Family fun forgotten as Stones square off

SCOTT FISHER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

Michael Stone insists he hasn't put his little brother on notice.

No warnings.

No 'keep your head up, bro.'

But the Calgary Hitmen defenceman will likely cross paths with his younger sibling, Mark, at some point during the WHL's Eastern Conference final.

"We don't talk about playing against each other," the elder Stone said of facing Mark's Brandon Wheat Kings in the series opener tomorrow night (7 p.m., Fan 960).

"Throughout the year, we'd talk more about who we were playing against that night, and who they were playing against.

"It's hard to talk about. I try to keep it in the back of my head."

But he'll also be keeping his head up.

The first time the teams met -- for the Teddy Bear Toss game Nov. 30 at the Dome -- Mark, a right-winger, showed no brotherly love when he took a big run at Michael just outside the Hitmen blueline.

"The first game was kind of weird," he said with a laugh. "He came and hit me."

Prior to this season, the Stone brothers never faced each other on the ice -- at least not officially.

"We never played against each other on teams," he said. "But there's always the battle of the brothers at home. When we were growing up, one of us would strap on the pads and the other would take shots."

And with the way Michael shoots -- the Phoenix Coyotes prospect has one of the biggest howitzers in the league -- one has to wonder if Mark was a little hesitant to stand between the pipes.

"He's got a pretty good shot, too," Michael said. "Not so much the slapper, but he's got really good hands."

This is the third time in the past five springs the Hitmen and Wheat Kings have met in the post-season -- and the Stone brothers are the third set of siblings to go head-to-head.

Hitmen defenceman Alex Plante suited up as a 15-year-old in the 2005 Eastern Conference semifinal when his older brother Tyler was kicking out pucks for the Wheaties.

Two years ago, Hitmen captain Dylan Yeo faced his younger sibling, Theran, who patrolled the Brandon blueline.

Plante said it was strange playing against his brother, who backstopped the Wheaties to a seven-game series victory and now plays for the AHL's Rochester Americans.

"It was interesting seeing my brother at the other end," Plante said. "I saw it when we were younger and I used to take shots at him, but the playoff atmosphere is a bit different.

"You just have to act professional."


Videos

Photos