The summer of Suzuki
From London to Chicago to Las Vegas, and from Calgary to Plymouth, it has been an interesting few months for Nick and Ryan Suzuki
Katie Brickman
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August 2, 2017
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Nick and Ryan Suzuki hate losing – especially to each other.

The brothers are competitive in everything they do, from video games to ping pong to hockey.

“I think we have always had a good relationship,” says Nick, 21 months older than little brother Ryan. “Ever since we were little, we have been playing road hockey, mini sticks in the basement and we are both pretty competitive. We like to challenge each other and beat each other. We’ve always had that competitive relationship, but I think as we’ve grown older, we are closer and have respect for each other.”

For the Suzukis, Dec. 14 has probably already been circled on their calendars – the first Ontario Hockey League showdown for family bragging rights. That will be the first time Nick and his Owen Sound Attack take on Ryan and the Barrie Colts.

“I don’t know if he is a guy you want to go up against, but it will be pretty exciting playing against him for the first time,” said Ryan. “It will be special having our family there. Hopefully he doesn’t score too much on us.”

Despite their competitive nature, the London, Ont., brothers are each other’s biggest supporters. When Ryan was drafted first overall by Barrie in the OHL Priority Selection in April, Nick – the 14th pick two years ago – was on his way to Sault Ste. Marie for a playoff game, but was excited and proud of his brother.

“It has been pretty special to see him grow up and become a good hockey player,” said Nick. “When I learned he was going to get picked first overall in the OHL I was pretty proud of him. He puts in a lot of work into getting better and I look forward to playing against him.”

The pride went both ways this summer in Chicago as Ryan watched Nick reach a major goal of his, getting drafted 13th overall by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

“It was awesome to see him get one step closer to his dream of playing in the NHL,” said Nick. “Seeing him go up there on stage and realizing that in two years, I could have the same opportunity, it gave me a bit more motivation to keep working hard to make my dreams come true.”

Growing up, Ryan and Nick spent their Christmas holiday watching the IIHF World Junior Championship, all while fantasizing of the day they would hopefully play for Canada in the same tournament.

While Nick is chasing that fantasy this summer, Ryan is starting his own Hockey Canada journey.

Nick wore the Maple Leaf with Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup last August, and earned himself a spot at Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Summer Development Camp, with his sights set on the World Juniors in Buffalo this December.

“Any opportunity you get to represent your country at any level is a big honour,” said Nick. “I think this experience will be great and a lot of fun. I know quite of few of the guys at camp and I am just going to play my best.”

Not to be outdone, Ryan headed to Calgary last week as one of the 111 players invited to Canada’s national under-17 development camp, the first step in the Program of Excellence.

“He told me it was going to be a tough and grueling week, but he said to keep working hard and show the coaches what I can do,” Ryan says of his brother’s U17 advice. “He told me to drink a lot of water and take in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

The brothers share a few similarities in their game, including a knack for scoring goals and amassing points.

Nick was the highest-scoring draft-eligible Canadian in the Canadian Hockey League, posting 45 goals and 96 points with the Attack, good for fifth in the OHL scoring race. Ryan’s season wasn’t too bad either; he put up 59 points in 32 games with the London Jr. Knights (Minor Midget AAA), leading the Minor Hockey Alliance of Ontario in scoring and winning an Alliance championship.

Despite those parallels, their personalities are different, which helps keep their bond close despite the distance between them during the season.

“We are pretty similar … we see and think the game the same way, but Nick is a pretty funny kid. He is a big character and likes to make people laugh. He is more of a jokester than I am,” says Ryan.

Nick describes his brother as more of a “calm guy that doesn’t get too heated.” As much as Nick tries to pick on Ryan, he doesn’t bite on anything. That means Ryan could soon follow in a few more of his brother’s footsteps – Nick was named the most sportsmanlike player in the OHL and CHL last season.

So as much as Ryan and Nick enjoy facing off against each other and getting those competitive juices flowing, the bond they have will continue to grow as they pursue their hockey dreams.

“Even though we will be in different cities, I don’t think it will be hard to stay in touch,” says Nick. “We will play each other a few times during the season, and during the off-season we will hang out … we are still brothers. We are always going to be brothers.”

For more information:

Lisa Dornan
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-777-4557 / 403-510-7046 (mobile)
ldornan@hockeycanada.ca

 

Morgan Bell
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-284-6427 / 403-669-1261 (mobile)
mbell@hockeycanada.ca

 

Esther Madziya
Coordinator, Media Relations
Hockey Canada
403-284-6484
emadziya@hockeycanada.ca

 

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