Brotherly love…of a sport

Unless you have twins, it’s unlikely you’ve experienced more than one child on the same sports team at the same time as there are usually strict requirements regarding age cutoffs. By the time jardinemost children reach high school age, many have dropped out of the numerous sports they played in childhood. The distant memories of sports played long ago may only return while cleaning out the garage; the lacrosse pads from fifth grade, the field hockey stick you knew would never last more than one season or the skates that lay rusting behind the Halloween decoration box.

The Rye Varsity Hockey team features four sets of brothers. Back row from left are all the senior brothers: Jack O’Brien, Griffin Tutun, Cal Hynson and Connor McGovern. Front row from left are the younger brothers: Tommy O’Brien, Will Tutun, Will Hynson and Mac McGovern. Photos/Lisa Jardine

The Rye Varsity Hockey team features four sets of brothers. Back row from left are all the senior brothers: Jack O’Brien, Griffin Tutun, Cal Hynson and Connor McGovern. Front row from left are the younger brothers: Tommy O’Brien, Will Tutun, Will Hynson and Mac McGovern. Photos/Lisa Jardine

But that’s not the case at Rye High School this winter season. This year is a very special one for the varsity hockey team. Not only do they have brothers on the same team, they have four sets of them.

Imagine, 32 percent of the players on the Rye High School Hockey team are related to someone else on the same team.

This is a new experience for Rye High hockey coach Jason Friesen.

“This is my fourteenth season coaching varsity hockey, my eleventh at Rye High School, and I’ve coached brothers before, but never four sets. I think the most I’ve ever coached was two,” Friesen said. “It definitely makes for some very interesting interactions between the brothers. I think there is a lot of carryover from the house to the locker room. The dynamics and interactions are quite humorous at times.”

The Rye High School varsity hockey team at practice over winter break.

The Rye High School varsity hockey team at practice over winter break.

Many people know of famous sports-playing siblings like the Williams sisters, the Manning brothers and the Harbaugh brothers to name a few. They exist in every sport. Since 1917, there have been 47 pairs of brothers playing together in the NHL on the same team. Ten have even gone on to win the Stanley Cup together. But I couldn’t find any team that had multiple sets of brothers at one time, let alone four.

The Hynson brothers, Cal and Will; the McGovern brothers, Connor and Mac; the O’Brien brothers, Jack and Tommy, and the Tutun brothers, Griffin and Will, have all played ice hockey over the years growing up in Rye together.

The McGovern family values the time the boys have together.

A Rye High School hockey player shoots and scores.

A Rye High School hockey player shoots and scores.

“It is so special having Connor and Mac on the same team before Connor goes off to college. It has been such a bonding experience for them,” Susan McGovern said. “In addition, we have watched all the brothers play on the Rye Rangers since they were squirts and to have them all play together as one team is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

The family legacy at Rye High School goes back even further for the Hynson family.

“We are so proud that Cal and Will are third generation Rye hockey players. Both my husband, Colin, and his father, Richard, played for RHS,” Susan Hynson said.

Picture 2By now you may have noticed that this team has a few other interesting data points: Three of the four moms names are Susan and three out of the four younger players are named either Will or William; Mac is a nickname.

When asked, the coach couldn’t come up with anything negative to say about having so many members on his team related to one another.

“I haven’t witnessed any minuses, only plusses,” Friesen said. “The younger brothers seem to be more comfortable and pick things up quicker. I also think it’s great for the parents to see their younger sons playing with their older brothers. I think that it will leave the younger brothers feeling very fortunate to have played with their older brothers. They will always be able to reminisce about the season they played together.”

The only negative I could think of would be the double laundry. After one visit to the hockey locker room, I had complete sympathy for whoever had to open those hockey bags after practice.

Just from the few minutes I spent with the players, it was obvious they think having a brother on the team is a pretty cool situation.

“It is a great experience getting to play with my brother, especially since I have had the opportunity of playing on the same line with him,” Jack O’Brien said. “It is nice coming home after a game and having a teammate to discuss the outcome.”

This is the first time any of the brothers are on the same team together, and with the older brothers going to college in the fall, it will most likely be the last.

“I cannot even begin to describe the love and pride I feel watching my two boys play together. I am truly awestruck,” Sue O’Brien said. “Added to that are the boys in our extended family, who I have loved as my own, all skating together…the feeling is simply amazing and overwhelming.”

The pride extends to the players, too.

“It’s really cool to have my younger brother on my team for my senior year. I’ve never had the chance to play on a team with him. It’s a great opportunity to set an example,” Connor McGovern said.

Cal Hynson summed it up well.

“Our team is like a family on the ice and having my brother on the team makes it that much better,” he said.

 

 

“I’m always on the lookout for a great story, an amazing restaurant, an unusual day trip or a must-see cultural event in Westchester County.”

To contact Lisa, email lisa@hometwn.com. And you can follow her on Twitter, @westchesterwand