When it comes to sets of brothers playing professional sports, the NHL leads the way with dozens of them competing in the league over the years. In fact, there have been all types of other family connections during the history of the league including fathers and sons, cousins, grandfathers and grandsons, great grandfathers and great grandsons, uncles and nephews, grand uncles and grand nephews, as well as in-laws. This list represents the top 25 brother combinations in the history of the NHL and consists of American, Canadian and European brothers. There are numerous defencemen and forwards on the list, but just one goaltender in Tony Esposito.
Oddly enough, some of the NHL’s very best players had brothers in the league, but they weren’t able to live up to the skill level of their more famous siblings. Some of the Hall of Famers who were joined by their less-talented brothers in the league were Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Mark Howe, Mario Lemieux, Larry Robinson, Mark Messier, Eric Lindros, Sergei Fedorov, Patrick Roy and Ken Dryden. Since so many sets of brothers have played in the NHL it means some fine players didn’t make this list. There are numerous Hall of Famers included as well as Stanley Cup winners and these players represent all eras of NHL hockey.
Most of these players have retired, but there are a couple sets of brothers that are still playing, most notably the Staal’s and the Sedin’s. And speaking of the Sedin’s, they’re the only set of twins to make the list and they’re identical twins to boot. The combined point totals of the brothers didn’t come into effect. If combined point totals were the criteria then Wayne and Brent Gretzky would be listed along with Gordie and Vic Howe and Mark and Paul Messier etc. To be included among the top 25 brothers, each sibling must have been a good player in his own right. There are a couple of exceptions though where there are three brothers and one of them may have played for just a short time in the league.
20 The Plagers
Bob, Bill and Barclay Plager of Kirkland Lake, Ontario all played defence at one time for the St. Louis Blues. Bill also played with the Minnesota North Stars and Atlanta Flames and appeared in 263 NHL games between 1967-68 and 1975-76 with 38 points to his name. Bob skated from 1964-65 to 1977-78 and also suited up for the New York Rangers. He finished his career with 20 goals and 126 assists in 644 games and added 19 points in 74 playoff encounters. Barclay was the oldest and played between 1967 and 1976 with all of his 614 games coming with St. Louis. He retired with 44 goals and 187 assists for 231 points in 614 games and added 23 points in 68 postseason fixtures. He played in just 49 games as a rookie, but led the league in penalty minutes with 153. He then served 73 minutes in 18 playoff games the same season. Barclay and Bob played together with the Blues between 1967 and 1977 and Bill skated with them from 1968 to 1972.
19 The Hatchers
The American-born Hatcher brothers, Kevin and Derian, were big, tough defencemen who also contributed their fair share of offense. They played together with Dallas from 1994 to 1996. Kevin played for 17 seasons from 1984 to 2001 with Washington, Dallas, Pittsburgh, New York and Carolina. He patrolled the blue line for 1,157 games and chipped in with 220 goals and 450 assists for 677 points and added 59 points in 118 postseason games. His best season came in 1992-93 when he scored 34 goals and 79 points. Younger brother Derian played from 1991 to 2008 and won a Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999 when he became the first American to captain a cup winner. He finished his career with 331 points in 1,045 games and added another 33 points in 133 playoff outings. Both Hatcher brothers are in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
18 The Maloneys
Don and Dave Maloney of Lindsay, and Kitchener, Ontario respectively were key members of the New York Rangers a few decades ago when they played together from 1978 to 1985. Younger brother Dave played defence with the Blueshirts for 10 years starting in 1975-76 and moved to the Buffalo Sabres for a season before retiring. He became the youngest-ever captain of the Rangers and scored 317 points in 657 games on 71 goals and 246 assists with 24 points in 49 postseason games. Left-winger Don played parts of 11 seasons with the Rangers before moving on to the Hartford Whalers and New York Islanders. He scored 20 points in 18 playoff games as a rookie in 1978-79 and retired in 1990-91. In the meantime, he appeared in 765 games and contributed 214 goals and 350 assists for 564 points and added 57 points in 94 playoff outings.
