It makes sense that many pairs of brothers have played in the NHL throughout the league’s history. As siblings, these boys had similar upbringings, and they also have a similar genetic makeup, and I’d argue that both nature and nurture play key roles in the development of athletes.
While researching a different article for TheSportster, I discovered that there have actually been way more brothers to play in the NHL as I had originally thought. In fact, I was floored with some of the siblings I’d found.
Many of them I hadn’t heard of simply because they played before my time. Others, though, are still current NHL players whom I had absolutely no clue had brothers also participate in league games. Many of these siblings only appeared in a handful of games, but guys only needed to have played at least one regular season game to qualify for the list.
Now, I’m not saying that you personally haven’t heard of a few of these, but I would be willing to bet a lot of money that you haven’t heard of most of these brothers. Heck, some of these guys are considered among the best players in history, so I was pretty surprised to see them end up on the list (no, Wayne and Brent Gretzky don’t appear on the list, as obviously I’m aware of the highest scoring sibling duo in NHL history).
Anyway, here are the 20 NHL players who you had no idea had brothers also play in the NHL. How many were you aware of?
20. Steve Larmer (Jeff Larmer)
File this one under the “before my time” category, as I had no idea former NHL superstar Steve Larmer had a brother named Jeff who played with him on the Blackhawks for three seasons during the 1980s. While Steve’s career stats comfortably trump those of Jeff’s—Steve registered over 1,000 points in his career—Jeff still played a handful of seasons in the world’s best hockey league.
Kicking off his career in 1981-82 as a member of the Colorado Rockies, Jeff Larmer spent time with the Devils and Blackhawks before finishing off his pro career in the minor leagues. In 158 NHL games, Jeff posted 37-51-88, and racked up 58 penalty minutes in the process. Jeff was the younger of the two brothers, but only by a year. Steve won a Cup with the Rangers in 1994 before retiring after the following season.
19. Patrick Roy (Stephane Roy)
Patrick Roy is arguably the greatest goalie in the NHL’s long history, but I was surprised to learn that his younger brother Stephane also played in the NHL. Stephane was a third round pick of the Minnesota North Stars in the 1985 Entry Draft, but only managed to find his way into 12 NHL games, all played during the 1987-88 season.
Unlike his goaltending older brother, Stephane was a center, but his offensive game wasn’t strong enough to become an NHL mainstay. He finished with one career goal and point, which likely is why we don’t remember him very well. The rest of his pro career was spent in a variety of different leagues, all while living in the giant shadow being cast by his older brother.
18. Robyn Regehr (Ritchie Regehr)
Defenseman Robyn Regehr enjoyed a fine NHL career. The Colorado Avalanche draft pick spent most of his career in Calgary playing for the Flames, but he did include stops in Buffalo and L.A. before calling it a career. He was part of the 2014 Stanley Cup championship team, which was probably quite a relief for the guy who came one game short 10 seasons earlier with the Flames.
Most people aren’t aware that Robyn’s younger brother Richie also briefly played in the NHL, and in fact it was with his brother and the Flames. He only saw action in 20 games however, so that could be why I missed it. The Regehr brothers do have one claim to fame though; they are the only NHL brothers to be born in the Southern hemisphere. Their parents were traveling Mennonite missionaries. Robyn was born in Brazil, Richie in Indonesia.
17. Riley Nash (Brendon Nash)
Riley Nash is currently plying his trade with the Boston Bruins, playing a depth role as they battle for playoff positioning in Beantown. He’s recorded 97 points in his 320 games of experience, which is pretty consistent bottom-six production. While Riley toils away in the NHL, fans have probably already forgot (or never even knew of) his older brother Brendon, who also played in the NHL.
Brendon is two years Riley’s elder, but sadly only saw action in a grand total of two games. Brendon went undrafted and played his two NHL games in 2010-11 with the Montreal Canadiens. Brendon played primarily in the AHL from 2010 to 2015, but recently made the move to Europe. He currently plays for Graz EC of the Austrian league.
16. Martin Biron (Mathieu Biron)
Goaltender Martin Biron played over 500 games in the NHL. Many of his seasons were spent backing up a starter, or at most playing in a 1A/1B type of role. Nonetheless, the guy piled up 230 wins during an NHL career that spanned nearly two decades. He was originally a Buffalo Sabres draft pick and made stops in Philly, Long Island, and New York before hanging them up in 2014.
Martin’s younger brother Mathieu also played in the NHL, and for decent amount of time actually. Mathieu, a defenseman, played 253 career games for the Islanders, Lightning, Panthers, and Capitals. He retired with boxcars of 12-32-44, and he actually scored one of those 12 goals on his older brother. They never played together, but both did spend time with the Isles during their respective careers.
15. Daymond Langkow (Scott Langkow)
Daymond Langkow enjoyed a long NHL career playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning (who drafted him 5th overall in 1995), Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, and Calgary Flames. His best seasons were spent with the Flames, highlighted by an impressive 77 point campaign in 2006-07. By the time he retired in 2012, he’d played 1,090 games and registered an impressive 672 points.
