From Benn to Schenn: Brothers in the NHL – Part 2

As clubs recall and reassign players between leagues, the pairs of brothers currently assigned to NHL rosters circulate frequently. Four sets of brothers currently play for the same clubs; the Benns, Schenns, Sedins, and Staals. However, there is an ever-revolving cast of brothers in direct competition throughout the season. Here are seven more sets (and a few honorable mentions) who are active in the NHL this season.

[Related: From Benn to Schenn: Brothers in the NHL – Part 1]

Markus and Mikael Granlund

mikael granlund
Mikael Granlund played with younger brother, Markus, for the Finnish national team.

The Flames recently recalled Markus Granlund in an attempt to maintain their playoff berth. After 21 games with the Adirondack Flames, Markus rejoined Calgary in mid-March, shaking up the team’s roster. Older brother, Mikael, currently plays for the Wild, holding a Western Conference wild card spot.

While the Wild took Mikael ninth overall in 2010, Calgary chose Markus in the second round in 2011. In 2010, Markus and Mikael had the honor of winning a bronze medal for Finland in the World Junior Championship. By 2011, Mikael went on to win gold in the World Championship, later scoring seven points in six games as Finland took bronze in the 2014 Olympics.

With Calgary fighting their way to the playoffs, this season is Markus’ chance to get a step up on his brother’s success:

“(Markus) is always in the shadows of his older brother, and I think that really drives him. I’ve talked to his mom about the brothers, and they get along great. But there is competition, and he has always taken a little bit of a back-seat, so even his mom said Markus wants to prove to everybody he is a player also. With that kind of fire and his work ethic, I have a feeling he has a big upside.” – Adirondack Flames General Manager, Craig Conroy, via Calgary Sun

Dougie and Freddie Hamilton

Younger brother, Dougie, is a standby on the Bruins’ blue line, but Freddie recently scored his first NHL goal, a game winner for the Avalanche. Chosen in the first round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft while playing with the Niagara Ice Dogs, 6’5”, 212 pound Dougie Hamilton is solid at only 21 years old. From 2010 to 2013, Dougie had a successful junior career with the Canadian national team, winning silver in the World U-17 Hockey Challenge, gold in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament, and bronze in the 2012 World Junior Championship.

Freddie followed a similar path, playing with the Niagara Ice Dogs before the Sharks chose him in the fifth round in 2010. The older of the two brothers won a gold medal with Canada in the 2009 World U-17 Hockey Challenge, and later medaled bronze in the 2012 World Junior championship.

Oddly, these Toronto natives weren’t born into a hockey family. Their parents, Doug and Lynn Hamilton, met participating in the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. Their father medaled in rowing, while their mother took fourth-place in Canadian women’s basketball. Unlike many siblings, the Hamiltons claim to have helped each other grow as players, without the competitive streak that many brothers harbor. Having played for the same teams in their youth, Freddie described their first matchup as “surreal.”

Brayden and Luke Schenn

While the Hamilton’s claim no sibling rivalry, the Schenns believe their intra-team rivalry promotes more competitive play.  Brayden and Luke Schenn didn’t take a direct path to the same team like the Jamie and Jordie Benn. Instead, Toronto took Luke in round one of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, while Los Angeles took Brayden in the first round in 2009.

As a forward, Brayden ranks among the Flyers top five scorers this season, but Luke is known for his charity efforts. In his time with the Maple Leafs, Luke donated $10,000 to start “Luke’s Troops,” giving Canadian servicemen and women the opportunity to attend a game as his guests. During their time together in Philadelphia, the brothers hosted the Luke & Brayden Schenn Celebrity Golf Classic in 2012 and 2014, raising a combined $370,000 for the Royal University Hospital across both years.

[Related: The Mutual Need Between Brayden Schenn and the Flyers]

Daniel and Henrik Sedin

sedins drafted 1999
Daniel and Henrik Sedin were drafted second and third overall in 1999.

As the only identical twins in the NHL, the Sedins are tricky. Having traded places for interviews, Henrik also claims he circled around Daniel to re-enter the faceoff circle when the referee once kicked him out in Sweden. The twins are known for their similarities, but their differences are evident to long-time teammates. Daniel is known for punctuality, while Henrik is consistently tardy. Teammates consider Daniel reserved and conscientious, whereas Henrik is more outgoing.

The twins also share a deep competitive streak. Unlike other sibling pairs in the NHL, Daniel and Henrik share the same career history. Both played for their hometown team, MODO Hockey Ornskoldsvik, until the Canucks chose them second and third overall in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. To this day, Daniel only trails Henrik by a mere 35 career points due to past injuries.

