International Ice Hockey Federation

Asterix: The Hockey Way

Asterix: The Hockey Way

By Jupiter! That’s my boy!

Published 01.05.2017 21:24 GMT+2 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Asterix: The Hockey Way
Unquestionably, the most famous father-son combo in Slovenian hockey is national coach Matjaz Kopitar and his son Anze, who stars for the Los Angeles Kings. Photos: Editions Albert René, Phil Pritchard / Hockey Hall of Fame
In Asterix and Son, the question is: “Who left this baby at Asterix’s door?” But there’s no question about the great fathers and sons in international hockey!

Leading up to the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, we’re dedicating one article to each day of the tournament, making a tongue-in-cheek comparison between an Asterix comic book and famous aspects of international hockey history.

Let’s face it: most of us wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without our dads. That’s especially true in hockey. Even though Father’s Day is many weeks away from the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, why not celebrate the powerful paternal forces that have shaped our great game?

Unlike the Roman spies who dress up as pedlars or nursemaids to try to steal the mysterious baby from Asterix, there’s no disguising the influence of Slovakia’s super hockey dads. Take Peter Stastny, who sired U.S. NHLers Yan and Paul, or Frantisek Hossa, whose eldest son Marian is a three-time Stanley Cup winner with Chicago and whose second son Marcel has played well in both the NHL and KHL.

The neighbouring Czechs can point to 1970’s legends like Jaroslav Holik, whose son Bobby claimed two Cups with New Jersey, and Jiri Bubla, whose son Jiri Slegr is an IIHF Triple Gold Club member.

Canadian NHL cities are fondly familiar with Scandinavia’s father-son connections. Sweden’s Michael Nylander played parts of five seasons with Calgary, and his oldest son William made a splash as a Toronto rookie this year, while Alexander is a top Buffalo prospect. Winnipeg stalwart Thomas Steen is the father of St. Louis’s Alexander. Finland’s Matti Hagman had his best NHL years with Edmonton in the Wayne Gretzky era, and his son Niklas became a 770-game NHLer, three-time Olympian and 2002 Worlds all-star.

Asterix’s baby packs a powerful wallop after sampling the druid Getafix’s magic potion. Similarly, many North American hockey fathers and sons have delivered the figurative knockout punch. Canadian-born NHL sharpshooters Bobby Hull, who starred in the 1974 Summit Series and 1976 Canada Cup, and Brett Hull, who won the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and topped his pa with 741 career NHL goals, are deservedly legendary. Gordie Howe, “Mr. Hockey,” played with his two sons Marty and Mark at age 52 in 1979-80 with Hartford – and Mark also won an Olympic silver medal with the U.S. in Sapporo in 1972 when he was just 16!

And you can’t overlook Bob Johnson. In addition to coaching four U.S. World Championship teams, three Canada Cup squads, and the 1976 Olympic team, “Badger Bob” famously won the 1991 Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh. His son Mark, a nifty 669-game NHLer, scored twice in the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” win over the Soviet Union, and also coached the U.S. women to Olympic silver in 2010.

How about Slovenian coach Matjaz Kopitar and his superstar offspring Anze? Danish U20 coach Olaf Eller and his boy Lars? Or former San Jose assistant coach Vasili Tikhonov and his son Viktor, who led the 2014 Worlds in scoring with the champion Russians, not to forget his grandfather, the late Viktor Tikhonov, who won more gold medals than any other coach at the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship? Or Germany’s player of the century, Erich Kuhnhackl, whose son Tom won the Stanley Cup in 2016.

We could go on and on. Just as Asterix's baby ultimately turns out to be the son of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra, these fathers and sons are true hockey royalty!

This is a 17-part series prior to the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, of which Asterix and Obelix are the official mascots. Click on News to find the stories.


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