Father of Sutter brothers passes away

Louis Sutter, the patriarch of the country's greatest hockey family, died on Thursday after a lengthy illness.

Louis Sutter, the patriarch of the country's greatest hockey family, died on Thursday after a lengthy illness.

He was 73. Funeral services are scheduled for Tuesday in Viking.

Sutter watched six of his sons play in the NHL.

Brian Sutter was the first son to play in the big leagues, debuting with the St. Louis Blues during the 1976-77 season. He was followed by Darryl, Duane, Brent and twins Rich and Ron.

"All of Alberta and the hockey world understands the impact that Mr. Sutter and his family have had on our game and in our communities," Ken King, president of the Calgary Flames, who are managed and coached by Darryl Sutter, said in a statement. "Mr. Sutter instilled strong values, strong character and strong work ethic in his sons.

"We extend our sympathies to Mrs. Grace Sutter, her sons and their families on the loss of Mr. Sutter."

All six Sutter brothers remain deeply involved in hockey although their playing days are over.

Brian, 48, is head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks. Darryl, 46, guided the Flames to the Stanley Cup final last spring. His father didn't attend the games because of his illness.

Duane, 44, is director of player development for the Florida Panthers. Brent, 42, is GM-coach of the WHL's Red Deer Rebels and coached Canada to the world junior title last month.

Twins Rich and Ron, 41, are both pro scouts for the Minnesota Wild and Flames, respectively.

with files from Canadian Press