NHL's Hughes brothers enjoyed growing up in a 'crazy' hockey home
Along with youngest sibling Luke, Canucks' Quinn and Devils' Jack remember hectic Friday nights
There were many frenzied Fridays at the Hughes house.
Growing up, all three Hughes brothers played hockey in the Toronto Marlies system.
"It was crazy," remembers Quinn Hughes, the oldest brother who is a rookie defenceman turning heads with the Vancouver Canucks. "You would come home from school, everyone would nap, then we would play.
"It was fun. It was definitely weird. We were so serious about it."
Luke, the youngest, took the ice first. Then Luke and Quinn would watch Jack. Finally, Quinn played as Luke, Jack and their parents cheered from the stands.
"It was pretty crazy," said Jack, the 18-year-old centre who the New Jersey Devils picked first overall in this year's NHL draft. "Like Friday Night Lights almost. The three of us would play back-to-back-to-back. It was pretty fun."
Quinn, 20, was Vancouver's seventh overall pick in the 2018 draft. Born in Florida, he played for the U.S. under-18 team and the University of Michigan. He joined the Canucks for 17 games last year and collected three assists.
WATCH | Quinn Hughes gets front-row seat to brother Jack's 1st NHL goal:
In 18 games this year Quinn has 12 points (two goals, 10 assists).
Jack spent last season with the U.S national under-18 team. His game is built around speed, skating and good vision. In 17 games with the Devils he has four goals and nine points.
Luke, 16, is currently playing for the U.S. under-17 team and plans to attend Michigan.
Quinn and Jack faced each other for the second time this season in the Devils' 2-1 win over the Canucks on Nov. 10 in Vancouver. In their first meeting on Oct. 19 Jack scored his first NHL goal in a 1-0 Devils win.
In Sunday's game, Quinn had an assist while Jack was kept off the scoresheet.
Jack started the season pointless in six games, but Quinn has seen an improvement in his brother's play.
"The difference he's made since the last time we played him, he looked like a really good player out there," Quinn said. "He's making a big impact, so I'm happy for him. I'm sure by game 50 or 60 he's going to be even better."
Jack holding a 2-0 lead in head-to-head meetings is already a family discussion point.
"That should be pretty big bragging rights come summertime," he said.
At five-foot-11, Jack is about inch taller than Quinn. The brothers both weigh around 170 pounds.
Colorado Avalanche defenceman Cale Makar currently leads all NHL rookies with five goals and 13 assists in 18 games. Quinn is ranked fourth in rookie scoring while Jack is sixth.
Jack believes the Calder Trophy race for the league's top rookie will be settled between his brother and Makar.
"I think I'm playing pretty good hockey, but Makar and Quinn are kind of separated from the pack right now," he said. "Both are playing lights out."
Jack has been centring New Jersey's top line of Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri. Hall spent six seasons with the Edmonton Oilers and was a teammate of Connor McDavid in his rookie year.
"I think Connor was probably a bit more developed physically at the same age," Hall said. "Jack is still growing. The skill and the creativity are there.
"The way that Connor plays, and the way Connor always wants to make a play, you can see that in Jack. Over the last eight or nine games you've seen some growth with Jack. He's been playing really well."
Quinn is a smooth skater with a high hockey IQ, excellent vision and good at distributing the puck. He recently was added to the Canucks' power play where he has contributed a goal and nine assists.
Vancouver coach Travis Green said he didn't want to rush Quinn onto the power play.
"We wanted him to really understand the power play," Green said. "I didn't want to put him on the power play right from the get-go and have to take him off if it didn't succeed."
The brothers' hockey talent is hereditary.
Jim Hughes, their father, was a defenceman and captain at Providence College. He coached the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL and was an assistant with the Boston Bruins and director of player development for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Their mother, Ellen Weinberg-Hughes, played hockey at the University of New Hampshire and won a silver medal for the United States at the 1992 women's world championship. She was inducted into the University of New Hampshire Athletics Hall of Fame in four categories: hockey, lacrosse, soccer and as a coach.
Quinn said growing up his mother didn't talk much about her hockey career.
"She doesn't toot her own horn," he said. "We all respected her opinion. She would give us advice."
Jack said when his father was away coaching, his mother filled in.
"When we were young it was her kind of critiquing our games and helping us out, watching us play," he said. "She's been a huge help and she still is.
"As we got older, she's been a really good support system."
Jack and Quinn were members of the U.S. team that lost 3-2 to Finland at the world junior tournament in Vancouver earlier this year. It was only the third time they played together as teammates.
Given his choice, Quinn would rather be on Jack's side than play against him.
"It's probably better to have him (on your team) because he's really good," he said. "It's a weird dynamic playing against your brother."