The Sutter family, originally from Viking, Alberta, Canada, is one of the most famous families in the National Hockey League (NHL). Six brothers: Brent, Brian, Darryl, Duane, Rich, and Ron, reached the NHL in the 1970s and 80s. Four brothers: Brian, Duane, Darryl, and Brent have gone on to become coaches and general managers as well. A seventh brother named Gary is said by his brothers to have been the best hockey player of all seven boys. Rather than making his living as a hockey player, Gary stayed home to work on the family farm, as Rich Sutter remarked on an episode of the Canadian sports show Off the Record.
Collectively, the six Sutter brothers played over 5000 games and captured six Stanley Cups. The second generation of Sutters are beginning to reach the NHL, as Brandon Sutter is now a member of the Carolina Hurricanes, and Brett Sutter is with the Calgary Flames.
The brothers' father, Louis John Sutter, died on February 10, 2005 at the age of 73, following a lengthy illness. Many established hockey figures attended his funeral, including then Edmonton Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe, then Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, then Calgary Flames coach Mike Keenan, Hall of Famer Lanny McDonald and a busload of players from the Calgary Flames.
All six brothers took the same path to the NHL. Each player began their junior careers with the Red Deer Rustlers of the Alberta Junior Hockey League before moving onto the WHL's Lethbridge Broncos. A seventh brother, Gary, was offered a tryout with the Rustlers at the same time Brian was, however he declined, choosing not to pursue the dream of playing in the NHL. Gary's brothers have suggested that he may have been the best player of all of them. Gary did win a $10-million lottery prize with co-workers at a lumber company in Kelowna, B.C.
Drafted in the first round, 17th overall by the New York Islanders in 1980 NHL Entry Draft, Brent Sutter had the most success in the NHL, playing 1111 games and recording 829 points. He won the Stanley Cup twice with the Islanders in 1982 and 1983 along with his brother Duane. Appeared in the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals with the Chicago Blackhawks. After finishing his NHL career, he bought the WHL's Red Deer Rebels where he also formerly served as the Rebels' Head Coach and General Manager. Brent led the Rebels to the Memorial Cup in 2001. He also became the first coach to lead Canada to consecutive gold medals at the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, which he did in 2005 and 2006. In 2007, Brent left his posts with the Rebels to become the Head coach of the New Jersey Devils. On June 23, 2009 he was hired as the head coach of the Calgary Flames. His son Brandon Sutter currently plays for the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League.
The elder brother, Brian Sutter, was drafted by the St. Louis Blues 20th overall in the 1976 NHL Entry Draft and by the Edmonton Oilers 36th overall in the 1976 WHA Entry Draft. He played 12 seasons, all with the St. Louis Blues, appearing in three All-Star Games before becoming a head coach with the Blues, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks. Brian won the Jack Adams Award as best coach in 1991. His #11 is retired by the Blues.
Darryl Sutter was the lowest draft pick of the family, waiting until the 11th round, 179th overall before being selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft. Darryl's playing career was cut short by injuries in 1987 after which he turned to coaching. Darryl spent 11 seasons coaching the Blackhawks--was as an assistant coach in 1992 when the team appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals--San Jose Sharks and Calgary Flames - leading the latter to a surprising run to the 7th game of the Stanley Cup Finals as both the coach and General Manager in 2003–04. Darryl resigned as coach of the Flames to focus on his General Manager's duties in 2006. On December 20, 2011 he was named Head Coach of the L.A. Kings, and was behind the bench for Stanley Cup victories in 2012 and 2014. His son Brett Sutter currently playing with the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League.
Duane Sutter was selected by the Islanders, 17th overall in the 1979 draft. He won the Stanley Cup in his first four seasons with the Islanders. Duane also briefly coached the Florida Panthers from 2000–02. Duane Sutter is currently the director of player personnel for the Calgary Flames organization.
Rich Sutter, twin brother of Ron, was drafted 10th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft. He led the Lethbridge Broncos to a WHL championship in 1983 and a Memorial Cup appearance. Appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1985. Rich played 874 games with seven teams during his 13 year career.
Ron Sutter was the highest draft pick of the family, taken 4th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1982 - six spots ahead of his twin brother Rich. He was a leader of the 1983 WHL champion Broncos. Ron played for seven teams during his NHL career. Appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1985 and 1987. Ron is the only Sutter brother to play professionally for an Alberta team, having finished his career with the Calgary Flames in 2000–01. Rich and Ron spent three seasons together with the Flyers in the early 1980s, and three more with the Blues later in their careers. As a San Jose Shark, Ron was coached by brother Darryl. He is currently working for the Calgary Flames organization as a scout.
Ron and Brian are the only brothers who did not play for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Shaun Sutter, Brian's son, was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 4th round, 102nd overall in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft but never made it to the NHL. He spent the early stages of his career in the ECHL, before heading to Europe to play in the British Elite Ice Hockey League in 2005 where he has since played with the Nottingham Panthers, Sheffield Steelers and Belfast Giants. He was recently appointed an assistant coach with the Western Hockey League's Regina Pats.
Merrick Sutter, Brent's son, took a different path. He had a brief career with the Canmore Eagles of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Sutter elected to go the U.S. College route and gave up a hockey career to concentrate on his academics. He currently serves as the video production coach for the Red Deer Rebels, a team his father owns.
Brett Sutter, Darryl's son, was also drafted by the Calgary Flames as the 179th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He was the captain of his uncle Brent's Red Deer Rebels in the Western Hockey League, playing with his cousin Brandon. He is currently playing in the American Hockey League with the Abbotsford Heat. He made his NHL debut on December 23, 2008 against the Anaheim Ducks, and scored a goal while being named the game's third star.
Brandon Sutter, played under father Brent, who coached him during junior with the Red Deer Rebels and Team Canada at the 2007 Super Series. He served as an alternate captain with the Rebels and played with cousin Brett. He was drafted 11th overall, the highest of the second-generation Sutters, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes. Brandon is also the first of the second-generation to play in the NHL. He scored his first NHL goal for the Carolina Hurricanes on October 23, 2008, against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Lukas Sutter, Rich's son, played midget AAA hockey for the Lethbridge Titans. He was drafted by the Saskatoon Blades in the Western Hockey League 42nd overall in the 2008 Bantam draft. He was selected for the 2009 U.S. Under-17 Select Team for the 2009 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament from Aug. 18-22, in Fussen, Germany .
- Francis, Eric, Big brother is watching, Calgary Sun, February 6, 2004, accessed December 29, 2006
- Tait, Cam New wave of Sutters, Edmonton Journal, December 21, 2006 (subscription required)