On the hockey checklists of brothers Eric and Jordan Staal — the siblings of Rangers defenseman Marc Staal — almost every major accomplishment one could ask for had been checked off.
Be selected with the second pick in the draft: check. Hoist the Stanley Cup: check. Get a letter on the sweater: check. Earn international hardware playing for Canada: check. Become teammates: blank box.
The two brothers never had the ironclad goal to one day play on the same team. When they were growing up in Thunder Bay, Ontario, they were just hoping they could make the NHL.
But the opportunity to join forces came about during last year’s NHL Draft, when the Hurricanes united the two brothers by trading Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin, and the No. 8 overall pick to the Penguins in exchange for Jordan.
“Once we made the league, those thoughts [then] started to creep into our minds,” older brother Eric said before his Hurricanes beat the Islanders 6-4 at Nassau Coliseum. “Now that we have the opportunity, it’s phenomenal and special for sure.”
When the trade went down, Jordan had mixed emotions.
“It was tough,” he said. “I had a great time in Pittsburgh and made a lot of good friends there. But knowing where I was going and what I was getting myself into, it was very exciting and I was thrilled to be a part of what we have going on down here.”
The brothers have wasted no time making an immediate impact this season. Eric leads the Hurricanes in goals (8) and points (14), adding to his totals with a goal and an assist last night. Jordan leads the team in assists, getting his 10th of the season on Jeff Skinner’s goal in the second period. Eric said having his brother on the team helps to bring out the best in both players, even though they don’t toil on the same line.
“We’re both competitive and want to be elite players in this league,” Eric said. “If he’s having a good night, you want to push yourself to be better, and vice versa.”
Staal brothers lead ’Canes to victory over Islanders
New York Post | Feb 12