It all started on a 500-acre sod farm in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Henry Staal built a rink -- 50 feet by 100 feet complete with boards -- and watched his four sons develop their hockey skills. Little did Henry know that one day he would be the father of the new first family of hockey.The prodigiously gifted Staal brothers are all the rage in the NHL, and with good reason. They are the latest family to stake a claim in the most brotherly of professional sports.
- 22-year-old Eric has already set the bar so high that his current 25-goal season is considered a bit of an off year.
- 20-year-old Marc is a dominant force in junior hockey and a can't-miss NHL defenseman.
- 18-year-old Jordan has exceeded all expectations as a rookie in Pittsburgh.
- The pressure soon shifts to 16-year-old Jared, in his first year of junior hockey.
The brother angle is one of hockey's enduring stories. Of course, the greatest of all stud farms operated out of Viking, Alberta, where Louis and Grace Sutter sent six of seven sons to the NHL. Their careers spanned a quarter of a century. Impressive, but not unimaginable for a game that does a roaring trade in brother acts.
Going back over NHL history, a Wikipedia page lists 141 sets of brothers (along with 100 father-son pairs and assorted extended family combos). An old Hockey Digest article sets the brother count at 220 clans.
The Hockey Digest piece also includes a rarely cited fact: From the NHL's all-time leading scorers, six of the top eight had brothers who also appeared in the league.
- Tony Esposito is a Hall of Fame goaltender.
- Gilbert Dionne carved out a respectable career, playing over 200 games.
- Alain Lemieux was the prototypical journeyman.
- Vic Howe and Paul Messier are footnotes.
Q: What's the highest-scoring NHL brother combo of all time?
Q: What's the highest-scoring pair of NHL brothers?
A: The Gretzkys. Wayne: 2,857 points; Brent: 4 points.
Update: As Jacob and millertyme point out in the comments, the original question was worded wrong. Correction made on Feb. 21.