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Hughes brothers excited for first head-to-head NHL game

Quinn, Canucks to face Jack, Devils, with 75-80 family members, friends expected on hand

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Jack Hughes and Quinn Hughes have been on the ice together before.

They were teammates at international tournaments and played against each other at an NCAA Division I college arena last season, but when the New Jersey Devils host the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; SN, MSG+, NHL.TV), they will face each other for the first time in an NHL game.

"I played against him all summer, so I'm sure the only difference will be we're in an NHL game wearing an NHL jersey," said Jack, an 18-year-old center who was selected by the Devils with the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. "It'll be pretty exciting and I'm looking forward to it."

Quinn, a 20-year-old defenseman who was selected with the No. 7 pick by the Canucks in the 2018 NHL Draft, said the other members of the Hughes family likely will be more nervous about the game than him and his younger brother.

"It's nerve-wracking for our parents every time we play, but it's the same for any parent in any game," Quinn said. "Everyone hopes we play well, but I don't think they're going to be any more nervous because we're playing each other."

Video: LAK@VAN: Hughes blasts PPG home for first career goal

The brothers were teammates for the United States at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship and the 2019 IIHF World Championship, and they went head-to-head in a 6-3 win for Jack's USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team against Quinn's University of Michigan at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Oct. 12, 2018.

"What do I remember about that game? I remember walking in there and beating him 6-3," Jack said with a grin Friday. "It was a pretty exciting day for our family. I think my parents were a little nervous, hoping we weren't on the ice together. It was funny playing him ... every time I looked over to his bench I was laughing."

Jack got the best of Quinn that day with a goal and two assists; Quinn had no points and two shots on goal. Jack also won the opening face-off against his brother, who despite being a defenseman was given the opportunity by Michigan coach Mel Pearson.

"My parents were relieved when it was over," Jack said. "My mom would rather be rooting for us than hoping one scores and one doesn't get scored on. My parents were both pretty into it, but I think my dad is more calm-looking, laid back, but he can get pretty intense. My mom is kind of just happy we're here and doing well."

John Wroblewski, who coached Quinn and Jack at the NTDP, said the game will be special not only for Jack and Quinn, but their entire family.

"They're each other's biggest fans," Wroblewski said of the brothers. "I think to line up against each other on a worldwide stage and be able to compete, but at the same time being proud of the other one and their accomplishments, is kind of a storybook-type situation."

Video: NYR@NJD: Hughes records first point on Wood's goal

Jack said he anticipates 75-80 family members and friends will be at the game, including his parents. But Luke Hughes, the youngest of the three brothers at 16, won't be able to attend since he'll be playing for the NTDP Under-17 team at Chicago of the United States Hockey League.

Quinn, who is 19 months older than Jack, constantly battled with his brother for superiority in their mini-stick games in the basement of their Toronto home. Luke, who is 28 months younger than Jack, would join in the games that helped establish a solid bond among brothers.

"The one thing that pops out for me in Quinn's game is his shiftiness, his elusiveness," said Jack, who got his first NHL point on an assist in the Devils' 5-2 win against the New York Rangers on Thursday. "I think it's second-to-none. The way he can shake a guy at the blue line or in the corner is a really special ability."

Quinn, who has three points (one goal, two assists) in six games this season, said he admires Jack's competitiveness.

"He doesn't shy away from the tough areas," Quinn said, comparing their style of play to that of brothers Matthew Tkachuk and Brady Tkachuk, who play for the Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators, respectively. "People ask me to explain the similarities of (Matthew and Brady) and what they're like and I always say they've got hearts of lions. I feel the same way about Jack. He plays in the tough areas and that's what I've always respected about him."

Of course, the big question is which team mom and dad will represent during the game.

"I would tell them not to wear anything," Quinn said. "If my parents ever showed up to a game wearing my jersey, I would be, 'No, that's amateur hour.' I think they'll probably wear nothing."

Either way, Luke says he believes it will be a fun but stressful game for the Hughes family.

"I think mom and dad will be really intense," Luke said. "I don't think there's going to be rooting sides. I think most of my cousins will wear like a Vancouver jersey and a Devils hat, or vice versa. But hopefully there's a lot of 50-50 splitting going on."

NHL.com independent correspondent Kevin Woodley contributed to this report

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