Daniel and Henrik have made a big impact on the Vancouver community with their charitable contributions. In 2010, the twins donated $1.5 million to help build a BC Children’s hospital, supporting the Campaign for BC Children. In 2013, the brothers launched “Sedin Corner” at Rogers Arena; a suite dedicated to organizations that promote children’s health, education, and wellness. This season, the brothers and their wives created the Sedin Family Foundation to contribute to community centers and schools in the Vancouver area.

Brendan and Reilly Smith

Born three years apart, Brendan and Reilly lacked opportunities to play for the same junior teams, but both followed a similar path to the NHL. Brendan spent three years playing for the University of Wisconsin, while younger brother, Reilly, played three for Miami University. The Red Wings took Brendan in the second round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, while the Stars chose Reilly in the third round in 2009.

Following the stunning trade that sent Reilly Smith and Loui Eriksson to the Bruins in exchange for Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley, these brothers finally faced each other in the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Eric, Jordan, and Marc Staal

Nothing is rock solid in fantasy hockey. As Marc Staal found out, the hockey gods can be very cruel. (Bridget Samuels/Flickr)
Marc Staal plays opposite his brothers in the NHL. (Bridget Samuels/Flickr)

It’s rare for two brothers to play on the same team, much less for three or four brothers to play in the same league. Initially, the Hurricanes took Eric second overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He has since played center on the team following his debut in that year. Two years later, the Rangers drafted Marc twelfth overall in 2005, and he was finally called up for his blue line debut in 2007. Pittsburgh then drafted Jordan second overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, immediately adding him to the roster. Finally, the Coyotes drafted the youngest brother, Jared, in the second round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

While Marc still plays for the New York Rangers, his three brothers each found their way to the Hurricanes roster. Jared is still building his career with the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL, but made his NHL debut playing on a line with his brothers in April 2013.

Eric Staal
Oldest brother, Eric Staal, is the Hurricanes’ captain.

Each Staal brother has shown amazing success in their junior and professional careers. Eric Staal won the Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006, made four All-Star Game appearances, and won gold medals with Canada in the 2007 World Championship and 2010 Olympics.

Marc Staal, three years Eric’s junior, competed in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final that was lost to Los Angeles. During his junior career, Marc won gold medals in the World U-17 Hockey Challenge and Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, as well as two World Junior Championships.

Jordan, the third-born brother, took gold in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and the 2007 World Championship. He currently holds NHL records for the youngest player to score two shorthanded goals in a game, the youngest player to score a penalty shot, and the youngest to score a hat trick. Jordan also broke the record for the most short-handed goals scored by a rookie when he tallied seven in the 2006-07 season.

[Related: Q & A with Marc Staal of the New York Rangers]

James and Trevor van Riemsdyk

While the Flyers chose James van Riemsdyk second overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, his younger brother, Trevor, signed with the Blackhawks after three years at the University of New Hampshire. Due to a two-year age difference, the brothers never played against each other in their youth. When they faced each other for the first time as a Blackhawk and Maple Leaf in October 2015, their sibling rivalry was in full force.

The youngest van Riemsdyk brother, Brendan, has a few more years before he reaches the NHL. Following in his brothers’ collegiate footsteps, Brendan committed to the University of New Hampshire for the 2015-16 season.
Before James and Trevor’s first NHL matchup, their father, Frans, told Pierre LeBrun of his sons’ early rivalry. In their parents’ newly renovated basement, the brothers duked it out with mini sticks:

“It all looked pretty good when the contractor got done, but seven or eight years later, after I can’t even count how many games the boys had down there, the paneling was all banged up, there were holes in the wall, countless disagreements that had to be refereed. It’s pretty funny to see how it goes from those early, simple times, to now.” – Frans van Riemsdyk, via ESPN

Honorable Mentions:

Several sibling pairs made NHL debuts this season, but a few didn’t stick to an NHL roster. While John Klingberg made the Stars roster mid-season, older brother John played between the NHL and AHL despite debuting with the Thrashers in 2010-11. John is currently a favorite on the Dallas blue line, and the top scoring rookie defenseman in the league.

Despite their struggles, both Tim and Tom Sestito spent some time on the Devils’ and Canucks’ rosters this season. Both returned to their respective AHL clubs earlier in the 2014-15 season, though Tom missed an extended number of games with an upper body injury.

While P.K. Subban serves as an alternate captain in Montreal, younger brother, Malcolm, made his single-game debut as the Bruins’ goaltender in February.

Sibling Rivalry Between Brothers in the NHL

Younger siblings often look up to their older counterparts, so it’s no surprise that many pairs of brothers make it to the NHL. Challenging each other to push through difficulties, and to triumph over their shortcomings, helped these brothers become stronger players. Growing up with a live-in opponent isn’t easy for siblings or parents, but these thirteen sets of brothers in the NHL wouldn’t have it any other way.