17 The Koivus
Finnish brothers Saku and Mikko Koivu made NHL history by being the first European-trained siblings to be named captains of their respective teams. Saku achieved the feat with Montreal while Mikko wears the C on his sweater with the Minnesota Wild. Saku was also the first European captain in Canadiens history and along with Jean Beliveau was the team’s longest-serving skipper. Saku kicked off his NHL career in 1995 and spent his last five seasons with Anaheim before retiring in 2014. Along the way he scored 255 goals and 577 assists for 832 points in 1,124 games. He added 59 points in 79 playoff games and captured the Bill Masterton and King Clancy Memorial Awards once each during his career. Younger brother Mikko has played center with the Wild since 2005 and is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer with 148 goals and 372 assists for 520 points in his first 706 games. The 32-year-old has also posted 17 points in 39 postseason contests.
16 The Courtnalls
Russ and Geoff Courtnall of Victoria, British Columbia were both solid, underrated players who had fine NHL careers and played together in Vancouver in 1994-95. Older brother Geoff played left wing between 1983 and 2000 with Boston, Edmonton, Washington, St. Louis and Vancouver and won a Stanley Cup with Edmonton in 1987-88. He was an undrafted player who appeared in 1,049 games while scoring 799 points on 367 goals and 432 assists with 70 points in 156 playoff games. Russ was a right-winger with Toronto, Montreal, Dallas, the Minnesota North Stars, Vancouver, Los Angeles and the New York Rangers from 1983 to 1999. He also played in over 1,000 games with 1,029 under his belt while scoring 297 goals and 447 assists for 744 points. Russ also showed up in the postseason with another 83 points in 129 outings.
15 The Bures
Russian brothers Valeri and Pavel Bure lit up the league with their goalscoring exploits several years ago and played together with the Florida Panthers in 2000-01. Hall of Famer Pavel is the older of the two and skated in the NHL from 1991 to 2003 with Vancouver, Florida and the Rangers. The former rookie of the year scored 437 goals and 342 assists for 779 points in 702 games and contributed 70 points in 64 playoff games. He led the league in goals three times with his best total being 60, which he achieved twice. The right-winger also holds numerous franchise records with Vancouver. Valeri also played right wing and skated 10 seasons with Montreal, Calgary, Florida, St. Louis and Dallas before retiring in 2004. He appeared in 621 games and recorded an even 400 points. The Bure brothers set an NHL record in 1999-2000 for goals by siblings as they combined for 93 of them with Pavel scoring 58 for Florida and Valeri netting 35 with Calgary.
14 The Staals
The Staal brothers of Thunder Bay, Ontario consist of Jared, Jordan, Eric and Marc. Jared, 25, has just played a pair of NHL games with Carolina, but his brothers have all carved out fine careers for themselves. Marc, 28, has been playing defence with the Rangers since 2005 and had 131 points after 540 games along with 17 points in 87 postseason contests. Centre Eric is the oldest at 31 and currently plays with 27-year-old centre Jordan in Carolina. Eric entered the NHL in 2003, is the Hurricanes captain, and helped the club win the Stanley Cup in 2005-06. He had scored 317 goals and 441 assists for 758 points in his first 873 games with a club-record 43 points in 43 playoff contests. Jordan began his career with Pittsburgh in 2006 and won the Stanley Cup with them in 2009. He was dealt to Carolina in 2012 and had 156 goals and 197 assists for 353 points after 634 career games along with 36 points in 73 playoff games.
