Many times, athletes come from families of athletes. Obviously this isn’t always true, but the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. And those bloodlines can give them the genetic advantage that helps them physically to excel in sports. There are many players in the NHL now whose fathers and uncles and grandfathers played professional hockey. There’s also more than one set of multiple brothers playing in the NHL like the Staals. So today, we’ll look at the Lightning and look for brothers playing professional hockey and where they’ll be for this upcoming season.
You may not know this, but Victor Hedman is actually the youngest of three hockey playing brothers, all of them denfesemen. Oldest brother Johan last played professionally in 2013-14, but never really reached high levels of professional hockey, mostly playing in the lower level minors in Sweden.
Oscar Hedman, the middle brother, is a fairly good player in his own right. Oscar won an SHL Championship with MODO Hockey in 2006-07, a year before Victor joined the team. He was also drafted in the fifth round of the 2004 draft by the Washington Capitals. Oscar never left Sweden however and has had a long career in the SHL with over 650 regular season games. Oscar has re-signed with MODO Hockey for two more seasons. However, MODO Hockey was relegated to the Allsvenskan league after a poor season. They’ll be attempting to re-gain their place in the SHL at the end of this season.
Andrei’s older brother, Alexei, is a defenseman who was never drafted. He spent a few years bouncing between Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the KHL and the minor league VHL. Last season, he moved to Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg of the KHL and put in his first full season in the KHL with 15 points in 51 games. He is signed for the next two seasons with Avtomobilist.
The younger brother of Braydon, Greg won two ECAC Championships with Union College. Like Braydon, Greg is a defenseman with decent size listed at 6’0″ and 185 pounds. He had pretty good offensive skills and was close to a half point per game player during his collegiate career. After graduating, Greg spent a year in the ECHL playing for the Las Vegas Wranglers where he had 20 points in 69 games. In 2014-15 he played 24 games in the French league with 10 points for Amiens. He has not played professionally since.
Coming from a family with 13 children, it’s not surprising that Brian Boyle wasn’t the only one to come out as a professional athlete. Younger brother Timothy has a slighter frame than big brother Brian listed at 6’2″ and 185 pounds. He was drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 draft by the Ottawa Senators. After being drafted he attended Union College for a year, coincidentally as a teammate of Greg Coburn, but left after a season where he only had 2 points in 15 games.
He spent a year playing in the USPHL Premier league, a Tier 3 junior league before returning to college at Endicott College of the ACHA, a lower tier collegiate hockey program. After a year with Endicott, Timothy turned professional and spent 2015-16 with the Mississippi RiverKings of the SPHL. He’s under contract for next season to play with the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs in the SPHL.
Shane Conacher’s story is fairly similar to older brother Cory’s. A small player listed at 5’11” and 174 pounds, he went undrafted and attended college at Canisius College. He was nearly a point per game player for Canisius and left after three years to turn professional. He made his professional debut with the Toronto Marlies and had 3 points in 7 games to finish the 2015-16 season. Shane will be playing with the Toronto Marlies for the 2016-17 season as he chases his own NHL dreams.
Sean Condra is significantly younger than brother Erik having just turned 18 on July 28th. He spent last season playing with the Green Bay Jr. Gamblers U18 team in Midget hockey where he had 30 points in 56 games. I could not find any information to indicate where Sean would play this coming season and it may be up to his having a good showing in camp potentially for a USHL team.
Older brother Ilari went undrafted unlike little brother Valtteri. Like Valtteri, Ilari is a center that is a better playmaker than he is a goal scorer. He did come to the United States to play for the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL, the Detroit Red Wings affiliate. Despite putting up 64 points in 76 games, he never made it to the NHL and returned to the Finnish Liiga the following season. With 9 full seasons in Liiga, plus his 1 AHL season, Ilari tried his hand in Russia with CSKA Moscow in 2013-14.
After his one year stint in Russia, Ilari went to Switzerland and played with HC Lugano for a season and a half. Mid-way through 2015-16 he was traded to MODO Hockey of the SHL in Sweden. Despite his 14 point performance over 7 games in the relegation series, he could not prevent MODO Hockey from being relegated to the Allsvenskan league. He is under contract to play for the Malmo Redhawks in the SHL for next season.