A pair of Staals in Carolina?

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:30 AM ET

On many a frosty Thunder Bay evening, Jordan Staal was hacked, whacked and smacked by older brother Eric at the family's famous outdoor rink.

"It was a case of big brother versus the little brat," Jordan said with a chuckle during a phone interview from northern Ontario.

Now come rumours indicating the two might be reunited as part of the Carolina Hurricanes organization. In the days leading to tomorrow's National Hockey League entry draft in Vancouver, there has been plenty of scuttlebutt suggesting the 'Canes could trade up in order to snap up Jordan, the gifted power forward of the Peterborough Petes.

Legitimate or not, the speculation has intrigued Jordan, a player most scouts expect to go in the first four picks.

"First off, I won't believe it until it happens," Jordan said. "Right now I'll be happy wherever I go.

"It would be kind of neat, sure. But I wouldn't know what to expect. I've never been on one of my brother's teams before."

Two Staals in Carolina? Would that prompt the 'Canes to change the name of their home rink to The StaalCenter?

"Having the two boys playing together would be quite something," said Henry Staal, the proud poppa of the four extremely talented kids. "It would be really nice for us.

"Let's just wait and see what happens."

Henry rejects the notion the Staals have become Canada's first family of hockey, usurping the Sutter clan. Only Eric, he points out, has played an NHL game to date.

That hasn't stopped the onslaught of publicity, which has included numerous television features and a lengthy piece in yesterday's USA Today. Such is the price for having four sons who one day might all be in the NHL.

Eric, 21, was the second overall pick in the 2003 draft and was a major cog in Carolina's Stanley Cup championship.

Marc, 19, was taken 12th overall by the New York Rangers last year and recently signed with the club.

Jordan, 17, is poised to become the third Staal to be selected in the first round.

Jared, 15, the so-called baby of the family, was selected 11th overall by the Sudbury Wolves in the OHL priority draft last month and already stands 6-foot-2.

Jordan will return to Thunder Bay at the conclusion of the draft, where he'll resume driving the tractor at the family sod farm. All the while, he expects to receive the usual treatment from Marc and Eric.

"They'll pick on me, like always," he said. "But I'm finally the same size as them now, so things might be a little more even."


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