13 The Mullens
American brothers Joe and Brian Mullen hail from Hell’s Kitchen in New York City and both enjoyed excellent NHL careers. Brian played from 1982 to 1993 with Winnipeg, the New York Rangers, New York Islanders and San Jose Sharks as the left-winger was forced to retire at the age of 31 after suffering a stroke. He suited up for 832 games and scored 622 points on 260 goals and 362 assists and added 30 points in 63 playoff games. Brian was a consistent scored with seven seasons of at least 20 goals. His older brother Joe ended up in the Hall of Fame after winning three Stanley Cups during his career which spanned from 1981 to 1997. Joe played 1,062 games with St. Louis, Calgary, Pittsburgh and Boston and won two of his cups with the Penguins and the other with Calgary. He cracked the 50-goal barrier once and had six 40-goal seasons. The right winger was the first American-born player to reach 1,000 points and score 500 goals. Joe retired with 502 goals and 561 assists for 1,063 points and added 106 points in 143 playoff encounters. He also took home the Lester Patrick Award back in 1995 as well as the Lady Byng in 1986-87 and 1988-89.
12 The Cooks
Many fans may not realize Bill and Bun Cook of Ontario also had a brother Bud who also played in the NHL. Bud played centre for Ottawa, the St. Louis Eagles, and Boston between 1931 and 1935. He played just 51 games and accumulated nine points. Bill and Bun enjoyed more prolific careers and both Hall of Famers played together with the Rangers. Bill was the club’s first captain and the right-winger helped lead New York to Stanley Cup triumphs in 1927-28 and 1932-33. The oldest brother also led the NHL in scoring twice and scored 367 points in 474 games between 1926 and 1927 with another 24 points in 46 playoff contests. Bun Cook was a left-winger who played from 1926 to 1937 with his final season coming with the Boston Bruins. He scored 302 points in 437 outings with another 18 points in 46 playoff games and also skated on two Stanley Cup-winning squads with the Rangers.
11 The Potvins
Jean Potvin and his younger brother Denis of Ottawa and Vanier, Ontario played together on the New York Islanders blue line for several seasons while Jean also skated with Los Angeles, Philadelphia, the Cleveland Barons and Minnesota North Stars. Jean played 613 games between 1970-71 and 1980-81 and racked up 287 points on 63 goals along with 224 assists. He also won two Stanley Cups in New York in 1980 and 81. Jean and Denis were the top two scoring defencemen in 1975-76 when Denis had 92 points and Jean had 72. Hall of Famer Denis skated between 1973 and 1988 and won four Stanley Cups with the Islanders while serving as the team captain. The former first-overall draft pick also captured three Norris Trophies as well as the Calder. Denis finished his career with 310 goals and 742 assists for 1052 points in 1,060 outings and added 56 goals and 108 assists for 164 points in 185 playoff matches. He was also the first defenceman in the NHL to reach the 1,000 point mark
10 The Bentleys
The Bentley brothers of Delisle, Saskatchewan, Reg, Doug, and Max, played in the NHL with all three of them playing on the same line with Chicago at one point. They were the first brothers in history to achieve this feat and were the first brothers to all earn a point on an NHL goal. Max, who played from 1940 to 1954, was the best of the three as he won two Art Ross Trophies to go along with a Hart. He’s a Hall of Famer who scored 544 points in 645 games with 45 more in 51 playoff contests with the Rangers, Chicago and Toronto. Doug played with Chicago and the Rangers and chipped in with 543 points in 565 games from 1939 to 1954 with 17 points in 23 playoff outings. Reg was the least talented of the three and appeared in just 11 NHL games in 1942-43 with a goal and two assists. However, the exploits of Max and Doug are good enough to rank 12th on this list.
9 The Niedermayers
Rob and Scott Niedermayer, of Edmonton, Alberta and Cassiar, British Columbia respectively, played together on Anaheim’s Stanley Cup-winning team of 2006-07. Older brother Scott, a defenceman, also won three Stanley Cup rings with the Devils as well as a James Norris and Conn Smythe Trophy. Scott played for New Jersey and Anaheim during his 18-year career which spanned from 1991 to 2010. The Hall of Famer appeared in 1,263 games and contributed 740 points on 172 goals and 568 assists and added 98 points in 202 playoff games. Rob was a right-winger with Florida, Calgary, Anaheim, New Jersey and Buffalo between 1993 and 2011. He was often used as a checking winger, but still managed 469 points in 1,153 games and 43 more in 116 playoff matches.
