SUN Hockey Pool

Emotional reunion for Pyatt family

BENOIT RIOUX, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:33 PM ET

MONTREAL - Brothers Tom and Taylor Pyatt often did battle on the backyard rink in Thunder Bay, Ont., as young boys but their latest matchup was the sweetest of all.

For the first time, their parents got to see them square off in an NHL game -- Tom for the Montreal Canadiens and Taylor for the Phoenix Coyotes.

Kathy and Nelson Pyatt had trouble holding back the tears at the Bell Centre as they got a double dose of something most parents will never experience even once -- having a son in the National Hockey league.

"It's a magnificent match," a teary-eyed Nelson Pyatt, a former NHLer himself, told QMI in front of the locker rooms after the Habs beat the Coyotes 3-2 Monday night.

"I'm very proud, there are no other words for it."

It wasn't all fun and games -- older brother Taylor slammed his much smaller brother into the boards halfway through the third period.

It's the second time the Pyatts, both forwards, have faced each other on the ice but the first matchup was last season just after Tom was called up from Hamilton. Their parents didn't have enough time to get to Phoenix from Thunder Bay.

Monday's family reunion was emotional.

"It's something special for our parents to see us play together in person," said Taylor, 29, a 10-year NHL veteran who has also played for the New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks.

"Earlier, my mom warned us to behave ourselves during the game."

As for the hit on his little brother, Taylor laughed and said: "Once the puck is dropped, things get very intense. You can't look at the number before you hit."

Taylor, who is 6-foot-3, and 226 pounds, may have the physical advantage versus his 5-foot-11, 187-pound brother, but Tom, 23 can now boast about his 2-0 record against his older sibling in NHL play.

The family, already a close-knit group, has drawn even closer during the past 18 months to help Taylor get through the toughest time of his life. His fiancee, Carly Bragnalo, was killed in a car crash in Jamaica in April 2009. They were to be married within months.

The tragedy helped everyone appreciate moments like Monday's game.

"The past year has been very difficult, especially for Taylor, but things are better now," Nelson Pyatt said.

"Look at him, he's smiling."


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