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The right stuff

by Jen Rollins / Vancouver Canucks

The Sedin brothers have garnered much attention and fanfare during their successful tenure with the Canucks but they’re not the only brothers in the organization.

With free agent signings in May and August of 2010, the Vancouver Canucks added another pair of talented brothers in Lee and Bill Sweatt.

Unlike the Sedins, there’s little confusion in separating the Sweatts. Lee, the thicker build of the two, plays defence, while a leaner Bill is a speedy winger. Aside from their physical and positional differences, their paths have been somewhat aligned.

The Elburn, IL, natives both cut their teeth south of the border.

Lee got his start with the USHL Chicago Steel where he was third among defencemen in scoring.

Bill spent two of his formative years with the US National Under-18 Team where he finished top five in scoring during his sophomore season among the likes of Patrick Kane, James Van Riemsdyk and Colin Wilson to name a few.

After his time in the NAHL, Lee moved on to Colorado College where he would finish top two in scoring among defencemen in each of his four seasons there. His play helped Colorado College all the way to the NCAA Frozen Four in 2005. In his senior year, his 24 points (9-15-24) in 37 games led all defencemen in scoring and trailed only four forwards including his brother, Bill.

The younger Sweatt, Bill, had joined the Colorado College Tigers that season before his 18th birthday and would finish the season with 26 points (9-17-26) in just 30 games played to finish third overall in scoring. His rookie NCAA season paired with being named Top Offensive Player at the World Junior Championships was enough to catch the Chicago Blackhawks scouts’ attention as they selected him 38th overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Bill would finish his senior year in 2009.10 as the leading scorer for the Tigers.

Meanwhile, Lee developed his game in the KHL in Russia and the SM-liiga in Finland, where he set a record for points scored by a defenceman with 13 points (7-6-13) in one playoff season en route to helping TPS Turku capture the league championship. He won the Pekka Rautakallio trophy as best defencemen and shortly thereafter was signed by Vancouver.

By summer’s end, both Sweatts were a part of the Canucks organization.

Since joining the Canucks, the Sweatts have contributed greatly to the success of Canucks affiliate the Manitoba Moose. Bill is in third among Moose scorers with eight points (3-5-8) in 13 games while Lee shares the lead among all defencemen in scoring with six points (3-3-6) in 13 contests. Lee leads the team in plus/minus at plus-8 and Bill is not far behind him, third overall with a plus-4 rating for goals scored at even strength.

Game by game, the Sweatts are showing they’ve got all the right stuff.

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