8 The Sedins
The 35-year-old Sedin brothers of Sweden are the only set of twins on the list and they’re still racking up points with the Vancouver Canucks this season. Henrik and Daniel play together on the same line and both are former Art Ross Trophy winners for leading the league in scoring. Henrik achieved the feat in 2009-10 and not to be outdone, Daniel led the NHL the very next season and also won the Ted Lindsay Award. The identical twins broke into the league in 1997. Henrik, a centre, is the all-time leading scorer in Canucks history as the team captain had racked up 941 points in his first 1,120 games and had 78 points in 105 playoff games. He holds several franchise records and took the Hart trophy home in 2009-10. Daniel plays left wing and had 910 points after 1,089 games along with 71 points in 102 playoff contests.
7 The Mahovlichs
Frank and Peter Mahovlich of Timmins, Ontario were known throughout their stellar careers as the Big M and the Little M. They played together with Detroit between 1967 and 1969 and again with the Canadiens from 1970 to 1974. The Big M managed to win half a dozen Stanley Cups during his career from 1957 and 1974 as he won four with the Maple Leafs and a pair with Montreal. The left-winger played with Toronto, Detroit and Montreal and accumulated 533 goals and 570 assists for 1,103 points in 1,181 games with 118 points in 137 playoff games. Frank, a Hall of Famer, was the rookie of the year in 1957-58 and spent the last four years of his career in the WHA. Younger brother Pete, who stood 6-foot-5, played between 1965 and 1981 and collected four Stanley Cup rings with the Habs. He also played with Detroit and Pittsburgh. The centre collected 773 points in 884 games with 72 points in 88 playoff clashes.
6 The Hulls
While Bobby Hull was known as the Golden Jet during his NHL days his younger brother Dennis was a good contributor in his own right and quite underrated. Bobby grabbed all of the headlines, but Dennis more than earned his keep while the pair from Pointe Anne, Ontario played with Chicago. Bobby played with the Blackhawks, Winnipeg Jets and Hartford Whalers during his NHL career and also skated for a few seasons in the old WHA. The Hall of Fame left-winger took home three Art Ross and two Hart Trophies along with a Lady Byng and Lester Patrick Award and helped Chicago win the Stanley Cup in 1960-61. He broke into the league in 1957 and retired in 1980. In between he totaled 610 goals and 560 assists for 1,170 points in 1,063 appearances and scored another 129 points in 119 playoff matches. Dennis also played left wing and skated in the league from 1964 to 1978 with his last season as a member of the Detroit Red Wings. He scored 303 goals and 351 assists for 654 points in 959 games and contributed 67 points in 104 playoff games. Dennis didn’t capture any individual trophies, but appeared in five All-Star Games and was named a second team all star in 1972-73.
5 The Stastnys
Marian, Peter and Anton Stastny were three brothers from the former nation of Czechoslovakia. All three of them skated for the old Quebec Nordiques franchise between 1981 and 1985 and at the time were the third trio of brothers to play together for the same team. Oldest brother Marian played left wing for the Nordiques and Maple Leafs between 1981 and 1986 after spending most of his pro career in his homeland. He totaled 294 points in 322 games and added 22 points in 23 postseason outings. Anton, the youngest, played from 1980 to 1989 in Quebec after being the first Slovakian-born and trained player drafted into the league when the Flyers selected him. Anton posted 636 points in 650 contests and chipped in with 52 more in 66 playoff encounters. Centre Peter was the star of the family though as he was the rookie of the year in and hit the 100-point mark seven times between 1980 and 1995. The Hall of Famer retired with 450 goals and 789 assists for 1,239 points in just 977 games. He also added 105 points in 93 playoff games and holds several NHL records. One of them that may never be broken came in 1981 when he and Anton both registered eight points in the same game.