While most fans will have heard of Daymond Langkow, not many know of his older brother Scott, who was a goaltender who played 20 games in the NHL between 1995 and 2000. Scott was a Winnipeg Jets second round pick in 1993. He started his career with the Jets before making brief stops in Phoenix and Atlanta before heading to Europe to play out his pro career.
14. Niklas Kronwall (Staffan Kronwall)
Niklas Kronwall is definitely in the back nine of his career, but it’s been a pretty impressive career. The Red Wings defender turned 36 on Jan. 12, and has played his entire NHL career in Detroit, making the move over to North America from the Swedish Elite League in 2003. In his 793 career games so far, he’s produced a lot of offense for a defenseman, putting up 76 goals and 302 assists.
While most readers will have a familiarity with Kronwall, not many will be aware of his younger brother Staffan, who currently plays for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv of the KHL. Before making the move to Europe, however, Staffan played 66 games in the NHL for the Maple Leafs, Capitals, and Flames. He had trouble sticking in the league, so he decided to take his efforts elsewhere in 2010 for some stability.
13. Kris Russell (Ryan Russell)
Veteran defenseman Kris Russell is somewhat a divisive character in Edmonton these days. Ask the advanced stats crowd, and Russell is a liability who anchors whichever teammates have the burden of being on the ice with him at any given time. Ask the old school crowd, and they like that he blocks shots and plays a “gritty” game (which is true, I guess, for someone who weighs 165 lbs.).
Wherever you are on the Russell spectrum, I’m sure we can at least all agree that Kris is a superior hockey player to his twin brother Ryan. While Kris is closing in on 650 NHL games, Ryan saw action in just 41 games. He is a forward and scored only two goals in his 41 games, so needless to say the offense wasn’t there.
12. Marcel Goc (Sascha Goc)
German center Marcel Goc was a first round draft pick of the San Jose Sharks back in 2001, selected 20th overall. He was skating in the Deutschland Elite League as a teenager before being drafted, and he actually stayed there until deciding to make the move to North America for the 2003-04 season. Goc spent time with the Sharks, Predators, Panthers, Penguins, and Blues, before going back to the motherland for the 2015-16 season.
While most conversant fans are aware of Marcel Goc’s existence, not many are aware of his older brother Sascha. Sascha, a defenseman, was a much later draft pick than his younger brother, selected by the Devils in the sixth round of the 1997 draft. He played 13 games with the Devils, then nine with the Lightning, before heading back to Germany to play pro.
11. Lyle Odelein (Selmar Odelein)
Lyle Odelein was a reliable defender throughout his 16 year NHL career. He won a Cup with the Canadiens in 1993, which is the team that drafted him in the seventh round of the 1986 Entry Draft. Lyle played over 1,000 games for eight different teams before hanging them up for good upon the conclusion of the 2005-06 season.
What’s funny is that most of you probably haven’t heard of his older brother Selmar, who was actually a first round draft pick two years earlier than Lyle was picked up. Selmar’s NHL career was more than 1,000 games shorter than his younger brother’s though, as he played in just 18 games, all with the Oilers. Also a defenseman, Selmar never scored an NHL goal and notched two assists.
10. Kimmo Timonen (Jussi Timonen)
Kimmo Timonen finally got to sip out of Lord Stanley’s mug in 2015 as a member of the championship Chicago Blackhawks. The offensive-minded defensemam capped off an incredible career that saw him score 571 points in 1,108 games, mostly spent with the Predators and Flyers. Even the casual hockey fan knows of Kimmo Timonen, but most diehards haven’t heard of his younger brother Jussi.
Jussi Timonen played 14 games in the NHL, all with the Flyers in 2006-07. They were actually both a part of the Flyers organization the following season, but Jussi never got the call to join his older brother on the big club and spent the bulk of that season in the AHL. Kimmo is of course retired, while Jussi still plays pro in Finland.
9. Matt Hunwick (Shawn Hunwick)
Defenseman Matt Hunwick has slowly but surely developed into a reliable back-end option, and he’s currently playing a regular shift with Mike Babcock’s Toronto Maple Leafs. While still only a bottom-pairing guy, Matt is closing in on 500 games since joining the Boston Bruins in 2007-08. He surpassed the 100 point milestone earlier this season.
Hunwick is one of the more lesser-known players on the list, so his brother Shawn—who has played a grand total of one NHL game—is probably the one guy on this list that almost no reader was previously aware of. Shawn—two years younger than Matt—was a goaltender and played his singular NHL game with the Blue Jackets in 2011-12. It was in fact a relief appearance, and he was in net for just three minutes.
8. Glen Wesley (Blake Wesley)
Glen Wesley’s 1,457 game NHL career spanned three different decades and was spent with two different teams, the Bruins and the Whalers/Hurricanes. The defenseman was as reliable as they come, and he was rewarded with a Stanley Cup ring in the twilight of his career with the ‘Canes in 2006. Glen has an older brother Blake who some of our older readers might even remember (no offense intended).
Blake is almost 10 years older than Glen, and his NHL career was considerably shorter than Glen’s, as he played in just 298 games. Originally a Flyers draft pick, Blake spent time in Philly, Hartford, Quebec City, and Toronto. He was a defenseman just like his younger bro, and they were both of the stay-at-home variety. Glen retired with 537 points thanks to the heaps of games, and Blake retired with 64.
