It was a family affair on Saturday afternoon at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. For the first time in their NHL careers, the most recent first overall pick, Jack Hughes, faced off against his brother, Quinn Hughes as the New Jersey Devils hosted the Vancouver Canucks.
In accordance with this inaugural meeting, the brothers had approximately 75 family members in attendance to watch them play. Many of whom, including their parents, donned shirts with both the Devils and Canucks logo. On one sleeve was Quinn’s number 43, and on the other was Jack’s 86. No playing favorites, of course!
The look alikes met for the obligatory pregame photo at center ice during warmups. It was a moment of foreshadowing and recognition of the damage the pair will cause for years to come.
With the spotlight centered around two of the league’s freshest faces, it could easily be forgotten that there was a game to play that afternoon. But soon, that too, would become about the Hughes brothers. At 14:08 of the first period, Jack took a crisp cross-ice pass from Taylor Hall and fired the puck into the back of the net for the first goal of his NHL career. The tally gave the Devils a 1-0 lead that would ultimately stand as the final score.
It took Jack until his eighth game to find the goal column, but he did it theatrically netting a beauty in the first Hughes meeting. The goal came just 10 days after Quinn scored his first career goal, a blistering slap shot past Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings. Quinn was the seventh overall pick in the 2018 draft, but like Jack, made his debut at the start of this season.
It was a surreal moment to see Jack score his first with Quinn just a few feet away on the Canucks bench. Quinn was sure to make his presence felt later in the game too, fending off his little brother with a stiff arm on the breakout. The move sent Jack to the ice as Quinn led his team towards the offensive zone.
Watching Jack score his first goal on Saturday, Canucks fans were reminded of the dream of uniting the siblings in another brother duo. Having the Hughes brothers follow in the footsteps of the Sedin twins in Vancouver would have been the perfect narrative in their eyes. Alas, it was not meant to be as the Devils won the 2019 Draft Lottery, and selected Jack first overall.
The NHL has a long line of history on brother battles in the league. Some of the most recent sets include the Staals, Giontas, Benns, Subbans and Koivus to name a few. Every time brothers face one another, it certainly brings back childhood memories of growing up playing hockey.
The Hughes duo is only the latest edition of hockey brothers to make it on the big stage. Before long, this duo will become a trio as their youngest brother, Luke Hughes, makes his way up the ranks. Luke, who is only 16, currently plays for the United States National Development Team, just as Quinn and Jack did prior to entering the NHL. The youngest of the Hughes will be eligible to be drafted in 2021. If he pans out as anticipated, Luke will follow the path paved by his older brothers and be drafted in the first round.
It is no surprise to see the talent that exists in this family as both of their parents played hockey extensively. Their mother, Ellen, won a Silver Medal at the 1992 Olympics with the United States Women’s Hockey Team. Both she and the father, Jim, played hockey through college. Jim went on to become an assistant coach with the Boston Bruins and the Director of Player Development for the Toronto Maple Leafs. They live and breathe hockey in this family.
Dylan Barrett is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @dylan_barrett_.