Faceoff between pipes

KEN WIEBE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:43 AM ET

They are brothers in arms and now Chet and Calvin Pickard will walk together in the hockey history books forever.

Last Friday in Kennewick, Wash., the Pickard's became the first brother combo to play goal against one another in a Western Hockey League game when the Tri-City Americans took on the Seattle Thunderbirds at the Toyota Center.

Lining up opposite your flesh and blood is a little more common, but standing in the crease and looking up to see your brother between the pipes at the other end of the rink was something to behold.

"It was one of those surreal moments," Chet Pickard said yesterday from Washington. "It was a little disappointing that he didn't get the start, but it worked out that we got to play against each other. The fans were great, they gave us a little ovation there when (Calvin) skated on the ice for the second period."

"It's a pretty cool honour," Calvin Pickard added from Seattle earlier this week. "You don't see too many brothers playing goal against each other. It's a pretty weird situation, but it was a good experience. It wasn't really nerve-racking, as much as exciting.

"Hopefully, it was the first of many to come."

For the record, the Americans and Thunderbirds meet seven more times before the regular season concludes.

Both Chet and Calvin said it would have been great to have their parents, Dan and Cathy in attendance for the big moment, but mom and dad were back home in Winnipeg watching the game on the computer over the Internet.

"It's pretty special," said Chet, who turns 18 next month and was a first round pick (18th overall) of the Nashville Predators in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. "It's still kind of hard to believe that happened. Obviously, it's unique and it's something we'll remember for the rest of our lives. It just goes to show how much of a commitment our parents have put into it and it's really starting to pay off."

Chet had a head start and he got the better of the first battle, making 39 saves to lead the Americans to a 6-4 victory.

By the time Calvin was called upon in relief, the score was already 4-0 for Tri-City.

"He made a couple of big saves to keep his team in it and it ended up being a pretty close game," said Chet.

Calvin, who made the Thunderbirds as a 16-year-old, after playing for the Winnipeg Wild of the Manitoba AAA Midget League last season, knows he is fortunate to have a valuable resource like Chet -- who has already gone through many of the experiences he's dealing with as a rookie.

"We talked daily through his first three years in the WHL," said Calvin. "He's given me the heads-up on different guys and different things I need to know about. It prepared me well for my rookie season. There hasn't been anything I've really been surprised by. I owe a lot to him."

Chet, who thoroughly enjoyed his first taste of Predators training camp this fall before returning to the WHL, is more than happy to lend a hand in the learning process.

"Calvin's got a pretty bright future ahead of him and I'm trying to help him out as much as I can," said Chet. "He's on another team and they're one of our rivals, but I wish the best for him. He comes to me for a lot of advice but he's pretty mature for his age."


Videos

Photos