The NHL’s best father-son combinations
For fathers and sons, professional sports have always been a fun way to bond and grow closer together, and hockey is no different. Plenty of kids from big Eastern metropolises, to rural Canadian farmland, and everywhere in-between develop a love for hockey from their parents.
Whether or not it’s parents allowing kids to stay up past their bedtimes for playoff overtime, or parents getting up well before dawn and driving kids to a travel tournament hundreds of miles away, hockey has long been a way to bridge the bond between parent and child.
In the NHL, there’s no difference. The child of an NHLer is surrounded by the game from the literal minute they are born, and are often presented with the opportunity to forge their own NHL careers. That being said, here are the best father/son combinations in the history of the NHL, in alphabetical order.
Scotty and Stan Bowman
One of the more unique pairs on the list, as these two aren’t best known for what they’ve done on the ice, but rather for behind-the-bench and front office roles. Widely considered to be one of the greatest coaches in NHL history, Scotty Bowman won an NHL-record nine Stanley Cups (five with Montreal in 1973 and 1976-79, one with Pittsburgh in 1992 and three with Detroit in 1997, 1998 and 2002) and is the only coach to win over 1,000 games, with a record 1,244 wins.
Stan was born a month after Scotty’s first Stanley Cup win in 1973, and was named after the prestigious trophy. He built the Chicago Blackhawks into a salary-cap dynasty, winning Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013 and 2015 (with his father by his side as Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations). Scotty was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991 as a builder, and it won’t be long until Stan gets inducted himself.
Gordie, Mark and Marty Howe
It does not get much better than the Howe Family. After establishing himself as one of the most dominating NHLers of his era (scoring 786 goals and 1,809 points in 1,687 games while hoisting the Stanley Cup on four occasions) over 25 seasons with Detroit, the man justifiably known as Mr. Hockey headed to the WHA’s Houston Aeros, joining his sons Mark and Marty.
Mark Howe went on to become one of the NHL’s best blueliners of the 1980s (yet never winning the Norris Trophy) with Philadelphia, and closed his career out in Detroit as a mentor to a young Nicklas Lidstrom. Marty never quite reached the level of success that his father and brother had, as he scored two goals and 31 points over 197 NHL games. Gordie was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972, while Mark followed in 2011.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t include Gordie’s late wife of 55 years, Colleen, in this category as well. As the matriarch of the Howe family, ‘Mrs. Hockey’ brought Junior A hockey to the United States, built public rinks and even ran for Congress in 1981, all while serving as the family’s agent.
Bobby and Brett Hull
‘The Golden Jet’ may have established himself as one of the NHL’s most polarizing stars of the 1960s and left huge skates for his son to fill, but ‘The Golden Brett’ was not to be outdone. The Hulls are the only father-son combination to score over 50 goals in a season and 600 in a career, and are also the only father-son recipients of the Hart and Lady Byng Trophies. Alongside Chicago Black Hawks teammate Stan Mikita (who also is honored with a statue outside United Center), Bobby was known for pioneering a curved stick blade, and once clocked a 118.3-mph slapshot. With 741 goals (131 more than his father), Brett is the NHL’s third-highest goal scorer, and an 86-goal season in 1990-91 with St. Louis cements him as one of three NHLers to score over 80 goals in a season (the others being Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux).
Both Hulls also found themselves mired in controversy over the years. Unsatisfied with his Black Hawks salary, Bobby defected to the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets in 1972, signing a then-unheard of 10-year, $2.7 million deal — a deal which gave the new league its biggest name and instant credibility. Subsequently, he was blackballed from Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series against the USSR. With the Dallas Stars, Brett was also responsible for the infamous “skate-in-the-crease” goal in triple overtime of Game 6 of the 1999 Stanley Cup final against Buffalo, a goal that still stands up as one of the all-time most controversial.
Bobby was a Hall of Fame inductee in 1983, while Brett followed in 2009.
J-P and Zach Parise
The start of John-Paul Parise‘s NHL featured a lot of movement — after starting out with Boston in 1966-67, he was claimed by the California Seals in the Expansion Draft, dealt to Toronto at the beginning of the season, and dealt once more to Minnesota just over two months later. It never looks good when a player suits up for four different teams in one calendar year, but Parise found a steady home with the upstart North Stars.
J-P scored 141 goals and 374 points in 531 games with the North Stars, before being dealt to the New York Islanders in 1974-75. After three-and-a-half years with the Islanders and a short stint with the Cleveland Barons, Parise returned to Minnesota when the Barons organization merged with the North Stars in 1978. He served as captain in 1978-79, and scored 13 goals and 22 points in 57 games.
Zach Parise was drafted 17th-overall by the New Jersey Devils in 2003, and established himself as one of the league’s elite left wingers after the 2005 lockout. He’s scored 30 or more goals in six of his nine seasons in the NHL, and scored a career-high 45 goals and 94 points in 2008-09. In the 2012 offseason, he returned to his father’s home province after signing a mammoth 13-year, $98 million deal with the Minnesota Wild. He was the Wild’s leading scorer in 2014-15 with 33 goals and 62 points.
Zach also represented Team USA on a number of occasions, including World Juniors in 2003 and 2004, World Championships in 2005, 2007 and 2008, and Olympic Games in 2010 and 2014. While J-P never made the Hall of Fame, Parise is continuing to make a strong case.
Peter and Paul Stastny
In 1980, Peter Stastny was considered one of the league’s most polarizing players before he even stepped on NHL ice. Alongside his brother Anton, Stastny defected from Czechoslovakia and joined the Quebec Nordiques (with a third brother, Marian, joining a year later). The move was groundbreaking, and led to a massive influx of Eastern Bloc talent in the NHL.
Peter spent 10 years with the Nordiques, scoring 380 goals and 1,048 points in 737 games. With 109 points in 1980-81, he became the first player to crack 100 points in his rookie season, and his 1,059 points in the 1980s decade are the most of anyone not named Wayne Gretzky. He spent four seasons with New Jersey where he scored 64 goals and 173 points in 217 games, and closed out his career with two short seasons in St. Louis.
Paul Stastny entered the league with Colorado in 2006-07, and made an immediate impact with 28 goals and 78 points. He established himself as a playmaking center in eight seasons with the Avalanche, scoring 160 goals and 458 points. He signed a four-year deal with the Blues in 2014, and scored 16 goals and 46 points in a secondary role.
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