The Sutters are arguably the most legendary family in hockey history -- and certainly the most prolific. Carolina Hurricanes prospect Brody Sutter is the most recent member to embark on a professional hockey career.
The first generation of Sutters saw six brothers -- Brian, Darryl, Duane, Brent, Rich, and Ron -- combine to play more than 4,200 NHL games from 1976 through 2001.
Brody Sutter -- son of Duane -- was a 2011 seventh-round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes, and is part of the second generation of Sutters to set his sights on a pro career. Along with cousins Brandon and Brett, he's also the third Sutter to become a part of the Hurricanes organization. This past season Brandon played his first full season in the NHL, while Brett spent most of the season playing with the Charlotte Checkers, the Hurricanes' American Hockey League affiliate. Brett has played 19 NHL games with the Calgary Flames and Hurricanes over the past three seasons.
"(Growing up) we all pretended to be playing against each other when we were playing street hockey," Brody said. "Now that there's a possibility for all of us to be playing on the big team (together), it's pretty exciting.”
Brody said he knows there's a long way to go until all three might end up playing together in the NHL. "Obviously there's a lot of work to go before it’s still a possibility, which is pretty cool."
Brody has spent the last three seasons playing in the Western Hockey League with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. In an injury-shortened 2010-11, he had 18 goals and 24 assists in 46 games.
While three members of the family with one organization could be considered a fluke, Brody believes there's a reason Carolina has been stocking up on Sutters.
"Character is a pretty big thing in our family and I think Carolina values that a lot in their organization," he said. "They know character takes people a long way."
He also credits Brandon, the Hurricanes' 2007 first-round pick, for showing off his family's character before Brett and Brody were picked up by the team.
"They know Brandon," he said. "They know what kind of person he is and what kind of player he is."
With so many family members in the game, one might think Brody constantly is critiqued by his father, uncles or cousins -- not only did all six Sutter brothers play in the NHL, four of them, including Duane, have coached in the League. However, Brody said he hasn’t had to listen to tons of voices analyzing his game.
"For the most part I just leave it to my coaches and (my uncles) give me small tips here and there, but nothing too much," he said. "It's mainly my dad that I talk to, but if I'm in Red Deer or something and one of my uncles is at the game and they see something, maybe they'll let me know."
Brody is hoping to continue the progression he showed when he improved from 0.19 points per game during the 2009-10 season to 0.91 points per game last season. Although his goal is become the ninth member of his family to make it to the NHL, he knows that despite his last name, there are no guarantees.
"Just got to continue improving as a player and hopefully be a pro player within the next 12 months and make the NHL in two or three years," he said.