It's no surprise that the Ferraro twins, Chris and Peter, were less than overwhelmed when they were both drafted by the New York Rangers last summer. To the Ferraros, who are both forwards on the U.S. Olympic hockey team, it seemed natural. After all, the duo played together in the juniors, at prep school, in squirt league and for years on a frozen pond in their backyard. In fact, it seems the longest these twins have ever been apart was nearly 21 years ago when Chris was born and Peter didn't follow until a whole minute later.
"We've been side by side our entire lives," says Peter. "We've always had the same dream, so naturally we've followed the same path to reach it."
For the twins, that path to the NHL has been a crooked one simply because they were born and raised on Long Island, N.Y., where it's about as tough to uncover a budding hockey star as it is to find a guy in Medicine Hat who can dunk. By the time they were eight, Peter and Chris already needed stiller competition than Long Island could offer. So every weekend for three years during the hockey season their father, Pete, drove them four hours each way to Philadelphia to play for the Little Flyers, an organization that had teams from mite to junior level. A few years later Dad rented a house in Marion, Mass., when the twins attended prep school and played hockey at Tabor Academy, Then, in 1990, he moved the entire family to Dubuque, Iowa, enabling his sons to play at the Junior A level in the United States Hockey League.
Before the Rangers drafted Peter in the first round and Chris in the fourth in '92, the twins accepted scholarships at the University of Maine, and as freshmen last season they helped the Black Bears win the NCAA hockey championship. "They are both tremendous finishers, natural goal scorers with speed to burn," says Maine coach Shawn Walsh. "But what impresses me most is that both understand that because they are small in stature [each is 5'10", 175 pounds] and big in reputation, they are now marked men on the ice. They react to it by being extremely intense, competitive, even mean."
Along with his 18 goals, Peter set a single-season record at Maine with 106 penalty minutes. Chris scored 25 goals and spent 46 minutes in the box. "Both brothers are like little weasels," said Chicago Blackhawk center Jeremy Roenick after facing Team USA three weeks ago. "They're antagonists who go out there to stir the pot."
Still, after 31 games on the pre-Olympic tour, Peter has stayed out of the clink long enough to top Team USA in goalscoring. Chris leads in assists. Both will go to Lillehammer in search of a gold medal, and once the Olympics are over, they hope they'll be ready to join the Rangers. If the brass in New York doesn't think they are, there awaits a sophomore season at Maine, during which they can attend to their laundry lists of self-criticism. There is no Narcissus in these brothers. You don't need a mirror when you're a twin.
"We laugh when people tell us that our only weakness is that we weren't triplets," says Chris. "We know what things we have to improve, it's just that we're impatient because, since we were 10 years old, we've been anticipating the day when we'd reach the NHL."
Says Peter, recalling their birth, "And this time I hope we arrive together."