7. Mike Comrie (Paul Comrie)
Mike Comrie has found himself in some hot water lately as he’s been accused of sexual assault in California, but that’s a story for a different, darker list. He’s on this list because every hockey fan know who he is, and many of those same fans probably didn’t know that his brother Paul also player in the NHL, albeit briefly.
Paul is older than Mike, but both started their careers in the town they grew up in, which is Edmonton. Mike was drafted by the Oilers in the 3rd round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, while Paul was a 1997 9th round selection of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Paul played all 15 of his career games with the Oilers during the 1999-00 season, but was forced to retire shortly after thanks to concussion issues.
6. Hakan Loob (Peter Loob)
Hakan Loob only spent about half of his pro hockey career in North America, as he elected to play the latter half in his home country of Sweden. The Flames forward was quite productive for Calgary from 1983-84 to 1988-89, scoring 429 points for the powerhouse Flames in just 450 regular season games. His NHL career culminated with a Stanley Cup win in ’89, the franchise’s lone Cup.
Most casual fans will be surprised to learn that Hakan had an older brother who also played in the NHL, albeit briefly. Hakan’s brother Peter, a defenseman, played eight games for the Quebec Nordiques in 1984-85 and registered three points. That was the only year the Swede played in North America, and the bulk of his time was spent with the Fredericton Express of the IHL, which was the Nordiques farm club at the time.
5. Trevor Linden (Jamie Linden)
Trevor Linden is more or less a household name among hockey fans, and that’s doubly true if you live on the Canadian West Coast (as I do). The Canucks legend played 1,382 games in his storied career, scoring 867 points along the way. While he never won the Stanley Cup with the Canucks, coming up one game short in 1994, he nonetheless is one of the best—if the not the best—Vancouver Canuck of all time.
Enough about Trevor, though. Let’s talk about another Linden that you’ve never heard of before today, that being his younger brother Jamie. Jamie played in just four NHL games, so a solid 1,378 fewer than his older brother. Jamie failed to register a point in his four games of action, all of which were spent as a member of the Florida Panthers in 1994-95.
4. Mario Lemieux (Alain Lemieux)
Mario Lemieux is arguably a top-five player of all time. If not for his constant health issues, he probably would have become only the second player to register over 2,000 points in his career (he retired with 1,723 points in just 915 games). With numbers like that, it’s easy to overlook his older brother Alain, who played 119 NHL games in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Alain and Mario actually played together for one game in Pittsburgh during the 1986-87 season, but most of Alain’s NHL games came as a member of the St. Louis Blues. The Blues drafted Alain in the fifth round of the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, 96th overall. The Penguins game was Alain’s last in the NHL, and in addition to his time spent in St. Louis he played 37 games in Quebec.
3. Marcel Dionne (Gilbert Dionne)
With 1,771 points, Marcel Dionne sits sixth on the all-time points list, behind Wayne Gretzky, Jaromir Jagr, Mark Messier, Gordie Howe, and Ron Francis—not bad company to keep. While even the most laissez-faire NHL fan will have heard the name Marcel Dionne before, most will probably have no idea who the heck Gilbert Dionne is.
Gilbert is the much younger brother of Marcel who enjoyed a much shorter NHL career than his older brother. Because of their 19 year age gap, Gilbert’s career started just as Marcel’s was ending. Gilbert was drafted by the Canadiens in 1990 in the 4th round of that draft, and he started his career with them in 1990-91. He played a total of 223 NHL games, notching 140 points.
2. Miikka Kiprusoff (Marko Kiprusoff)
Miikka Kiprusoff took a while to truly establish himself as an NHL starter, not being able to do so until the 2003-04 season with the Calgary Flames as a 27-year-old. Once he did, though, his career really took off, and although he fell one game short of the Stanley Cup in 2004, he did manage to snag himself the 2006 Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goalie.
Most fans are unaware that Miikka actually had an older brother named Marko who also played in the NHL, albeit at a much more reduced role in comparison with his younger bro. Marko, a defenseman, was a Montreal Canadiens draft pick in 1994 and started his career as a Hab, playing 24 games with the big club in 1995-96. He’d play 27 more NHL games (on Long Island in 2001-02) before his NHL career was over.
1. Henrik Lundqvist (Joel Lundqvist)
Henrik Lundqvist is known as “The King” because of how darn good he has been for so long. He also has the reputation of being one of the best-looking players in the NHL, so good news, ladies: there’s another one of him. Henrik’s twin brother Joel was also an NHL player, although his career has been far less impactful than Henrik’s.
Joel—who currently plays in the Swedish Hockey League with Frolunda HC—is a center who last played in the NHL in 2008-09 with the Dallas Stars. The Stars were the team that drafted him in 2000, 68th overall, and Joel played all 134 of his NHL games with the franchise. He was more of a depth forward—at least that’s what I’m surmising from his 26 career points—but he did play in all 18 playoff games with the Stars on their way to a Conference Final appearance in 2008.
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