Staals remember their mom

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 1:37 PM ET

SUDBURY -- It seems kind of odd that the new First Lady of Hockey would spend Mother's Day up in Thunder Bay without the company of any of her four boys.

Then again, Linda Staal's four talented sons had legitimate excuses for not being at home yesterday.

Two of them, Eric, 22, and Jordan, 18, were busy helping Canada capture gold at the world hockey championship in Moscow, an accomplishment witnessed in person by proud papa, Henry Staal.

Meanwhile, in front of a shoehorned throng here at the lively old barn known as the Sudbury Community Arena, Marc Staal, 20, and kid brother Jared, 16, suited up for the Sudbury Wolves in Game 6 of the Ontario Hockey League final against the Plymouth Whalers.

Yet even in the course of their busy days on either side of the world, the Staal kids found time to give Linda a ring or text her a message.

Fame, after all, is no excuse to forget about mom, specifically on her special day.

"I called her about 11:30 in the morning. I was the first one to call her," said Jared, the baby of the Staal brood who seemed quite proud of himself for sending best wishes to Linda before any of his three brothers had the chance.

"She was here in Sudbury watching Marc and I in Games 3 and 4 last week. I think (yesterday) she was focused in on watching Eric and Jordan.

"For them to win gold, well, that was the perfect Mother's Day present for her."

And with it, another chapter was written in the growing legend of the Staal clan, one which, with apologies to the Sutters, is on its way to becoming the first family of hockey.

"When people refer to us as that, I tell them: 'Let's see where we are in five or six years,' " a humble Marc said. "It might be a bit early to refer to us as that. I think right now, we are all just enjoying our success and living in the moment."

Having said that, even Marc admits the past 12 months have been "hectic and crazy" for all of the Staals.

In the past year alone:

- Eric, the eldest of the boys, won the Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes, lugged the coveted silver mug to Thunder Bay for a memorable bash, then added a gold medal yesterday.

- Jordan, who had never been a teammate of Eric's in organized hockey until their stint with Team Canada, has had a whirlwind year. He won an OHL title with Peterborough, was picked second overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL draft, earned rookie-of-the-year consideration, then topped it off with a world gold.

- Back in January, Marc, a first-round pick of the New York Rangers in 2005, won a world junior gold medal with Canada for the second consecutive year. He followed that up last week by being named the OHL's top defenceman.

- As for Jared, he was Sudbury's first-round pick in the OHL draft last summer and hopes the success of his older siblings rubs off on him.

"Marc winning (another) world junior gold, Eric bringing the Cup home, it's been an amazing year," Jared said.

"It's been nuts. I mean, to see the Cup at the house, you just can't describe it."

While Marc watched the entire 4-2 Canadian victory over Finland yesterday, Jared had to call it quits after the second period with Canada nursing a 3-0 lead. After all, he needed his game day nap.

Alas, the snooze would not help. The Whalers defeated the Wolves 3-2 in overtime to win the OHL title last night.

Even in defeat, however, the honours continued for the Staal family as Marc won the 99 Award as the most valuable player of the OHL playoffs.

Just another Mother's Day present for Linda from one of her famous sons.


Videos

Photos