DETROIT – A day never seemed to go by without the Smith brothers demolishing their parents’ suburban Toronto basement.
“It was a mess. The TV was always a disaster, the walls, everything,” Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith said. “We used to get into a little bit of trouble, but I know that deep down inside (our parents) were so ecstatic that we’d play this much and we had such a good relationship between us three.”
Smith and his brothers, Rory and Reilly, have always gotten along, maybe because they all shared similar dreams that have come true. For the second time in the last week, Brendan Smith and his younger brother, Reilly, a rookie winger with the Dallas Stars, will face-off in a NHL game.
Rory, the oldest of the Smith brothers, is a defenseman for the Colorado Mammoth in the National Lacrosse League, where he is arguably the best fighter in the nine-team league. He attended the Stars’ 2-1 victory at Joe Louis Arena last Tuesday.
“We always felt we were going to be successful and play” professionally, Brendan Smith said. “I mean, it was always a dream and I guess when you’re young you just always think you’re going to make it.”
For the second time in the last week, Brendan Smith and Reilly will face-off in a NHL game.
“For me to play against (Reilly) in the NHL was an unbelievable feeling,” Brendan Smith said. “I don’t even know what it’s like for my parents and my grandfather. Every time I looked at my grandfather, he was almost in tears. It’s pretty cool to see and definitely an honor for sure.”
Brendan and Reilly will be playing in their 20th and ninth NHL games, respectively, tonight. While Brendan spent far more time in the minor-leagues, he said that Reilly’s relatively quick ascension to the Stars’ roster is well-deserved.
“He’s so talented and I know how hard he’s worked through all the years of watching him and helping him out,” Brendan said. “I’m just impressed that he made the jump.”
The energy level and competitiveness between the three brothers was always on display at home, whether they were playing in the basement or in the street.
“My parents used to tell us that when we’d have our friends over, our friends would quit early, because they couldn’t keep playing with us because we were too competitive or too rough,” Smith said. “They end up going upstairs and hanging out with our parents and it was always just us three left down in the basement.”
Did anyone ever get hurt in the rough basement games?
“We’d get in a little trouble when somebody would come upstairs with no teeth or whatever,” Brendan Smith said. “It was fun, but at the same time, there were some bumps and bruises.”
The hockey-playing Smiths spent the NHL lockout in the American Hockey League, Brendan with the Grand Rapids Griffins, and Reilly with the Texas Stars. Tonight is the fifth time that the brothers will face-off this season.
“I can’t let him get two steps up on me,” Brendan said, “so we’ve got to win tonight.”
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