Freddie and Dougie Hamilton hope to be the first brothers to play for the Canadian junior men's hockey team in 30 years.
Freddie, a 19-year-old forward, and Dougie, an 18-year-old defenceman, are among the 47 players at the national team's summer development camp this week in Edmonton.
Randy and Mike Moller were the last siblings to play for Canada at the world junior championships in 1982. Randy was a defenceman and Mike played forward.
“It's pretty cool,” Freddie says. “This doesn't happen a lot where two brothers get to come and try out for the team.
“I've heard it's been 20-something years since two brothers made the team. That's our goal. That would just be so exciting, but even to get here and share that experience is a lot of fun.”
The brothers are teammates with the Ontario Hockey League's Niagara IceDogs, but they've been split up onto different training squads at junior camp.
That means they're going head-to-head in the weekend's intra-squad games to conclude the six-day camp. In a scrimmage earlier in camp, the brothers tangled briefly along the boards for the puck.
“I think it would be fun to hit him a bit,” Freddie said. “Leading in to this camp we were doing some drills on the ice and some battle drills. It gets pretty competitive.
“It would be fun to go in the corner with him. Hopefully he doesn't lay me out too hard.”
Freddie was a fifth-round pick of the San Jose Sharks last year, while Dougie was drafted ninth overall by Boston this year.
The Hamiltons have athletic bloodlines as their parents were Olympians in other sports. Their father Doug was a rower for Canada at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics and won bronze in ‘84. Their mother Lynn was on the Olympic women's basketball team in 1984.
“The Canada flag has been pretty big in our house,” Dougie says. “That's why this jersey is pretty special for us. There's also a lot of good genes for me and my brother.”
The brothers were born in Toronto, but the family moved to St. Catharines, Ont., a few years ago when Freddie was drafted by the IceDogs.
Freddie and Dougie played some basketball when they were younger and gave rowing a try. But neither took to those sports like they did to hockey.
Dougie, six-foot-four and 187 pounds, is a mobile skater, a smart passer and has a big shot from the point. He finished fourth overall in scoring among OHL defencemen with 12 goals and 46 assists.
Freddie is age-eligible for the junior team by a day as he was born Jan. 1, 1992. The six-foot, 190-pound centre is an attractive prospect for the Canadian junior team because he can fill many different roles.
He's smart with the puck, defensively responsible and strong in the face-off circle. Freddie can score too, with 38 goals and 45 assists in 68 games for the IceDogs last season. He and Dougie play together on the IceDogs' power-play unit.
“We never really got a chance to play with each other competitively growing up and to get that chance at such a high level, living together, spending our days together, it's been a lot of fun,” Freddie said. “We're really close, best friends.”
The Hamilton brothers also possess big brains. Freddie carried a 99 per cent average during the 2008-09 season to win the Ontario Hockey League's high school academic award that season.
Dougie won that award the following season in his rookie year with a 97 per cent average. This past season Dougie was named the Canadian Hockey League's top scholastic player with an average of 94 per cent in school.
“Very intelligent,” Hockey Canada head scout Keith Prendergast says. “They both bring a work ethic. They both have hockey sense. They know how to play the game and that's what we need here.”
The brothers carry “ie” on the ends of their names to avoid confusion with father Doug and grandfather Fred.
“Athletes like Freddy Modin, Freddy Adou, it seems to sound nicer,” adds Freddie.
Freddie and Dougie agree that the older brother is the introvert and the younger the extrovert.
“He's obviously a smart guy and pretty serious,” Dougie says. “I might be a little bit more goofier than him.”
Since their arrival in Edmonton, the Hamilton brothers have routinely been asked if they know the names of the last brothers to play for Canada at the world junior championship. Dougie is quick to answer with the Moller brothers.
“I've got to know that because I'm going to keep getting that question,” he says.