Today we’ll explore a subject that is near and dear to all of our hearts and livers, NHL players who are (or are they??) brothers. This topic comes about every time the Rangers play Carolina and Sam and Joe have a party over reminding us that Staals are brothers, which has become a fairly popular drinking game amongst the Rangers fan base who enjoy adult beverages from time to time. This has led me to wondering about other potential brothers, so here we go….
Last Name: Staal | Relation: Brothers
Yes, they’re brothers. Just look at them – seriously, they all look alike. The four brothers (from oldest to youngest) – Eric, Marc, Jordan and Jared – have all had more than just a minute playing professional hockey. We can thank the patriarch, Henry, for building the boys a rink in their native Thunder Bay and imbedding hockey into them at a young age. Eric has been captain of Carolina since 2010, with Jordan serving as one of his alternates since he was traded in 2012, and Marc has been a Rangers alternate captain since 2010. Jared hasn’t quite broken in yet with the Carolina organization, but it’s safe to say the genes in this family are pretty decent. Spanning from ages 23-29, the brothers have over 1,500 NHL games played with over 1,000 points (and remember, Marc is a defenseman), two Stanley Cup wins, two World Junior golds, and one Olympic gold medal. Not sure if the Rangers fans have quite forgiven Eric for concussing Marc in 2011, but next time you think your family gatherings are awkward, imagine what their Christmas must have been like that year, as Marc missed the first three months of the 2011-2012 season due to post-concussion symptoms.
Fun fact: Jordan and Eric got arrested at Eric’s bachelor party in 2007.
Last Name: Sedin | Relation: Twins
We all know identical twins share a lot – they’ve got the same chromosomes, for goodness sake – but in the Sedins show that we don’t have to stop there. Not only do they share physical traits, they also share awards that I didn’t even know could go to two recipients. I’m legitimately surprised that the two aren’t co-captains of the Canucks – Henrik currently wears the “C,” with Daniel sporting an “A.” The 33 year old Swedish brothers have had identical career paths since they came to the NHL in 2000; winning Olympic gold with Sweden in 2006, and oftentimes being nominated for the same awards. Between the two brothers, they’ve racked up 1,550 points, with 141 in the playoffs, over 1,846 games played. Now that Torts is behind the bench in Vancouver, the thought of them being split up isn’t too crazy – or is it? Social experiment time, please.
Fun Fact: Daniel switched to wing in order to play on the same line with his brother while playing for Swedish team Modo.
Last Name: Backstrom | Relation: None, just a crazy coincidence
Nicklas Backstrom and Niklas Backstrom. I mean, if they were brothers, their parents would be pretty hilarious but more mean than anything else. Niklas is a 35-year-old Finnish goalie who’s currently splitting starts on the Wild with Josh Harding, Nicklas is a 26-year-old Swedish alternate captain for the Capitals. Nicklas was the youngest player in Swedish history to play at Worlds in 2006, where he won gold. According to one insurance agency’s commercial, he can also score 15 goals in 15 seconds on an empty net. Of the three games played against each other, Backstrom (WSH) has only scored on Backstrom (MIN) once. I cannot fathom how entertaining that play call must have been, but google knows I tried to find out.
Fun fact: Nicklas is Backstrom’s middle name, his actual birth name is Lars.
Last Name: Gionta | Relation: Brothers
Ahh, a last name that most Ranger fans will know: Gionta. Both brothers have played for the Devils across the Hudson. These Rochester natives are both physically similar, being small (both listed at 5’7”) and using speed as their greatest asset. Brian, the elder of the brothers, is the captain of the Canadiens and the second shortest current NHL player. Stephen, playing with the Devils, follows in his brother’s tenacious lead to play a quick, gritty game to be successful. The Giontas are the prototypes for the Canadiens team that always irks (and often beats) the Rangers.
Fun fact: Brian’s nickname is “the Rochester Rocket” — Stephen’s is “the Rochester Pocket Rocket.” At an age that is well out of college years, this makes me laugh harder than it should.
Last Name: Kassian | Relation: None
Kassians Zack and Matt are not related, but they are similar players in theory; Zack is an enforcer and Matt tries to be when he’s not a scratch. Zack, a 22-year-old Vancouver Canucks winger, had tremendous potential due to his size and aggressive play. Drafted 13th overall by the Sabres, his early scoring woes, off-ice behavior and overaggressive play led to him not being a consistent NHL player until he was traded. Matt is a 26 year old Senators winger who has spent most of his career in the AHL. His NHL career is marked with a lot of bench time (averaging just under 4 minutes of ice time per game), and a lot of penalty box time (126 PIM). Should be interesting to see if anything happens as Zack matures, but as someone who spends too much time watching Ottawa games, even writing about Matt gives me post-traumatic stress disorder.
Fun fact: This exists. The Kassassin? Alright.