Sutter clan loses father

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

Louis John Sutter, patriarch of hockey's most famous family, died yesterday after a lengthy illness.

His son, Flames GM/head coach Darryl Sutter, said the 73-year-old's death resulted in an enormous show of support.

"We are overwhelmed with the outpouring of support and condolences we have received from hockey people, friends and fans since my dad's passing," said Darryl in a statement.

Six of Louis and Grace's seven sons played in the NHL, and remain involved in the sport.

Darryl guided to the Flames to the Stanley Cup finals last spring. Brian is a former Flames head coach now in that role in Chicago. Duane is director of player development for the Florida Panthers, Brent is owner/GM/head coach of the WHL's Red Deer Rebels and Rich and Ron are pro scouts.

"One of the best things you can say about a man is the quality of his children," said Flames assistant coach Rich Preston, who coached, coached with or played with all six Sutters who made the NHL.

"You couldn't ask for better people as friends. With the integrity of that family and the honesty, I can't think of anybody else I'd rather have in the fox hole with me going into a big game than any of the Sutters."

For five seasons in the 1980s, the six combined for 4,994 regular-season games, plus 603 playoff games, and scored 1,320 goals, had 1,615 assists and served 7,224 minutes in penalties.

Preston was one of many around the league in mourning. "It's tough. He's a heck of a man, a real man's man, a typical hard-working rancher that instilled that hard work ethic in his sons."

Throughout the 2004 playoff run, Darryl regularly travelled to Viking after games only to return in the morning in time for practices.

"It was very quiet, people didn't know where he was until he arrived back," said Flames president Ken King. "He was spending time with his mom and dad and Mr. Sutter was sick for some time.

"As you would expect he's very sad. He was very close to his father and they are a very close family."

Funeral services are scheduled for Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the Viking Community Hall.


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