Skip to content

The NHL’s best family affair: the Hughes brothers

Bruce Penton looks at the careers of Quinn, Jack and Luke Hughes of the NHL
bruce penton sports

There have been some tremendously talented family combinations over the years in the National Hockey League — the Richards, the Sutters, the Tkachuks, the Hulls — but the current trio of Hughes brothers might be the best family act yet.

Only one of the three — likely Norris Trophy winner Quinn Hughes of Vancouver Canucks — will be skating in the playoffs this year, while the younger two, Jack and Luke, both ply their trade with the New Jersey Devils, who finished a disappointing seventh in the Metropolitan Division and didn’t come close to a post-season berth.

American-born and all products of the U.S. college system, the Hughes’ boys come by their hockey talent honestly. Their father, Jim, played college hockey, later becoming an assistant coach for the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. He went on to play a key role in the Maple Leafs’ player development program, retiring 10 years ago, so the boys spent most of their formative youth learning the game in Toronto. Their mother Ellen played for the U.S. national women’s team in the world championships of 1992. As player ‘developers’, Jim and Ellen Hughes just might be the best ever.

“Whenever we got the chance to watch a game with my dad, it was like watching video with an NHL coach,” Jack said in an story in 2018. He said the Hughes’ boys were getting hockey tutoring at the age of 10-14 that many others didn’t get until turning professional at 19 or 20.

All three Hughes’ boys were first-round draft picks, which has no NHL precedence. Quinn is 24 and went No. 7 overall to the Canucks in 2018. He runs the Canucks’ power play, finished second on the team in scoring with 93 points and will likely wind up winning numerous Norris trophies. Jack is 22, was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2019 draft and this year, despite missing the last two months of the season due to a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery, racked up 74 points in 62 games after amassing 99 points last season. Luke, at age 20, was the fourth overall selection in the 2021 draft and has established himself as the Devils’ No. 1 blueliner. He finished fifth in team scoring this year and is a regular on the New Jersey power play. He, too, will garner a few Norris trophy votes.

Quinn and Luke both wear No. 43 for their respective teams, while Jack wears 86 for the Devils. Does the numbering mean Jack is twice as good? Hardly. If a poll were taken, Jack and Quinn would be 1 and 1A while Luke would be on the cusp of that talent level. Jack says Quinn is the best of the brothers; Quinn says it’s Jack. Regardless, they’re both all-stars, soon to be joined by Luke, and likely en route to hoisting more than one Stanley Cup over the next dozen or so years.

Quinn hopes to start that Cup-hoisting this June.

  • Super 70s Sports: “If they made Bull Durham today, Nuke LaLoosh would be on a pitch count and never see the fifth inning.”
  • Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “Deion Sanders got defensive recently when USA Today pointed out how Sanders doesn’t make recruiting visits to high schools or do in-home visits with recruits and their parents. Maybe Primetime needs to change his name to Downtime!”
  • Janice Hough of “Tom Brady says he's 'not opposed' to a late-season NFL return. What about as a captain for the Pro Bowl?”
  • RJ Currie of  “Ex-NASCAR driver Danica Patrick was among the first passengers to ride a new driverless bus in Las Vegas. To make her feel comfortable, they had it follow 33 cars.”
  • One more from Janice Hough: “At least two teams, the Las Vegas Aces and the Washington Mystics, have moved their games against (Caitlin Clark and) the Indiana Fever to larger arenas because of higher than expected crowds. Good for them. Now pay the women more.”
  • Canadian satirical website The Beaverton: “‘Maybe this is the year the Leafs beat Boston,’ says delusional idiot who doesn’t know (anything).”
  • Another Beaverton offering: “NHL to expand to every city in North America except Quebec City.”
  • Former U.S. college basketball coach Al McGuire: “Winning is overemphasized.  The only time it is really important is in surgery and war.”
  • Headline at the “Nobody In Entire Dodgers Organization Has Heart To Tell Ohtani What’s Going On With Interpreter”
  • Headline at “Bring your family, bring your wives to see the new NHL team in Salt Lake City.”
  • Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, on uniforms for the new Utah NHL team: “Please don’t hire whoever came up with these San Diego Padres uniforms that look like clown costumes.”

Care to comment? Email

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication. 



push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks