For the first time, the Ducks are hosting a Siblings Trip as they head out for two games in Colorado and Arizona, in which they are accompanied by a group of 13 that includes six sisters, six brothers and one mother.
The Ducks, like many NHL teams, have done Dads Trips for years (in which players' fathers join the team on the road) but never one with siblings.
"We think it's an opportunity for their families to experience what the 'prized one' in the family is doing for a living," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "I'm sure they're all excited and hopefully they have a good time and we have some success, where the players take on the motto of win one for my brother or my sister or my mother."
Among those in the travel group is Marty Bieksa, big brother of Ducks defenseman Kevin and the oldest of three boys (there is also a younger brother named Brian). "We don't see each other too much during the season, so this is great," Kevin said of Marty. "Most of our memories are during the summers, where we usually get together with all the families. You've got to take advantage of these for sure. It's nice to share this week with him."
Agreed Marty, "We like each other, we like hanging out. We don't do it very much, and we like to take advantage of it when we have the chance. I'm looking forward to the trip, it's gonna be a lot of fun and we'll create some good memories."
It's actually the second siblings trip for Marty, who joined Kevin and his Vancouver Canucks teammates for a jaunt to Phoenix and Dallas six years ago. "For the record, they were undefeated on the trip," Marty pointed out. "So the recipe is there for a successful siblings trip to share with this team."
When Carlyle heard of Marty's unblemished record on siblings trips, he remarked, "Then he might stay here for awhile."
Marty and Kevin held court in the Ducks locker room following practice this afternoon, reminiscing about their rambunctious upbringings together.
"There were quite a few wrestling matches around the house [among the three brothers], a few fights," said the affable Marty. "I remember our dad training us how to fight in the backyard with a boxing glove and a hockey glove. Each of us got one and he encouraged us to beat the [tar] out of each other."
Added Kevin, "We were big wrestling fans too, so we used to have Royal Rumbles, and try to climb the fence while the other guy ripped him down. We were just a regular family of three boys who were rowdy and like to compete and battle and wrestle, and occasionally hit each other. But I don't think there were any real serious fights. But I do think we're definitely the two toughest in the family, and then our younger brother and our dad are kind of fighting over third."
"In fact," Marty chimed in, "some of our best fights were ones where we teamed up on other people."
That apparently came to a head on the ice where, "I used to have a team that I put together that consisted of my brothers and cousins and close friends," Kevin said. "They didn't really want us coming back after the one year. One guy kind of kneed me, and the next thing you know, he was just getting mauled by every Bieksa on the ice."
Said Marty, "There might have been a cross-check or two. There might have been a run from center ice to run a guy through the boards. There might have been a proud dad at the glass watching all three of us beat the crap out of the other team."
Added Kevin, "We told one guy after the game, don't come to the lineup to shake hands or else. Sure enough, he lined up to shake hands, and he put his hand up to shake it, and our younger brother sucker punched him right in the face. So we had fun, as you can see."
The sibling relationship is a bit different for Ducks defenseman Josh Manson and his younger sister, Meagan, who didn't scrap nearly as much as the Bieksas.
"I think it's gonna be a blast," Josh said of the trip. "It's cool that she's gonna get to see the ins-and-outs of everything and the way we live when we're on the road. It will be fun to get to spend some time with her because I don't get to do that much during the season."
Both Josh and Meagan were raised by their dad Dave, who played 16 seasons in the NHL, and while Josh followed in his father's footsteps, Meagan has made a name for herself in soccer. She is the senior captain of the University of Saskatchewan women's team, where she was named a Canada West All-Star.
"I'm extremely proud," Josh said. "I've been watching her the entire time at U of S. Before that, she's worked so hard to get to where she is now. It's nice to have somebody else in the family other than my dad who plays sports at a high level like that you can communicate with."
Meagan is also a business student who found time out of her schedule to join her brother and the rest of the travel party on this trip."It's a cool opportunity to come out here and see what he does day to day and what his ritual is like, and how it differs from mine," Meagan said. "I got to see my dad play when I was younger, but you don't really remember it that much. But with this, it's cool to see what he actually does."
Matthew Cogliano hasn't followed the athletic path of his brother Andrew, instead making a living as a seventh-grade teacher in Toronto. He said of this trip, "It's awesome. It's good to get the insight of what goes on and meet some of the guys."
Of his brother, Matthew says, "He's a quiet guy, very determined. He's focused on what he does. Growing up, he was pretty reserved, but he's got a bit of a mean streak in him, which is good for hockey. I don't, which is probably why he's doing this and I'm not."
Corey Perry's brother Adam, who like their father is in Canadian law enforcement, is also a former junior and minor league player who actually went through rookie camp with the Ducks in 2006 and most recently played a bit for the Syracuse Crunch in 2010-11.
Among the other siblings on the trip:
- Hampus Lindholm's sister, Malin (who recently moved to California to play soccer at Long Beach State)
- Jakob Silfverberg's brother, Jan Joakim
- Ryan Getzlaf's brother-in-law, Marco
- Ryan Kesler's sister, Jenny
- Rickard Rakell's brother, Robin
- Antoine Vermette's sister, Emmanuelle
- Shea Theodore's sister, Alyssa
- Joseph Cramarossa's sister, Alessandra
- Jonathan Bernier's mother, Lyne
Check back at AnaheimDucks.com and the Ducks social media accounts for more stories from the siblings trip.