difference. Their personalities really work well together, and they are still close siblings to this day.”

Although the two were always fiercely competitive with one another, Julianna says Evan has been a big role model for her to look up to throughout her life.

“There was always a competition in some way. Me and Evan got along so well. We’ve honestly never fought in our lives. I’ve always just been his little sister. Evan’s taught me everything from how to shoot a puck to basically walk. I couldn’t say anything better about my brother. He’s done everything for me and gotten me to where I’m at today. Growing up with him was honestly a huge treat. Evan is my best friend. I am so thankful he is my older brother.”

Evan says he enjoyed having his younger sister around and enjoys the bond they have.

“It was pretty cool. She never really left my side, and she looked up to me so much growing up and she still does. It’s pretty cool for me to have someone like that follow me so close especially being my little sister.”

In the outdoor rink on the Herman family farm, the two siblings were often found playing backyard hockey. The sibling rivalry was fueled even more than usual as the two play opposite positions. Evan plays forward for the Raiders and Julianna is a defenceman for the Hounds.

Evan says Julianna never wanted to lose to him.

“I think that started at the outdoor rink at home I needed someone to skate around. She was determined, she got so mad whenever I beat her. I guess that’s just how she picked up on defence because she wanted to stop me every time that I came down and got around her. She’s one of the hardest working kids I know, it’s almost inspiring for myself the way she works and drives herself to be the best version of what she can be.”

Julianna said the one-on-one games definitely added to the sibling rivalry.

“Oh yeah definitely. I was the defence and he always tried to get around me. I usually tried to knock him down, but I was usually the one going down. I tried my hardest for him not get around me all the time.”

Championship Pedigree

Although he never appeared in the postseason, Evan Herman appeared in three games for the Prince Albert Raiders in the 2018-2019 season with the team on route to winning the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champions.

Not to be outdone by her older brother, Julianna was a part of the Notre Dame Hounds team that won the Fedoruk Cup as SFU18AAAHL champions during the 2021-2022 season.

She credits her brother’s example in helping her be part of a championship team.

“Definitely again, my brother has taught me everything I know. I can’t be any prouder for him. He is definitely my idol, I’ve done everything I can to be as good as him or better. Try and beat him in any way possible. The rivalry has definitely just made us closer.”

When told about his sister’s comment, Evan became emotional but says he will always try to provide the best example in life for Julianna he can moving forward.

“That’s a pretty big statement coming from her. It’s pretty honourable for myself that she looks at me that way. I just try to prove to her that anything is possible if you work your butt off and show up everyday with the right mentality, ready to get the job done. If I can keep doing that for her, showing her how to get through adversity or whatever it may be, that’s what I’m there to do for her.”

The Next Chapter

Both Julianna and Evan are in their last years with their respective programs and are committed to providing all they can to their teams for the remainder of the season.

But the future looks bright for both siblings in the years ahead.

Julianna has signed a national letter of intent with Saint Anselm College, an NCAA Division I school in Manchester, New Hampshire. She is planning on studying pre-med and playing hockey while at school.

She says she is looking forward to the future ahead.

“I’m super pumped that I got the opportunity from an NCAA Division 1 college to go out there and play. It’s definitely an honour, I’m excited to get out there and start a new chapter in my life. I’ve been at Notre Dame the last four years. I’m definitely going to miss the family, always been super close with him. I’m super pumped and definitely going to have a lot of phone calls back and forth with my family.”

The plans look slightly different for Evan compared to his younger sister. He says he is focused on just soaking up the experience of his final season in the WHL.

 “I haven’t really thought about it. I’m just trying to get through this year and enjoy it and soak in everything I can. They say junior hockey is the best years of your life, so far that is very true. I’m just trying to cherish everything I can with my teammates and billets and enjoy it the best I can. This is the last kick at the can for me.” @nathanreiter14