Throughout its storied history, the National Hockey League has seen more than a few brother combinations who also happened to be teammates. Whether it was Maurice and Henri Richard from those great Montreal teams of days gone by or the three Stastny brothers who skated for the Quebec Nordiques back in the 1980s, NHL hockey has always been something of a family affair.
And that even applies to history of the Dallas Stars as Aaron and Neal Broten were teammates during the franchise’s days in Minnesota. For much of the past few seasons, the Stars have had their own brother combination in current captain Jamie Benn and his older brother Jordie, a veteran defenseman who is three years older than No. 14 but who traveled a long road that included a stop in the Central Hockey League before making his NHL debut on Jan. 3, 2012 against the Detroit Red Wings.
That game was extra special for the Benn brothers for another reason. While the Stars lost to the Wings 5-4 at American Airlines Center that Monday night, Jamie and Jordie assisted on a goal by Loui Eriksson in the loss, a moment neither of them will ever forget.
“Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. Obviously, his first NHL game in Dallas against a team like Detroit, I know he looked up to players like [Niklas] Lidstrom and obviously watched Pavel [Datsyuk] and [Henrik] Zetterberg,” Jamie Benn said. “To assist on the same goal Loui [Eriksson] scored was probably a moment that we’ll never forget.”
The Benn brothers have yet to replicate that feat but in the Stars’ 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Oct. 5, their first win of the season and also of the Lindy Ruff era, each of them registered an assist, another cool achievement for this affable duo.
“When you can contribute a little bit on the offensive side of things, it’s nice but defense first for me anyway,” Jordie Benn said. “I know Jamie likes to score and get points for us. But when I can contribute, it’s always nice.”
And in a 5-1 loss at Minnesota on Saturday, Jordie Benn scored his first goal of the season, when he netted Dallas’ lone tally of the game at 12:40 in the second period with the Stars on the power play.
The Stars have split the first two games of their current three-game road trip, which ends on Tuesday night in Colorado. And no matter how that game with the Avalanche turns out, the Benn brothers are definitely savoring the unique experience of being teammates. They also live together off the ice.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you dream of playing in the NHL. When you’re younger, you play road hockey. You’d be certain players and it’s a dream come true to finally make it. But when you play on the same team as your brother it’s obviously pretty special for me and him and our family and friends,” Jamie Benn said. “It’s pretty special to skate out here every day. We live together off the ice to grow as hockey players and as people as well.”
Jordie Benn was asked jokingly if he thought his younger brother had let being named the Stars’ captain prior to the season go to his head but the savvy older brother didn’t take the bait and had nothing but positive things to say about his brother wearing the “C”.
“No, not at all. He’s definitely taken the ‘C’ and run with it. You can definitely see he’s maturing a lot. Just growing up with him, every year, every year he’s been in the NHL he’s been obviously growing up a little bit more. Ever since he’s put the ‘C’ on his shoulder, he’s taken the lead of this team,” Jordie Benn said. “You can see it out on the ice, see it in practice and see it in just the way he presents himself and the way he brings his game to the rink every day.” Besides the Benn brothers playing different positions and with one, Jamie, being offensive minded and Jordie being defensive minded, the other main difference in them is how long it took Jordie to make it to the NHL while Jamie’s track to debuting was a bit quicker.
However, no matter how he got to this point, as a defenseman for the Stars under Ruff, he credits some sage advice from their father growing up for always helping him to maintain his focus and keep pushing toward his goals no matter how tough things became.
“My old man told me to never quit,” Jordie Benn said. “You never know what could happen. I got it tattooed on myself. You never know, so what’s the point in quitting and trying something new? You just keep going and obviously it’s worked out so far.”