Winter 2022 magazine

Staal brothers play in same NHL game for 11th time as they live for God

Florida Panthers center Eric Staal played the 1,300th game of his NHL career Wednesday night, and two of his brothers were on hand to “celebrate” the occasion — by playing in the same game. Marc Staal is Eric’s teammate in Florida while Jordan Staal is in his 11th season with the Carolina Hurricanes.

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The Panthers’ 3-0 win over the Hurricanes marked the 11th time the three Staal brothers played in the same NHL game. They combined for four shots in 43:13 on the ice.

In between the second and third periods, Marc was asked by Bally Sports Florida’s Katie Engleson for one thing people should know about Eric that they may not be aware of.

“I mean, he’s played 1,300 games so I’m pretty sure everyone’s gonna know this, but he’s probably one of the more competitive guys that I’ve met and had the privilege to be a brother to,” Marc said. “He just wants to win, and he loves the game. That’s probably the biggest thing.”

Growing up in Thunder Bay, Ontario, the four Staal brothers — all of whom would reach the NHL — had the importance of faith emphasized to them from an early age by their parents, Henry and Linda Staal. Jordan explained in a 2018 interview with Promise Keepers Canada that his parents led them to make his relationship with God a priority.

“To this day I still don’t know how my parents did it,” he said. “Fortunately we had a lot of help from friends, and a lot of people helped us out shuttling kids to and from practice. My parents obviously did an unbelievable job of giving us the opportunity to play all the hockey we could. As I grew up I knew it wasn’t all just hockey though; I knew that we had to make time for God and our relationship with Him. My parents did a great job of instilling that in us and letting us know that whether it’s hockey or in anything else in life, it’s easy to say that you’re busy, but it’s very important to make time for God.”

Eric — the oldest brother — made his NHL debut in 2003, followed by Jordan in 2006 and Marc in 2007. The fourth brother, Jared, played two games for the Hurricanes in 2013. Eric won a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006, and Jordan did the same with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009.

This is the third time multiple Staal brothers have been on the same team. Eric and Jordan were in Carolina together from the 2012-13 season until Eric was traded to Marc’s New York Rangers midway through the 2015-16 season. Back in March, they became the first trio of brothers to appear in 1,000 NHL games.

In 2012, the four brothers created the Staal Family Foundation, which seeks to “to help improve the quality of life for children with cancer and their families.” Their firm foundation of faith has allowed them to keep everything in perspective during their hockey journey.

“Hockey is an unbelievable sport and something that has obviously been a big part of my life, but it’s not all me; it’s not something I live for,” Jordan told Promise Keepers Canada. “I live for God, and hockey is definitely something that I want to give God the glory for.”

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