A Family Affair


It is often said that there are no friends on the ice. Anyone who has ever seen a Pens/Canes or Pens/Rangers game knows that the same can be said for family. Jordan Staal is no stranger to battling against his older brothers and has experienced the pleasure of knocking both of them out of the Stanley Cup playoffs in years past. Although I’m sure it would feel somewhat satisfying, I also think it would be strange to be so competitive with someone that you also, at least hopefully, have a close relationship with in a completely different way. Imagine having to sit at the dinner table across from the person who just derailed your dreams for another having to pass the peas and hear about how his day went. Yet, after the Pens swept the Canes and went on to win the Cup Jordan said in an interview that Eric harbored no ill feelings about him winning and was even blowing up balloons at his victory party.

The Staals hare hardly the only family to have spawned multiple professional hockey players. There are many players who have siblings that also play and who, quite often, are playing against each other. Sibling rivlary occurs in pretty much every family in which siblings exist and it can get pretty intense sometimes. But, being professional athletes takes that to a whole other level.

All I know is, I wouldn’t want to be Marc, the Staal who so far has yet to receive a Stanley Cup ring. Or would it be worse to be Jared, the Staal who has three older brothers’ footsteps to follow in who may never end up making it at the professional level? Imagine being the one who didn’t make it. Perhaps there is even a fifth Staal, Hermes, who no one talks about because he wants to be a dentist rather than an elf. I mean hockey player.

Among the Sendin twins there may be a little less competition since they’re both trying to help the same team win, but I’m sure they would both like to be the league’s top scorer, even if it means stealing a point or two from his brother. However, what would happen if one of them were to be traded? Would they be okay with it or does it secretly state somehere in their contracts that they are a package deal so that a travesty like that can never happen?

Is it possible that the guys who do compete against members of their own families are able to just turn their emotions on and off? Or could there be some harbored resentment that remains unspoken for fear of bad PR? Guys are notorious for fighting over stupid things and then battling it out either with their fists or a video game controller. Then, once their energies and frustrations are spent they move on with their differences squashed and the fight forgotten. Could these hockey players/brothers be capable of doing this, but on a grander scale? Or maybe there’s some secret class that these people have to take, sort of an anger management seminar on how not to put your stick through your brother’s head while he is sleeping. Whatever the secret these guys have, it seems to be working. Although I’ve never done deep research on the subject, I’ve never heard of a incident where brothers on opposing hockey teams committed serious bodily harm against one another.

Perhaps, in the end, this is all well and good for the players. Playing against a family member may help to inspire them to play at their ultimate best, since there is both professional and family standing on the line. However, at the same time, maybe it hurts less to lose to someone whose DNA you share because if it can’t be you who wins the Cup it can at least be someone you like. Plus, with announcers like Steiggy there’s a chance he’d get your brother’s name wrong and say yours instead so everyone will think you won the Cup anyway.