Tenay Talk - featuring Darryl Sutter and the Sutter family

Sunday, 03.25.2012 / 3:29 PM / Features
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Tenay Talk - featuring Darryl Sutter and the Sutter family
By Mike Tenay

The December hire of Darryl Sutter as Kings’ head coach immediately brought to mind the role and importance of family in the sport of hockey.  While there's no question that brother or father-son combinations have had their place in baseball, football and basketball history, the impact of bloodlines in the NHL dwarfs the other sports and leagues.

Of course the Sutters are the World Heavyweight Champions of Hockey Families.  Darryl is one of seven brothers, six of whom made it to the NHL in the 1970s and 1980s (the list of brothers also includes Brent, Brian, Duane, Rich and Ron).

Four of the brothers have gone on to become NHL coaches and general managers.

As a group, the six Sutters played over 5,000 NHL games, winning six Stanley Cups in the process.

If you are wondering about the seventh brother, Gary, the family claims he was the best hockey player of all the boys.  But Gary stayed home in Viking, Alberta, Canada, to work on the family farm.  A lot of people compare playing in the NHL to hitting the lottery.  Well, Gary might not have played in the NHL, but according to the CBC, he and a group of British Columbia co-workers did win a $10 million lottery!

A second generation of Sutters is making a mark in the hockey world.  Brandon, son of Brent, is in his third season with the Carolina Hurricanes.  Darryl's son, Brett, became the eighth member of the family to play in the NHL when he joined the Calgary Flames in 2008.  Brian's son, Shaun, was drafted by the Flames in 1998 and is currently an assistant coach in the Western Hockey League.  Speaking of the WHL, Duane's son, Brody, and Rich's son, Lukas, play in that league while Merrick, son of Brent, is a video coach.

Famous NHL family trees aren't limited to the Sutters.

In Vancouver, there are the Sedins.  Daniel and Henrik, the identical twins from Sweden, have spent the past decade setting records and winning awards for the Canucks.

The closest competition for the Sutters these days are the Staals.  Four Ontario-born boys in their 20s with NHL ties.  Eric in Carolina.  Jordan in Pittsburgh.  Marc with the New York Rangers and Jared in the Carolina organization.

In the past, Detroit Red Wings great Gordie Howe came out of retirement to play with sons Mark and Marty in both the WHA and NHL.  The Howes were the only father-son combination to play together in the NHL.

"The Golden Jet" Bobby Hull and his brother Dennis played together for eight years in Chicago.  Bobby's son, Brett, starred for five NHL teams.  Bobby and Brett are the only father-son combination to both achieve the marks of 50 goals in a season and more than 600 NHL goals for a career.  They are also the only father-son combination to win the Hart Trophy and Lady Bing Trophy.

In Montreal it was the Richards in the 1940s and 1950s.  Maurice "The Rocket" was the first player to score 50 goals in 50 games.  His brother, Henri, was also a Canadiens captain and a Hall of Famer.

The three Czech-born Stastnys (Peter, Marian and Anton) played together for the Quebec Nordiques.  Today, Peter's son, Paul, is a member of the Colorado Avalanche while Yan, Paul's older brother, played for three NHL teams.

The Espositos dominated at both ends of the ice.  Phil shattered goal scoring records in the pre-Gretzky era.  Goalie Tony, just one year younger, recorded 15 shutouts in 1970, a record that still stands today.

In NHL history, 47 pairs of brothers have played together on the same team, and among them 10 have won the Stanley Cup together.

Brothers have faced each other five times in the Stanley Cup Finals, the last being Rob and Scott Niedermayer in 2003.

And if your head isn't spinning yet from this “All In The Family” look at the National Hockey League, how about one more?

Dean Lombardi and Bob Pulford…Yes, a son-in-law and father-in-law who both became general managers of the Los Angeles Kings!