Imagine later on, in 10, 15, 20 years from now they’ll remember this day. It was neat to see them on the blue line for the National anthem, side-by-side. That was pretty cool. That was great. - Bob Hartley
CALGARY, AB -- It was a moment not lost on Freddie Hamilton and Dougie Hamilton.
Suiting up together -- on the same team, in the same game -- for the first time in the National Hockey League, the brothers found themselves standing together as the lights dimmed at Scotiabank Saddledome for the Canadian National anthem.
“It was a special feeling,” Dougie said. “You’re standing there thinking of some past memories….our first OHL game together standing on the blue line together. I remember that pretty clearly, too. Just all the times we’ve been back playing together. It was pretty cool to experience that. Looking back at it now it was an experience I’ll never forget.”
Playing in his first game with the Flames, the moment might’ve initially escaped Freddie.
“Honestly, I was just trying to think about that first shift,” he said. “Obviously it’s a really special experience for us and our family. Getting to stand beside each other there was a moment we’ll never forget. But really I was just worried about that first draw and try to have a good first shift.”
The brothers played together with Niagara of the Ontario Hockey League from 2009 to 2012. They also represented Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championship in Calgary.
Parents Doug and Lynn, former Olympic athletes in rowing and basketball, made the trip to Calgary to see their two sons on the same side.
“It brought back good memories of how it used to be, how we used to drive home together and hang out with our parents and talk a little bit about the game with them,” Freddie said. “It brought back good memories.
“It’s the whole experience, being able to go out there and play with him and have our parents watch, not only in junior but the World Juniors. That comes into my mind, for sure, playing with him.”
Freddie was an emergency recall from Stockton of the American Hockey League earlier Wednesday.
It was a call from Flames coach Bob Hartley to install him in the starting lineup alongside Dougie.
“We’re in a competitive business, top of the food chain when it comes to the NHL, but at the same time when you can do little things…for them it’s probably huge,” Hartley said. “I met their parents after the game. That’s so important. For me, as an organization, I think that what we did was just the right thing. For us, it’s a detail. For them, last night is a great moment.
“Imagine later on, in 10, 15, 20 years from now they’ll remember this day. It was neat to see them on the blue line for the National anthem, side-by-side. That was pretty cool. That was great. I grabbed them before the game. I told them they would be starting. I just thought looking at our situation, helping them out, giving them a moment…this game is all about moments, big goals and everything. This is a special occasion. For us it was just common sense to do it.”
The Flames acquired Dougie in a draft day trade with the Boston Bruins last June, and signed the 22-year-old defenceman to a six-year contract.
Calgary dealt a conditional draft pick to the Colorado Avalanche for Freddie’s rights in October and assigned the forward to the AHL. He spent the season in Stockton until Wednesday’s recall.
They became the first brothers since Robyn Regehr and Richie Regehr in 2006-07 to play for the Flames.
“It’s just exciting,” Dougie said. “It’s pretty cool thinking back to when we were little. Realistically, the chances of us playing together in the NHL is pretty slim, so to be able to accomplish that was pretty cool. We want more, now. We both have to keep working hard to be able to do more.”