Hockey Royalty: The NHL’s Greatest Families

On Feb. 6, 1990, Brett Hull scored his 50th goal of the season, to become part of the first father-son combo to each score 50 goals in an NHL season.

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We thought we pull this nugget out of The Hockey Writers’ vault. Originally put together by former THW contributor Bill Schoeninger and published on Feb. 9, 2015.

The Richard Brothers

Maurice Richard of the Montreal Canadiens
TORONTO, ON – 1950S: Maurice Richard of the Montreal Canadiens skates for the puck during an NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs circa 1950’s at the Maple Leaf Garden in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

RW Maurice Richard (1942-43 to 1956-57)

  • 5-time Goalscoring Champion
  • 14-time 1st/2nd Team AS
  • 8-time Stanley Cup Champion
  • 1-time Hart Trophy Winner

C Henri Richard (1955-56 to 1974-75)

  • 7-time Top 10 Points
  • 4-time 1st/2nd Team AS
  • 11-time Stanley Cup Champion
  • 10-time NHL All-Star Game Participant

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Long-time members of the Canadiens, the two played a remarkable 2,547 games for the Canadiens between the regular season and playoffs. That includes five seasons together at the end of “The Rocket’s” career, and the beginning of the “Pocket Rocket’s.”

The Howe Family

RW Gordie Howe (1946-47 to 1979-80)

  • 4-time Stanley Cup Champion
  • 21-time Top 10 Points

D Mark Howe (1973-74 to 1994-95)

  • 5-time 60 Point Scorer
  • 2-time WHA Champion

D Marty Howe (1973-74 to 1984-85)

Remarkably, this trio actually had the chance to play together in the 1979-80 season of the WHA for the Hartford Whalers. 51-year-old Gordie suited up with 24-year-old Mark and 25-year-old Marty in this remarkable photo below. Their opponent? the Detroit Red Wings, a team Gordie and Mark spent a combined 28 years with.

The Esposito Brothers

G Tony Esposito (1969-70 to 1983-84)

  • 5-time 1st/2nd Team AS
  • 9-time Top 10 GAA
  • 8-time Top 3 Wins
  • 3-time NHL Shutouts Leader
Tony Esposito
Tony Esposito

C Phil Esposito (1963-64 to 1980-81)

  • 5-time NHL Points Leader
  • 6-time 1st Team AS
  • 2-time Stanley Cup Champion
  • 6-Time NHL Goals Leader

Both of the Esposito brothers spent time with the Chicago Blackhawks. Other than 13 games at the beginning of his career, Tony spent his entire career in the Windy City. Phil got his career started in Chicago playing alongside Bobby Hull in the first four years of his career.

The Sutter Family

First Generation

C Ron Sutter (1982-83 to 2000-01)

C Brent Sutter (1980-81 to 1997-98)

LW Brian Sutter (1976-77 to 1987-88)

RW Duane Sutter (1979-80 to 1989-90)

LW Darryl Sutter (1979-80 to 1986-87)

RW Rich Sutter (1982-83 to 1994-95)

Second Generation

C Lukas Sutter (No NHL Experience)

RW Shaun Sutter (No NHL Experience)

C Brody Sutter (2014-15 to Present)

LW Brett Sutter (2008-09 to Present)

C Brandon Sutter (2008-09 to Present)

When the topic of hockey families comes up, the Sutters are often the first ones to come to mind. From the years 1982-83 to 1986-87, six Sutter brothers played in the NHL at the same time. The original six actually had a seventh brother by the name of Gary, who Rich claimed was the best hockey player of them all, who turned down a career in hockey to work on the family farm.

The Sutters were universally known for their tireless work ethic, physicality, and great teammate. While the second generation hasn’t had the same success as the first, it is nonetheless impressive that all but Rich have had a son at least be drafted in the NHL.

The Sedin Twins

C Henrik Sedin (2000-01 to Present)

  • 2009-10 Hart Trophy Winner
  • 8-time Top 8 Assists
  • 2-time 1st Team AS
  • 7-time 70 Point Scorer
Henrik and Daniel Sedin (Flickr/Lava)

LW Daniel Sedin (2000-01 to Present)

  • 2010-11 Art Ross Trophy Winner
  • 6-time 70 Point Scorer
  • 2-time 1st/2nd Team AS
  • 2-time NHL AS Game Participant

Drafted back-to-back at second and third overall in the 1999 NHL Draft, the Sedins enjoy an incredible amount of chemistry together. They’ve played on the same line in Vancouver their entire careers, forming one of the most dangerous combos in the last decade of the NHL.

The Hull Family

LW Bobby Hull (1957-58 to 1979-80)

  • 11-time Top 10 Points
  • 3-time Art Ross Trophy Winner

LW Dennis Hull (1964-65 to 1977-78)

  • 1-time 2nd Team AS
  • Led 1972-73 Playoffs in Assists

RW Brett Hull (1986-87 to 2005-06)

  • 3-time Top 5 Points
  • 1990-91 Hart Trophy Winner

A family of snipers, there is no doubt that scoring goals were what the Hull family did best. Brett is 3rd all-time with 741, and Bobby isn’t far behind at 16th with 610.

