Depending on where you live in Canada, you either enjoyed Family Day last week or are currently in the process of enjoying Family Day today. Unless you live in Quebec, New Brunswick or the territories, in which case you’re not celebrating anything and likely have “A Case of the Mondays.”
Sorry about that. Anyway…
Since a good portion of the population is enjoying a statutory holiday dedicated to families (and another sizable chunk did the same last week), here’s a look at some of the top Canadian sports families.
Can you name all six of the Sutter brothers that played in the NHL? What about the one brother that stayed home in Viking, Alberta to work on the family farm and is said to have been the best of the bunch?
Gary is the eldest and the one that didn’t go on to play in the NHL, even though all six of his siblings say he was the best player of all of them.
Brian was the first one drafted and played 12 seasons with the St. Louis Blues before moving to the bench as a coach, spending time leading the Blues, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks.
Darryl was the lowest draft pick of the family, going in the 11th round. Injuries cut his playing career short, but he’s become a successful coach, leading the Los Angeles Kings to the Stanley Cup in both 2012 and 2014.
Duane (a.k.a. “Dog”) won four Stanley Cups in his first four seasons in the league with the New York Islanders. Like his older brothers, he too became an NHL coach when his career ended, leading the Florida Panthers for parts of two seasons.
Brent joined “Dog” in New York for the third and fourth titles during the Islanders’ dynasty. After finishing his career, he too turned to coaching, but on the junior level, leading the Red Deer Rebels to a Memorial Cup in 2001 and the Canadian World Junior team to consecutive gold medals in 2005 and 2006. Then the NHL came calling, where he coached the New Jersey Devils and the Calgary Flames.
Ron and Rich (a.k.a. “The Twins”) were both taken in the Top 10 in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft – Ron at No. 4, Rich at No. 10 – by Philadelphia and Pittsburgh respectively. They were the first set of twins to play in the NHL and played three years together with the Flyers.
One family, four sons, four NHL players, and three of them now play on the same team.
Eric is the eldest and serves as the captain of the Carolina Hurricanes, whom he led to a Stanley Cup in 2005-06. A year later, he picked up a gold medal at the World Championships and in 2010, he became the 23rd member of the Triple Gold Club by winning Olympic gold in Vancouver.
Next comes Marc, the stay-at-home defensemen and lone member of the family that doesn’t play for the Carolina Hurricanes. The 12th-overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft patrols the blue line in the Big Apple for the New York Rangers and helped lead them to the Stanley Cup Finals last year.
Jordan was drafted second overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2005 and was a Calder Trophy Finalist for Rookie of the Year in his first season. After winning a Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2009, he was traded to Carolina and reunited with big brother Eric.
Jared is the baby of the family and the only right-handed shot out of the group. Drafted by Phoenix, he was acquired by the Hurricanes for a fifth-round pick in 2010 and on April 25, 2013, he made his debut with the club, lining up with his brothers Eric and Jordan against Marc’s New York Rangers.
Dad Paul played 11 seasons in the NHL, tallying 560 points while suiting up for Atlanta/Calgary and the Vancouver Canucks, but it’s the second generation of Reinharts that make them a family to watch going forward.
The eldest of the three boys, Max, was a third-round pick and currently plays for the Calgary Flames. The man in the middle, Griffin, was the fourth overall selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders, while the baby of the bunch, Sam, was taken second overall by the Buffalo Sabres last summer and is currently the captain of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice.
Breaking away from the boys and the rink, the Dufour-Lapointe sisters all competed for Canada in moguals at the 2014 Winter Olympics, with 20-year-old Justine taking gold, 23-year-old Chloe claiming the silver and big sister Maxine missing the podium.
The sisters from Montreal, Quebec were the fifth trio of siblings to compete at the same event at the Winter Games.
The Hart Family
You think there are a lot of Sutters that played hockey? Stu and Helen Hart had 12 childen and every single one of them is tethered to professional wrestling in one way or another.
Stu, the patriarch of the family, founded Stampede Wrestling and “The Dungeon,” the basement at the Hart homestead where the kids and several other noteworthy wrestlers including Chris Jericho, Lance Storm and Edge took some bumps. Stu Hart was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2010.
The most decorated and well-known wrestler of the Stu and Helen’s eight boys is Bret “The Hit Man” Hart. “The Excellence of Execution” is a five-time WWF Champion, two-time Intercontinental Champion and two-time tag team champion and one of the best to ever grace the squared circle.
His younger brother – and the runt of the Hart litter – Owen, eventually made his way to the WWF as well, joining the roster full-time in 1991. He would win the tag titles four times, the Intercontinental title twice and the European championship once before his life was tragically cut short during an elaborate ring entrance accident at a WWF event in 1999; he was 34.
All of the other Hart boys – Smith, Bruce, Keith, Wayne, Dean and Ross – were all involved in the family business, with Wayne being the only one not to work as a wrestler, opting instead to be a referee.
As for the four Hart girls, all of them married professional wrestlers and two of them – Ellie, who married Bret’s tag team partner Jim Neidhart and Diana, who married “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith – have children that have gone on to work for the WWE.