The hockey world, in itself, is a family. Inside of this wide-reaching, all-encompassing hockey family, there are countless households of hockey families. These are families where hockey runs deep. These are families where brothers and sisters and sons and daughters learn to skate as soon as they learn to walk. To some proud hockey parents, the dream of the hockey family has been realized right there. To others, they are fortunate enough to see their family ties connect all the way to the greatest league in the world.
On Sunday, more than a few family members in the hockey community heard their names called at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. While this is undoubtedly not a complete list, it speaks to the volume of family ties in the hockey world. It also represents some proud hockey families.
Subban Family Completes the Hat Trick
Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban captured the Norris Trophy this season as the NHL’s top defenseman, but that wasn’t why he was seen beaming at the Prudential Center on Sunday.
P.K. was lucky enough to have been drafted in the second round of the 2007 draft by the team that he and his father had always loved. During last season’s draft, P.K.’s face was one of shock and merriment as his brother Malcolm Subban was selected 24th overall by the Boston Bruins. That astonishment quickly turned into grinning and smirking as P.K. realized that Malcolm had just landed on the other side of one of the league’s oldest, fiercest rivalries.
This year, a third Subban joined his brothers as an NHL draft pick. With the 115th pick in the draft, the Vancouver Canucks selected defenseman Jordan Subban. Looking more like a proud father than an older brother, P.K. smiled from ear to ear while boasting that his youngest brother is smarter, harder-working, and more offensively-talented than he was at age 18. That’s a scary thought for the other 29 teams.
Jordan finished sixth amongst Ontario Hockey League defensemen in points last season. He put up 15 goals and 36 assists while playing in front of Malcolm, the goaltender for the Belleville Bulls. His fourth round selection by Vancouver occurred just one pick ahead of Montreal’s next selection, perhaps narrowly missing the chance to go from playing with Malcolm to one day manning the same powerplay as P.K.
It now seems like only a matter of time before we see these brothers matching up against each other in the NHL. P.K. admitted that Jordan’s fighting skill might be a tad above his own, but reestablished himself as the head of the trio by openly quipping that he would always be the best-looking member of the Subban brotherhood.
Tie Domi’s Son Not “Short” on Skill
Though he only scored just north of 100 goals in his 18 NHL seasons, Tie Domi is one of the most revered players in the history of the league. To go with his 245 points, Domi’s 3,515 career penalty minutes rank him third all-time. Listed at 5’10” on a good day, the Albanian Assassin was a fearless presence in over a thousand NHL games suiting up for the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, and the original Winnipeg Jets.
Aside from the last name and the trademark Domi grin, not much is the same for the father and his newly-drafted son. Max Domi, a center for the London Knights, is an impactful offensive presence in the OHL. Max has been described as having high-end speed and incredible offensive instincts. Where Tie used his hands to physically cause pain to his opponents, the even smaller (5’9”) Max is more likely to use his to the benefit of his inventive playmaking ability.
Max has already begun replacing the punchout-style Domi highlight reel from his father’s days with soft hands and between-the-legs passes. Another family tie-in of note is that Max was selected 12th overall by the Phoenix Coyotes, the franchise that once called itself the same Winnipeg Jets that Tie suited up for.
Touching Moment for Brodeur Family
Sometimes there are family moments in sports that would seem so perfect, so fantastic, that they would be deemed too unrealistic to be etched into a Hollywood script.
This year’s draft was held in Newark, and the franchise goaltender of the New Jersey Devils was a constant point of interest for cameras and pundits alike due to the news of the day’s earlier trade. It’s fair to say that Martin Brodeur was probably having a pretty stressful day.
With the draft reaching the seventh and final round, New Jersey found itself out of picks. Yet, there was the future Hall-of-Famer’s son, Anthony Brodeur, still sitting in his hometown stands waiting to be drafted. As the draft inched closer to its conclusion, it was unclear if the young goaltender would be picked at all.
Seizing the moment, General Manager Lou Lamoriello made a trade with the Los Angeles Kings to acquire the 208th overall pick (out of 211). Instead of Lamoriello announcing the pick himself, he deferred to the elated father to announce the decision by the Devils to draft his eldest son.
There were plenty of other draft picks joining the ranks of their NHL families on Sunday. In the first round alone, there were four such connections. Joining the Domi family, the Carolina Hurricanes drafted Elias Lindholm, son of Mikael Lindholm, with the fifth overall pick. At nineteen, the Columbus Blue Jackets chose Kerby Rychel, the son of 1996 Stanley Cup Champion Warren Rychel. With the 23rd overall pick, the Washington Capitals selected Robert Burakovsky’s son, Andre Burakovsky.
Later in the draft, Phoenix added another player with strong NHL and organizational roots by drafting the son of former NHL goaltender and current goaltending coach Sean Burke. Taken with the 163rd pick, Brendan Burke is also a netminder. Keeping with the team roots, the Boston Bruins selected local product Ryan Fitzgerald, a North Reading, MA-native who is the son of former Bruins forward Tom Fitzgerald and the nephew of Bruins Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting Scott Fitzgerald. Ryan will attend Boston College in the fall.
Which is the most intriguing family in hockey today? Leave a comment or tweet me @BostonNumber9. Be sure to follow my team @TMMotS and @FansidedNHL for draft recaps and the upcoming free agent frenzy.