Today’s Father’s Day, and the start of the final full week before the 2015 NHL Draft, so let’s spend a little bit of time talking about fathers and sons. The Calgary Flames are a team nestled snugly in hockey history; Alberta’s a traditional hockey market and tons of western Canadian fathers and sons have played the game together.
In terms of the Flames franchise, there are three established prominent pairs of fathers and sons, as well as a couple former Flames that could see their off-spring join the organization next weekend in Florida.
DARRYL & BRETT SUTTER
We had a near-miss in terms of Sutter family ties in the Flames organization a few years prior. Brian Sutter was the head coach of the Flames from 1997 to 2000, the first of three Sutter brothers to serve in that position. His son, Shaun, was selected by the Flames in the fourth round of the 1998 Draft, following Brian’s first season behind the bench. However, Shaun never made the NHL and Brian left the Flames organization after the 1999-2000 campaign, so Brian never coached Shaun at the NHL level.
But Darryl Sutter became the Flames head coach in late 2002 and added GM duties in the spring of 2003. After a couple of seasons in the GM’s chair, he drafted his own son, Brett, in the sixth round of the 2005 Draft. Brett progressed fairly decently, projecting as a bottom-six player and taking advantage of Calgary’s lack of depth to challenge for an NHL job. Sutter was the GM, but no longer the coach, when Brett debuted in the NHL in late 2008. He seemed like he might just work out as a fringe NHLer, but after an altercation with a cabbie in Arizona in November 2010 that resulted in an arrest, Darryl Sutter traded away his own son.
Christmas might have been awkward in Viking, Alberta that year.
PAUL & MAX REINHART
Paul Reinhart was the Atlanta Flames’ final first round selection in 1979, and played nine seasons in the Flames organization between Atlanta and Calgary. Reinhart was a pure finesse player, an excellent skater who really added to the Flames’ attack when he was on the ice – so much so that he was almost an extra forward when he was on the ice. Reinhart had three sons, all of whom were drafted into the NHL. His eldest, Max, was selected by his dad’s old team in 2010 and the duo became the first father and son to both have played for the Flames when Max made his NHL debut on April 6, 2013 in his hometown of Vancouver, in front of his friends and family.
ROB & JOHN RAMAGE
Rob Ramage was the first overall pick in the same 1979 Draft that Paul Reinhart was picked in and began his career for the Colorado Rockies. Eventually, he found his way to Calgary and was a defensive back-bone for the team that won a Stanley Cup in 1989. His son John was drafted by the Flames in the 2010 Draft and after a college career with the University of Wisconsin, he turned pro with the organization in 2013-14. After winning an ECHL championship in his first pro season, he spent the next season in the AHL and made his NHL debut in Winnipeg on the final day of the regular season. The Ramages became the second father and son to both don the Flaming C during their careers.
As an added bonus, the Flames gave John his father’s jersey number when he made his NHL debut.
DRAFTING SONS OF FORMER FLAMES
Prince George Cougars forward Jansen Harkins is ranked 15th among North American skaters by Central Scouting. His father is Cougars coach/general manager and former Flame Todd Harkins, who suited up for 20 games in the early 1990s. He’ll be a first round pick, and could be a good fit for the Flames with his two-way playing style.
Another Western Leaguer with Flames bloodlines is Adam Musil, ranked 61st by Central Scouting. The Red Deer Rebels forward is the son of ex-Flame (and Oiler) Frank Musil, who patrolled Calgary’s blueline for five seasons in the early ’90s. Like Harkins, Musil is a smart, two-way player with some offensive upside.
SUM IT UP
Happy Father’s Day, everybody!