Both had a cannon of a slapshot, with Bobby relying on his skating speed to get it off, and Brett utilizing his laser-quick release.

The Conacher Family

Charlie "The Big Bomber" Conacher
Charlie “The Big Bomber” Conacher

First Generation

RW Charlie Conacher (1929-30 to 1940-41)

  • 5-time 1st/2nd Team AS
  • 5-time Top 5 Points

D Lionel Conacher (1925-26 to 1936-37)

  • 2-time Stanley Cup Champion
  • 2-time Hart Trophy Runner-up

LW Roy Conacher (1938-39 to 1951-52)

  • 6-time Top 10 Points
  • 2-time Stanley Cup Champion

Second Generation

LW Brian Conacher (1961-62 to 1972-73)

D Murray Henderson (1944-45 to 1951-52)

LW Pete Conacher (1951-52 to 1957-58)

Similar to the Sutters, the second generation of Conachers did not enjoy the same success as the first. In the first three decades of the NHL from the 1920s through the 1940s, the Conachers were unquestionably the greatest hockey family.

All three of the first-generation Conachers have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, a testament to their tremendous abilities as players.

The Stastny Family

C Peter Stastny (1980-81 to 1994-95)

  • 1980-81 Calder Trophy Winner
  • 3-time Top 10 Hart Trophy Voting

RW Marian Stastny (1981-82 to 1985-86)

  • 2-time World Championships Gold Medalist
  • 9th in PPG, 1982-83

LW Anton Stastny (1980-81 to 1988-89)

  • 8th in Assists, 1982-83
  • .98 career NHL PPG

C Paul Stastny (2006-07 to Present)

  • 2-time US Olympian
  • 6th in Assists, 2009-10
Paul Stastny Carolina Hurricanes
Paul Stastny, Carolina Hurricanes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

C Yan Stastny (2005-06 to Present)

Peter and Anton were able to sneak away after the tournament, with Marian joining them a year later.

The Staal Brothers

C Eric Staal (2003-04 to Present)

Eric Staal Florida Panthers
Eric Staal, Florida Panthers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
  • Triple Gold Club Member
  • 2-time Top 10 Points
  • 7-time 70 Point Scorer

C Jordan Staal (2006-07 to Present)

  • 2-time Top 8 Selke Trophy Voting
  • 2006-07 1st-Team All-Rookie
  • 1-time Stanley Cup Champion

D Marc Staal (2007-08 to Present)

  • 1-time NHL AS Game Participant
  • 2-time WJC Gold Medalist

RW Jared Staal (2012-13 to Present)

The four brothers from Thunder Bay, Ontario are the 21st century’s best version of a true hockey family. Three of the brothers (Eric, Jordan, and Jared) are members of the Carolina Hurricanes organization.

During a game on April 23rd, 2013, the Hurricanes started their game with a forward line of Staal-Staal-Staal, something the NHL hadn’t seen since possibly the Stastny brothers.

The Geoffrion Family

C Howie Morenz (1923-24 to 1936-37)

  • 4-time Stanley Cup Champion
  • 3-time 1st/2nd Team AS

RW Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion (1950-51 to 1967-68)

  • 6-time Stanley Cup Champion
  • 8-time Top 10 Goals

RW Danny Geoffrion (1978-79 to 1981-82)

C Blake Geoffrion (2010-11 to 2011-12)

When Blake Geoffrion played his first NHL game, he became the first fourth-generation player in NHL history. The first two members of the family were undoubtedly the most successful, winning a combined 10 Stanley Cups, and both being inducted into the HHOF.

The Hextall Family

RW Bryan Hextall Sr. (1936-37 to 1947-48)

  • 4-time 1st/2nd Team AS
  • 4-time Top 10 Points

C Bryan Hextall Jr. (1962-63 to 1975-76)

LW Dennis Hextall (1968-69 to 1979-80)

  • 2-time NHL AS Game Participant
  • 9th in Points, 1973-74

G Ron Hextall (1986-87 to 1998-99)

  • 1986-87 Conn Smythe Trophy Winner
  • 7-time Top 10 Wins

RW Brett Hextall (No NHL Experience)

If Brett Hextall ever makes it to the NHL, he would join Blake Geoffrion as the second-ever fourth-generation NHL player. The Hextalls as a family were a tough, physical group. Bryan Sr. and Dennis were known as the premier power forwards in the NHL during their time, and Ron, despite being a goalie, is known for his tenacity and competitiveness.

Who is the Greatest Hockey Family?

It’s an extremely tough question, and I don’t think there is one clear-cut answer. Some enjoyed an incredible peak (Howe, Hull, Richard), while others like the Sutters had a staggering number reach the NHL. I have to say the Conachers take the title, as they combine peak (3 HHOFers) and volume (six NHLers).

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