But if 15-year-old Brendan Van Riemsdyk -- already touted as an emerging equal to big brother James in the power-forward department -- ends up at the University of New Hampshire, half of the Sutter story will come true at the NCAA level.
"Brendan is next; he's got the talent," said Trevor van Riemsdyk, standing outside the UNH locker room under a photo of big brother James and hinting at a possible commitment for a third brother to eventually wear the blue and white. "Just like James, he's a big power forward. He's 15 and a sophomore in high school. He's just got to grow into his body a bit and he's going to be a good one."
James van Riemsdyk was a real good one at New Hampshire from 2007-09 after a productive run with the U.S. National Team Development Program. Taken by the Philadelphia Flyers with the second pick of the 2007 Entry Draft, he's establishing his niche as an NHL power forward in his third season with the Flyers. That blazed the trail for Trevor to make his mark in the Wildcats program.
November Players of the Month
University of Minnesota forward Nick Bjugstad, who led the nation with 9 goals and had 13 points, was named the Hockey Commissioners' Association (HCA) Division I Player of the Month for November. The 6-foot-4, 188-pound sophomore and Florida Panthers' 2010 first-round pick had a point in seven of Minnesota's eight games and a goal in six of the eight.
He also netted the first hat trick of his collegiate career against St. Cloud State on Nov. 18 and got Minnesota on the board first in back-to-back victories against North Dakota.
Brian Ferlin, a freshman forward at Cornell University, was named HCA Rookie of the Month for November. A Boston Bruins' prospect, Ferlin had 5 goals and 6 assists in eight games for the Big Red. Ferlin leads the ECAC Hockey scoring race after posting 10 points in the Big Red's first six conference games.
Does it help in the follow-in-the-footsteps comparison that Trevor is a defenseman?
"Yeah," said James, "maybe it helps, but he'll blaze his own trail there and wow a lot of people. It's good he's coming in a little under the radar. By the time he leaves, he'll make a pretty good name for himself."
The heir apparent to Blake Kessel, who racked up two All-America honors on the Wildcats blue line before leaving last spring to begin his pro career, already is creating that name.
"No doubt, he has a chance to become another Kessel," New Hampshire coach Dick Umile said. "When Blake came in, we liked the way he handled the puck; Trevor has those same skills. He may be one of the better freshman defensemen out there now. He's got composure I haven't seen in a freshman, and well-built and physically strong. He can use some meat on his bones, but he's a strong kid now, so that will only improve. By the time he leaves here, he'll be one of the top college defensemen. He's as good a freshman defenseman as we've ever had and he's out there against top lines just beginning the season."
With 9 points in 16 games, despite his first NCAA point not coming until the fifth game of the season, van Riemsdyk is quite comfortable in his role after reinforcing the family name for two seasons with the nearby junior Manchester Monarchs.
"It's been a good transition so far; the guys have really helped me adjust to this level," Trevor said. "It's very different from playing in juniors -- more attention to detail here. And James definitely has a lot of experience under his belt on huge stages, so he's had some words of wisdom for me as we get going here."
What's in the van Riemsdyk name and genes that contributes to success on higher hockey stages?
"My dad always pushed working hard and being humble; no cockiness, just be one of guys and get along," Trevor said. "James was a high-profile guy coming in here. He just worked hard. It's the way we were brought up. No fancy stuff."
"It's not a secret why the kids have done well," Umile said. "It's how they've been bought up by mom (Allison) and dad (Frans). You'd never know how talented the kids are with no fanfare from the parents. You'd never know James is a superstar coming and their son."
What sold Trevor on UNH?
University of New Hampshire defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk. (Courtesy: University of New Hampshire)
How's the fit so far?
"I have high expectations for myself," Trevor said. "We are a young (defense) core with only one senior. Five of the six of us will be back next year. We're still making young mistakes, but we'll shine through as we break down tape. Confidence is a big part of being an offensive defenseman (and) there's been a lot of confidence shown in me by (Umile). Things are definitely settling in after a few games. I'm getting used to the game at this level, especially the higher speed."
With his older brothers' success at the school, it's likely UNH will be on Brendan van Riemsdyk's short list of NCAA landing sites.
"Brendan is looking at some schools," James said, "so we'll see if the UNH pressure is there for him."
"James made the decision when he was 15 to come here," Umile said. "This is a good fit for families like them. We'd be thrilled if (Brendan comes.)"
"We'll see," Trevor said. "He's definitely a very good player. We'll see how that all pans out."
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Does it provide extra motivation?
"Oh yeah," Trevor said. "It's pretty cool to know James played here and left his mark on the school. To be his brother is pretty proud to see his picture up here."
On Campus Clips -- It was quite a weekend for the Hockey East middle-of-the-pack programs, as Northeastern twice dusted CCHA frontrunner Notre Dame on the road, 9-2, and 2-1, and UMass-Lowell swept UNH, 3-2 and 5-3. But the big hurt was Providence taking down then-No. 1 and unbeaten Merrimack, 2-1 and 6-1. … An ESPN report last week stated the University of North Dakota took its fight over the school's nickname straight to NCAA President Mark Emmert last Friday and lost. After meeting for more than an hour, Emmert told a group of state legislators and school officials he would not compromise on a court-imposed settlement to change the school nickname from Fighting Sioux by Monday's deadline. The school faces a ban from hosting NCAA tournaments and will not be allowed to use the nickname or logo at NCAA tournament games until it makes the change. In addition to NCAA-imposed sanctions, other schools already have threatened to keep North Dakota off their schedules and the Big Sky Conference, which the school hopes to join next fall, has told North Dakota that its conference affiliation could be jeopardized without a resolution. The fight began in 2006 when the NCAA placed North Dakota on a list of 19 schools with American Indian nicknames, logos and mascots it deemed to be "hostile and abusive." The university filed suit against the NCAA, and in October 2007, a court-imposed settlement required school officials to retire the nickname by Aug. 15, 2011, unless the state's two namesake tribes approved its use. The Spirit Lake Sioux tribe has endorsed using the nickname and logo, but the Standing Rock Sioux's tribal council refused to change its long-standing opposition.