On This Date in Sports October 30, 1983: Brothers on Ice
In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
Sibling rivalry meets Brotherly Love as four of the Sutter Brothers take the ice, two for each team as the Philadelphia Flyers host the New York Islanders at the Spectrum. On the Flyers, it was twins, Ron and Rich, taking on older brother Duane and Brent with the Islanders. New York would win the game 6-2 as the other two Sutter Brothers in the NHL, Brian and Darryl were likely having a good laugh.
Hockey is heritage in Western Canada and when you are in a family of seven boys, many winters are spent on the ice especially growing up on the farms of Red Deer in Alberta. The oldest of the family Gary turned down a chance to play hockey to focus on the family farm, while his six younger brothers each began their career with the Red Deer Rustlers in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
Brian Sutter born October 7, 1956, was the first to make it to the NHL after being selected by the St. Louis Blues in the second round of the 1976 NHL Draft. Brian played his entire career with the Blues, retiring in 1988. A three-time All-Star, Brian Sutter finished his career with 303 goals and 333 assists. After retiring, Brian moved behind the bench and spent four seasons as coach of the Blues. He later had coaching tenures with the Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks, winning 451 games. Brian’s son Shaun Sutter also played hockey but never reached the NHL.
Darryl Sutter born on August 19, 1958, was next to reach the NHL. An 11th round pick in the 1978 draft, Darryl made his debut with the Chicago Black Hawks in 1979. Spending most of his career fighting for playing time, Darryl Sutter had a short career, all in Chicago with 161 career goals and 118 assists. After retiring in 1987, Darryl Sutter also went into coaching. In 1992, after serving as an assistant to Mike Keenan, he became coach of the Chicago Blackhawks. Of the six brothers, Darry had the most success as an NHL coach, after three seasons in Chicago he moved on to lead the San Jose Sharks for six years and the Calgary Flames for three before taking over behind the bench of the Los Angeles Kings in 2011. In six seasons, with the Kings, Darry Sutter won the Stanley Cup twice in 2012 and 2014. His career has been on hold since being fired in 2017 with 635 career wins. Darryl’s son Brett too followed in his footsteps and is currently playing in the AHL. Brett has appeared in 60 NHL games previously with the Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes.
Duane Sutter was born March 16, 1960. He was the 17th overall pick by the New York Islanders in 1979. He came along at the right time and won the Stanley Cup in each of his first four seasons with the Islanders. After the 1987 season, Duane moved on to play for the Chicago Blackhawks for the final three years of his career. In total, Duane Sutter scored 139 goals with 203 assists. Like his brothers, Duane also coached in the NHL spending parts of two seasons leading the Florida Panthers. His son Brody Sutter is currently playing in the AHL with the Manitoba Moose and has yet to get a taste of life in the NHL.
Brent Sutter was born June 10, 1962. A year after his brother was chosen 17th overall by the Islanders, Brent Sutter was chosen 17th in the 1980 draft. He later joined his brother in 1981 and was part of the Stanley Cup winning teams in 1982 and 1983. After the 1992 season, Brent moved on to play for the Chicago Blackhawks where he was coached by Darryl Sutter. Brent Sutter’s career ended in 1998, with 363 goals and 466 assists. Like his three older brothers, Brent Sutter became an NHL head coach with the New Jersey Devils in 2007. After two seasons in New Jersey, he moved on to the Calgary Flames where his brother Darryl was serving as General Manager at the time. Brent was fired after three unsuccessful seasons in Calgary and returned to his roots as coach of Red Deer Rebels in the Western Hockey League. Brent’s son Brandon Sutter has been a success in the NHL, currently playing with the Vancouver Canucks. Sutter has also played with Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins and had 131 goals entering the 2018/19 season.
Twin brothers Ron and Rich Sutter were born on December 2, 1963. Ron was the fourth overall, while Rick was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins tenth overall in 1982. Ron Sutter made his debut in 1982 with the Flyers and spent nine seasons with the Flyers. Rich Sutter made his debut with the Penguins and spent parts of two seasons with Pittsburgh before joining his twin with the Flyers after a trade on October 23rd. Rich and Ron played together in Philadelphia until 1986, when Rich Sutter was traded to the Vancouver Canucks. Rich Sutter would live the life of a journeyman, spending time with the St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Toronto Maple Leafs before his career ended in 1995. Rich Sutter scored 149 goals with 166 assists in his time in the NHL. Unlike his older brothers, Rich chose a career in broadcasting after leaving the ice. Ron Sutter was reunited with his twin brother with the Blues in 1991. After three years in St. Louis, he spent time with the Quebec Nordiques, New York Islanders, Boston Bruins, and San Jose Sharks before being the last of the Sutter brothers to be an active player with the Calgary Flames in 2001. Rich Sutter ended his career with 205 goals and 328 assists. After retiring, Rich became a scout with the Flames. Both twins had sons that played hockey. Lukas Sutter son of Rich retiring after the 2017 season, without playing in the NHL, after spending time in the Islanders organization. Meanwhile, the Washington Capitals picked Riley Sutter, the son of Ron in the third round of the 2018 NHL draft.
In total, the six Sutter Brothers and their sons have spent time playing of coaching with 15 of the NHL’s 31 current franchises, with no end in sight to the family dynasty.