Daniel and Henrik Sedin are not the first pair of twins to play in the NHL.
In fact, out of the five pairs, they’re not even the first pair of Swedish twins. But the combined leadership and skill they have brought to the Vancouver Canucks for over a decade will see them go down as one of the best.
Athletic siblings have a unique advantage over the competition. They push each other to be faster and stronger. They trust each other to be honest. In times that pose mental, physical, and emotional challenges, they know how to support each other. For Daniel and Henrik, the most difficult challenges came from their transition to the NHL and their first few years in North America. Luckily, they were with each other every step of the way.
“I think it was important to have someone to talk to and just be with,” said Daniel of those early days. “He went through the same things as me and we talked every day about what we could do to get better… we both helped each other to get better. It's been great and we're both so fortunate."
Former teammate Trent Klatt commented on how they were inseparable, watching and learning together. “They were always together. They were very shy, very quiet; they kept to themselves."
Fifteen years later, those two once-shy kids are the respected leaders of their team, especially in their ability on the ice. Teammates have cited how Daniel and Henrik seem to be able to “read” each other without even a glance and improvise impressive plays in the offensive zone. The two are aware of each other’s weaknesses and able to play off each other’s strengths. They’ll never hog the puck from their third linesman, but to compete alongside them, you need to leave your ego behind. According to Trent Klatt, “You need to be humble [and] unselfish to play with them."
‘Humble’ and ‘unselfish’ are two words also used to describe their off-ice personalities, despite all their individual achievements. Henrik won the Art Ross Trophy in 2009-10 when he led the league in scoring; Daniel won it the following year. Henrik has won the Hart Memorial Trophy for the NHL’s most valuable player, while Daniel was awarded the Ted Lindsay Award as the most outstanding player. Henrik has appeared in three NHL all-star games, and Daniel in two. In 2006, they helped Sweden to a gold medal in the Olympic Games. Yet they never compare these accomplishments against each other. They’ve become experts at laughing off the “Who’s the better player?” question.
“We play on the same line, we play on the same team. We want to help the team win. You can’t be competitive in that regard if you want to win games,” said Daniel. “If he played on another team it would be another story.” Recently, they’ve taken on the role of mentor to the younger players who are newly navigating the NHL on their own.
Some people believe that the Sedin twins’ on-ice chemistry comes from a lifetime of playing together. Others think there really is something to the idea of twin telepathy. Whatever their secret, in the seasons to come they’ll continue to maintain the high standard of excellence that they’ve instilled in the team. Could they have done it alone? Perhaps, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as fun.
On March 27th, when the Canucks face the Chicago Blackhawks on home-ice for the second and final time this season, we will pay tribute to Henrik and Daniel for their many contributions to the Canucks organization both on and off the ice. Be here to help us honour and celebrate these talented leaders and all their accomplishments.
Story by: Katerina Cookson