4 The Espositos
Phil and Tony Esposito of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario are another pair of Hall of Fame brothers and they shared time together on the same team while playing with the Chicago Blackhawks. Phil, a big, but awkward-skating centre, played with Chicago, Boston and the New York Rangers during his career from 1963 to 1981. Esposito won five Art Ross, two Hart and Lester B. Pearson Trophies along with a Lester Patrick Trophy during his career. He also won a pair of Stanley Cups with the Bruins. He racked up 717 goals and 873 assists for 1,590 points in 1,282 games with another 137 points in 130 playoff contests. Phil set a scoring record at the time in 1970-71 when he scored 76 goals and added 76 assists for 152 points in a season. Younger brother Tony is the only goaltender on this list and he starred with Chicago from 1969 to 1984 after playing his first 13 games with Montreal. Tony is a former rookie of the year who won a Stanley Cup with the Habs in 1968-69 and added a trio of Vezina Trophies. He lost just 306 of his 886 career games while posting a goals-against average of 2.92 along with 76 shutouts. He had six shutouts and a 3.07 goals-against average in 99 playoff games.
3 The Richards
Maurice and Henri Richard of Montreal both spent their entire careers with the Canadiens and are both Hall of Famers. Maurice, better known as "Rocket" Richard, became the first player in NHL history to score 50 goals and accomplished the feat in 50 games. The fiery right-winger was also the first player to hit the 500 goal mark. Richard played from 1942 to 1960 and won eight Stanley Cups while captaining four of those winning teams. He retired after playing 978 games and had 544 goals and 421 assists to his name for 965 points. The Rocket chipped in with another 126 points in 133 playoff games, led the league in goals five times and took home the Hart Trophy in 1946-47. Younger brother Henri stood just 5-foot-7 and was known as the Pocket Rocket. He was 15 years younger than Maurice and played between 1955 and 1975. Henri holds the NHL record for the most Stanley Cup wins by a player with 11. Remarkably, the Habs won the cup all five years the Richard brothers played together between 1955 and 1960. Henri played 1,256 games and posted 358 goals and 688 assists for 1,046 points with another 129 points in 180 postseason encounters. He won the Bill Masterton Trophy in 1974, was named to four post-season All-Star quads and was the Habs captain from 1971 to 75.
2 The Conachers
The Conacher brothers of Toronto were dominant athletes back in the 1920s and 30s and all three of them are in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Lionel, the oldest, was prolific at several sports and played in the CFL, NHL and International Baseball League. He was voted Canada’s best athlete for the first half of the 20th century as he also competed in boxing, lacrosse and wrestling. As far as the NHL goes, Lionel played 494 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Americans and Montreal Maroons between 1925 and 1937 and scored 185 points. Charlie played right wing between 1929 and 1941 with the Maple Leafs, Red Wings and New York Americans. He scored 398 points in 459 games and added 35 more in 49 postseason encounters. He led the league in goals on five occasions and in scoring twice. Roy Conacher played left wing between 1938 and 1952 with the Bruins and Black Hawks and scored 426 points in 490 contests with 30 points in 42 playoff games. He won two Stanley Cups with the Bruins and led the league in scoring in 1948-49.
1 The Sutters
The top spot has to go to the Sutter brothers of Viking, Alberta, just for sheer numbers alone as half a dozen of them played in the NHL with varying degrees of success. Ron, Rich, Duane, Darryl, Brian and Brent combined for close to 5,000 regular season games with six Stanley Cup victories to their name. There was at least one Sutter in the league for 24 straight seasons from 1976-77 to 2000-01 and all six of them played between 1982-83 and 1986-87. Another Sutter brother Gary decided not to pursue a career in the NHL, and the rest of his brothers claim he was the best player of them all. In total, the six Sutters played 4,994 regular season contests with 1,320 goals and 1,614 assists between them for 2,934 points. They also served 7,224 minutes in penalties and added 122 goals and 153 assists in the playoffs with another 1,170 penalty minutes. Three of their sons, Brett, Brandon and Brody are currently playing in the NHL and Lukas was drafted last year.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!