The NHL has a rich history of brothers who have played in the NHL, from the Esposito’s, Niedermayer’s, Sutter’s and Ferraro’s, to the Sedin’s and Staal’s. And who could forget Wayne and Brent Gretzky?
Many of the NHL’s brother tandems have had the pleasure to play with each other, like former Flyers Joe and Jimmy Watson who won back-to-back Stanley Cups together in 1974-75 with the orange and black. Others have had the chance to play against each other, like Mathieu Biron who once scored a goal against his brother and former Flyers goaltender Martin Biron.
The Philadelphia Flyers will match-up with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night for their first preseason game. The game may provide a unique and exciting experience for two young Flyers. Blake Kessel and Brayden Schenn are hoping to hit the ice tomorrow against their big brothers, Phil Kessel and Luke Schenn.
Luke Schenn is entering his fourth season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, while Brayden is entering his 1st season in Philadelphia with only 9 NHL games under his belt. The Flyers acquired Brayden this off season in the Mike Richards deal, whom Brayden is often compared and the two brothers talked about back in 2008. The Toronto Star was doing a piece on Luke who was just drafted 5th overall in that years NHL Entry Draft. Luke and Brayden have always been close brothers, so while Luke was getting the star treatment in Toronto his little brother Brayden was by his side soaking it all in. Brayden, then a 16-year-old playing with the Brandon Wheat Kings compared his game to Mike Richards, his brother Luke replied, “No, you’re more like Georges Laraque or George Parros.”
Blake’s brother Phil, an NHL All-Star, is entering his 6th NHL season, and his 3rd with the Maple Leafs. Blake, who signed an entry-level deal with the Flyers on September 14th, has already made an impact with the team. Kessel tallied a goal and an assist in last Thursday’s Flyers/Capitals rookie game. Blake commented on the encouragement he’s received from his brother, “He said to work hard and obviously I have to play my game and if I play well enough I might get to play against Toronto. That is something I am really shooting for. So it would be nice to see him on the other side.”
With a home-and-home series with the Maple Leafs on Tuesday and Wednesday both Brayden and Blake hope to get a shot at sharing the ice with their older brothers.
Brayden and Blake aren’t the only Flyers with family ties in the NHL. Eric Wellwood, Tom Sestito, and Tye McGinn also have brothers playing in the NHL.