For Randy and Mark Moller, the 2012 world junior hockey championship is a cluster of coincidences.
When Freddie and Dougie Hamilton were named to this year's Canadian junior team, they became the first brothers to do so since the Mollers in 1982.
That was also the first year Hockey Canada began putting together the junior team the way it does now, which is inviting the best players from across Canada to try out at a selection camp just prior to the tournament.
So in conjunction with this year's world junior championship in Edmonton and Calgary, Hockey Canada is holding a reunion drawing alumni from all 30 teams since 1982.
The Mollers' father John served as transportation manager for the 1995 world junior hockey championship in Red Deer, Alta.
The man who coached the Canadian team to gold that year was Don Hay, who happens to be coaching the team again in 2012.
As if the Mollers needed more tie-ins to this year's tournament, it will be held in Alberta where the Calgarians are from.
“For me, every year you're watching and supporting,” Mike Moller said. “This year for me it has a little more of a feel for a couple of reasons
“Number one because of the Hamilton brothers and number two it's in Alberta. Number three, I get a chance to watch some games live and participate in the event as it's happening, and also to see some of the guys from the 1982 team.”
Mike Moller was a 19-year-old forward and Randy an 18-year-old defenceman for the Lethbridge Hurricanes in 1982 when they were summoned to Winnipeg for camp.
The tournament in Minneapolis wasn't on Canada's radar then, in stark contrast to the millions to follow it now. There was no television coverage of the final, although the game was on radio.
The players invited were unknowns to head coach Dave King, who cut future Hall Of Fame defenceman Al McInnis at selection camp.
“It was not what it is today,” Randy recalled. “The world junior championship is one of the largest sporting events in Canada. It's wild. Back then, they just threw the team together. 'What is it? Oh, we're having a world junior championship.' There was no history.”
The tournament was a straight round-robin format with no semifinals or final. After winning six games, Canada needed just a tie against what was then Czechoslovakia to take the title.
That Mike scored the third goal of the game that won gold for Canada remains a source of good-natured ribbing between the siblings.
“The things that stand out were representing your country, playing with my brother and my father being there to experience it and my punky brother getting the gold-clinching goal against the Czech Republic,” Randy said. “He's been riding that for 30 years now.”
Countered Mike: “I think that's a little bit of a dig because the goal was not an end-to-ender. It was a shovel-in from the corner of the crease through the goalie's legs.”
That 1982 team also included Scott Arniel, currently the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Buffalo Sabres assistant coach James Patrick and Marc Habscheid, coach of the Western Hockey League's Victoria Royals.
Mike Moller, 49, lives in Red Deer where he works both in the insurance industry and also as a radio commentator for the WHL's Red Deer Rebels. He appeared in 134 NHL games for the Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers.
Randy, 48, lives in Florida where he is a radio commentator for the NHL's Panthers. Each brother has three children – one daughter and two sons.
The Mollers had no idea they were the only brothers to play on the same Canadian junior team until the Hamiltons were invited to the junior team's summer camp in August.
Freddie is a 19-year-old forward and Dougie is an 18-year-old defenceman who both play for the Ontario Hockey League's Niagara IceDogs.
While the two sets of brothers have been written about and spoken of in the same sentence a lot lately, they have yet to meet.
Mike plans to attend the junior team alumni functions during the tournament. He wants to meet the Hamilton brothers who have drawn so much attention to he and Randy.
“I'd sure like to meet the Hamilton brothers not only because of them being brothers,” Mike said. “As an alumnus you want to support them. There is an affiliation between them and myself so it would be nice to do that for sure.”
Randy will be working Panthers games while the world junior tournament is on. He's disappointed he won't be able to attend the reunion.
“I could wish I could snap my fingers and be there at the reunion and see those fat, bald, old hockey players,” Randy sighed.
It's rare that two brothers are born close together and are both talented enough to be considered for the Canadian team.
Marc and Jordan Staal could have done it in 2007, but when Marc was playing for Canada as a 19-year-old defenceman, Jordan was already in the NHL as an 18-year-old forward for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I'm very proud finally there's another brother combination and I'm kind of surprised it didn't happen earlier,” Randy said. “From what hear, these Hamilton brothers are quality people, quality individuals and a great family.
“I'm sure the Hamilton brothers will wear the Maple Leaf with a lot of pride.”
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