CALGARY -- When Freddie and Dougie Hamilton were kids the presents they unwrapped on Christmas morning usually had something to do with hockey. Maybe it was a pair of gloves, or a set of shoulder pads or a new stick. Then it was out to the neighbourhood rink to try out the near gear.
The next day, however, was spent inside. Sure they continued to play with their gifts, but their main focus was to watch Canada at the world junior championship on television.
"I not sure which one was the first one," said Dougie, who along with his brother Freddie will suit up for Canada in the semifinals on Tuesday. "All those games sort of blur together when you're younger. But it was always a good time of the year for us.
"It's been a dream since we were little kids. I don't know if we thought it was a possibility until the last couple years. It's pretty cool that this happened. This has been one of the best experiences of my lifetime."
Freddie and Dougie is the first brother combination on the Canadian junior team since Mike and Randy Moller 30 years ago. The Mollers won gold back then in 1982. With two more wins this week, the Hamiltons would duplicate the family feat.
But it wouldn't be the first time an international sporting medal was won by the Hamilton family. Doug Sr. won a bronze medal in the quadruple sculls event at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and gold in the same event at the 1985 world rowing championship.
The Hamilton's mother, Lynn, met Doug Sr. at the 1984 Olympics. She was a guard with the Canadian women's basketball team, which finished fourth in Los Angeles. The former Lynn Polson played eight seasons on the national basketball team and won a bronze at the 1986 world championship.
Mom and Pop Hamilton have been with their sons in Alberta since the selection camp opened its doors three weeks ago, and this has truly been a family affair for the St. Catharines, Ont. residents.
"Even though they didn't play hockey, playing a sport at high level is similar off the ice," Freddie said. "There is commitment, time management and the whole mental side of sports. They have helped so much in terms of preparation and dealing with the highs and lows, and with training."
Dougie and Freddie got up and close and personal watching elite-level athletes perform at the 1999 Pan-American Games in Winnipeg, when Doug was the Rowing Canada's high-performance director.
The Hamilton brothers used to play basketball. In fact, their mother was once their coach. They also tried rowing once, but weren't very good. It was easy to fall back into hockey; a sport they liked from the first time they laced up their skates.
Doug, a lawyer, and his wife are not pushy hockey parents. They have been supportive and stress education. Both Hamiltons have been named winners of the Ivan Tennant Memorial Award -- Freddie in 2010 and Dougie the next year -- as the OHL's scholastic player of the year. The parents also have emphasized that Freddie and Dougie get along.
Freddie, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Sunday is 15 months older than Dougie. They play together on the Niagara IceDogs with current Canadian teammates Ryan Strome and Mark Visentin. Getting along is not easy for siblings whey they spend as much time together Dougie and Freddie. But because they share similar goals the brothers get along.
"We were never in the same class or the same team growing up," Dougie said. "But I always looked up to him. When he stayed at home to play junior, I wanted to stay at home and play. When he got drafted [by the San Jose Sharks in the fifth round of the 2010 NHL entry draft] I wanted to get drafted, too."
Dougie was taken ninth overall by the Boston Bruins last June.
"We're best friends and sometimes best friends get annoyed with each other," Freddie added. "But we never let it get any worse than that."
But both know that one day they could be playing against each other in the NHL with the Sharks and Bruins.
"We just hope we both make it," Freddie said. "Our goal is to one day play each other in the Stanley Cup. But first we have a lot of hockey to play on the same team this week and the rest of the season."
Back to accessibility links