DALLAS -- Jamie Benn
is currently in his third NHL season, so facing the Detroit Red Wings
tonight will be nothing new for the 22-year-old Dallas winger. But tonight's game will mark the NHL debut of older brother Jordie, a 24-year-old defenseman who was recalled from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League on Sunday.
In 31 games in the AHL, Jordie Benn
had 7 goals and 15 points. He will be half of the Stars' third defensive pairing, skating alongside Mark Fistric
Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan knows the elder Benn well after having coached him in the AHL last season.
"We're in the business of winning hockey games, so we want the best player from down there and he was that guy. He's going to get a well-deserved opportunity," Gulutzan said.
Benn has only been up with the Stars for a few days, but he's already earning rave reviews for his solid play.
"We were partners in one of the exhibition games. I thought that we were a pretty solid pair," Fistric said. "He keeps it simple but he has that skill part of his game as well. I think that's what makes him valuable. Obviously, he's progressed nicely and that's why he’s here."
Both Benn parents will be in attendance for tonight's contest, one of several trips they usually make from their native British Columbia to see Jamie play. But it's clear tonight’s game will be extra special for all parties involved.
"I think it's going to be really special. It's something I was definitely hoping would happen in the summer," Jamie Benn
said. "When he signed his contract, I knew there might be a chance. Tonight's going to be special for me, him and our family."
Jamie added: "They [our parents] wouldn't miss this for the world. They just flew in last night. When my brother told my mom and dad, they got pretty emotional. It's pretty special -- having two kids make the NHL, let alone play on the same team and be in the same game together."
About the only member of their immediate family who won't make the trip is the Benns' sister, who will instead be catching this one on TV.
Even though he is 24 and nearly a full two years older than Jamie, the elder Benn admits there will be some nerves.
"For sure, it's a dream come true. I'll try not to think about it and just go play hockey," Jordie Benn
But the man who will be skating alongside the Stars rookie blueliner feels he has the mental makeup to handle tonight's debut with few if any hiccups.
“I think he's a pretty mature guy," Fistric said. "Your first shift is the most nerve-racking one and after that, you settle down and it's another hockey game. It's an exciting time, playing your first ever NHL game. I know I still remember mine, and I don't think there’s a guy that doesn't remember his. It's a great time and it's awesome for the family, especially when you have two brothers playing in the NHL. I wish that could have happened for me. It's an exciting time for him and I think he's going to be great."
The Benns will be the sixth set of brothers to skate for the Stars franchise. The last pair to do so was Derian and Kevin Hatcher