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Hughes brothers talk importance of family as they make NHL history

Jack Hughes Luke Hughes New Jersey Devils Quinn Hughes Vancouver Canucks Jack Hughes Luke Hughes Quinn Hughes - The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — Quinn Hughes maintains he is treating it as "one more game."

Jack Hughes pointed out the rareness of making the NHL, let alone three brothers all playing in the league, while Luke Hughes said it's something he's dreamt of his entire life.

The siblings joined a select list Tuesday night as the Vancouver Canucks hosted the New Jersey Devils, with all three playing.

"I'm sure at some point on the ice, or warm-ups up or during the game," said Canucks captain Quinn Hughes when asked when the realization he and his siblings, both players with the Devils, are joining NHL history.

"I'm trying to temper my emotions."

Quinn, Jack and Luke make up the first American family in NHL history to have three siblings selected in the first round of the draft, and Tuesday's contest was set to become the ninth time three brothers played in the same game.

“It's something we've dreamt up to one day play on the same team," Luke said. "Hopefully we do that, but I don't know if you really dream about playing against them but over the last couple years, knowing me and Jack were going to be on the same team is pretty cool and knowing we get to do this and play against him is pretty cool."

The others include the Bouchers (first season: 1921-22; last season: 1923-24), Cooks (first: 1931-32; last: 1934-35), Bentleys (1942-43), Plagers (first: 1967-68; last: 1975-76), Stastnys (first: 1981-82; last: 1985-86), Sutters (first: 1981-82; last: 1993-94), Brotens (1989-90) and Staals (first: 2012-13; last: 2022-23).

"I knew the Staals," said Jack about becoming part of NHL history.

"(Quinn) always believed in me, always thought I'd be special. I'm lucky to have such a good older brother."

But the forward emphasized that he views it as a celebration of family.

"For one kid to get the NHL, it's really hard, so for three in one family to all be playing in one game tonight, that's really special and just really exciting," he said. "I think we should have a lot of fun and this is the first of many, but it's a just a really special night."

Heading into Tuesday's game, Quinn shares the NHL lead in points among defencemen (34), Jack leads the Devils in assists (21) and points (30) and Luke tops rookie blueliners in scoring (14).

Jack had one goal and two assists, including one helper for his brother Luke, in the 6-5 win for New Jersey on Tuesday. Quinn had two assists.

Quinn Hughes said unlike the Tkachuk family, where brothers Matthew and Brady promised their mom they would never fight each other, nothing similar was needed from them.

"I don't think she needed to ask for any promise," he said.

Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet spoke of the impact of the Hughes brothers all playing has on the NHL.

"I think it's great for hockey, look at the talent of those three guys," he said. "They're competitive brothers. Yeah, they're brothers but they want to showcase their talents."

The game also marked the return of former Canuck head coach Travis Green, who joined Devils head coach Lindy Ruff's coaching staff in June.

Green spent parts of 2017 to 2022 with the Canucks after coaching the Utica Comets in the American Hockey League for four seasons.

"Travis has been awesome. He loves the game, works really hard at it, he's been great with the players. He was as advertised," said Ruff.

Tocchet said he and Green are close friends, and he called the former Canucks bench boss about the role before accepting it.

"He's one of my closest friends. I think he's a hell of a coach. I'm glad he's back in," said Tocchet, adding that the pair speak about once a week. "Hopefully he gets another kick at the can, I think he deserves it."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2023.