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Families on Ice

Making the case for hockey as the ultimate familial sport, from the Granatos to the Sutters to the Hulls to the Lamoureux sisters and more, lots more

by Bob Condor / @NHLSeattle_ /

Hockey is a family game, no doubt. Other sports might aspire to similar claims, but the evidence on ice can be conferred as lightning-fast as a rush up the ice by the NHL's Connor McDavid or USA Hockey's Kendall Coyne. 

As a young girl in suburban Chicago, NHL Seattle pro scout Cammi Granato dreamed of playing in the National Hockey League, same as her older brothers. She played alongside them on local outdoor ice, in the driveway, wherever and whenever, learning and battling. She participated on a boys hockey team since girls hockey was not an organized sport during her childhood. Brother Tony made it to the NHL (he's now coach of the University of Wisconsin men's team), while Donnie Granato is a long-time NHL assistant coach currently working behind the bench in Buffalo. Cammi is the sibling inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and captained the 1998 gold-medal winning USA Olympics women's hockey team, scoring the first-ever Olympic goal for the USA women.

Next, consider the six Sutter brothers from Viking, Alberta, played in the NHL during the 1970s and 1980s. Among them, they won six Stanley Cups as players and appeared in more than 5,000 games. One son, Brandon Sutter of the Vancouver Canucks, is a current NHL player in his 12th season. 

Brian Sutter was five-time all-star during a NHL career spanning from 1977 to 1988. He then served as head coach of St. Louis, Boston, Calgary and Chicago; he won the Jack Adams coach of the year award with St. Louis in 1991 and was a finalist with Chicago during 2002. 

Brother Darryl was the lowest draft selection among the six Sutters-picked 179th overall in what in the 11th round of the 1978 Draft. His playing career last nine seasons, cut short by injuries. He turned to coaching as bench boss for Chicago, San Jose and Calgary (where he led his home province team to Game 7 and a heartbreaking loss in 2004. He remedied some of the ache by leading the Los Angeles Kings to two Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014. 

Twin brothers Ron and Rich were drafted 4th and 10th overall in the 1982 NHL Draft. Ron played 19 seasons and Rich finished after 13 seasons. Duane won Stanley Cups in each of his first four NHL seasons as a member of the New York Islanders, two shared by brother and teammate Brent in 1982 and 1983. In October 1983, Duane and Brent of the Islanders faced younger twin bros Ron and Rich in the same NHL game. There's more to the dizzying Sutter brothers' hockey legacy but, hey, let's get on to more Hockey Families.

In 1991, the St. Louis Blues' Brett Hull won the NHL Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player. His dad, Bobby, Hall of Famer and Chicago Blackhawks slapshot artist extraordinaire, won the Hart twice in 1965 and 1966, which happened to the first two of 13 NHL seasons for Bobby's brother and Brett's uncle Dennis.

Phil Esposito, who played on the "HEM" line in Chicago with Bobby Hull and Chico Maki (whose brother Wayne was later an NHL player) early in his career, is a Hall of Fame player who won two Stanley Cups as a key scorer for the Boston Bruins in 1970 and 1972. Phil's brother Tony is a Hall of Famer too, making his mark as a star goaltender for Chicago over 15 seasons after a 13-game rookie debut in Montreal. 

Point of reference here for less initiated hockey fans: Many goalies are younger brothers, who were included in older brothers' games because either the older brother insisted or the pickup game needed a goalie or both. In the case of NHL goalie Dave Dryden, neighborhood kids skated and played games regular in the Dryden household backyard rink in the Toronto area. Dave insisted younger brother Ken always be included or kids could find somewhere else to skate. Similarly, Phil Esposito shot pucks and tennis balls and you name it at younger brother Tony as kids. 

Ken Dryden went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Montreal Canadiens, winning five Stanley Cups. Dave played 202 NHL games and another 242 with the World Hockey Association, which later disbanded and merged in the NHL. In 1971, the Drydens became the first brothers to ever face each other as goalies in a game; to mark the moment, Dave decided to track down his younger brother at center ice to shake hands after the regular-season contest, a tradition normally reserved for the conclusion of a hockey playoffs series.

Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux are twin sisters who played on the 2014 USA women's Olympic team, which won the gold medal on a shootout winner by Jocelyne. Current young NHL stars Quinn and Jack Hughes learned to skate and play the sport by their mom, Ellen Weinberg-Hughes who played for the U.S. women's national team in the early 1990s, named to the all-star team at the World Championship in 1992. Quinn is a rookie all-star with Vancouver and young brother was the No. 1 pick in last June's NHL Draft, playing this season as an 19-year-old with the New Jersey Devils. Luke Hughes, the youngest, will be draft-eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft, the first for NHL Seattle.

Philadelphia forward Chris Stewart is approaching 700 career games and was a first-round draft choice in 2006. His older brother, Anthony, was a first-round pick in 2003 who played 262 NHL games and now works as a TV analyst.

Whew, that's a bunch of hockey family lore. There's more, such as the fistfuls of Stanley Cups won by Montreal coach and general manager Scotty Bowman and the three his son Stan Bowman earned as Chicago GM in 2010 to 2015. Hall of Fame great Gordie Howe played in pro games alongside sons Mark and Marty. Mark is a Hall of Famer himself. Maurice "Rocket" Richard is a Montreal legend with the NHL's goal-scoring trophy named after him; his brother, Henri, who died at 84 earlier this month, scored a pivotal goal on Chicago's Tony Esposito during Game 7 of the 1971 Stanley Cup Final. 

Let's stop there with a promise for follow-up. Please send us a note on social or send us an email. We want to hear your hockey stories from your family and hockey fandom. 

We pledge to read the notes and report back, plus maybe add some Western Hockey League family stories and open up the NHL treasure trove some more (Tkachuk family, anyone? Amanda and Phil Kessel?). 

We have more of our own family stories too, including brothers Tod Leiweke, NHL Seattle CEO, and Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group, leading the construction of the New Arena at Seattle. Plus, NHL Seattle assistant GM Ricky Olczyk and his brother Eddie, NHL on NBC announcer and long-time NHL star brother. Ricky played youth hockey games against then-friend and now-colleague Cammi Granato. 

The circle goes round and round. We want you to join it. 

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