VIKING, Alberta -- Louis John Sutter, who watched six sons play in the NHL, died yesterday following a lengthy illness. He was 73.
"All of Alberta and the hockey world understand the impact that Mr. Sutter and his family have had on our game and in our communities," said Ken King, the president of the Calgary Flames, which are managed and coached by Darryl Sutter. "Mr. Sutter instilled strong values, strong character, and strong work ethic in his sons."
Louis and Grace Sutter brought up seven sons -- the oldest, Gary, was considered the best player of the group, but he quit before turning pro to help run the family farm -- in a four-bedroom house near Edmonton.
All six Sutter brothers who made it to the NHL remained involved in hockey after their playing days. For five seasons in the 1980s, they all played in the league.
The 2000-2001 season marked the 25th consecutive year that a Sutter brother was an NHL player.
Collectively, the brothers played in 4,994 regular-season games plus 603 in the playoffs. They combined for 1,320 goals, 1,615 assists, and 7,224 penalty minutes.
Brian Sutter, 48, is now the coach of the Blackhawks. He coached the Boston Bruins from 1992 to 1995.
Darryl, 46, guided the Flames to the Stanley Cup Finals last year but his father was too ill to attend the games.
Duane, 44, is director of player development for the Florida Panthers. Brent, 42, is the general manager and coach of the WHL's Red Deer Rebels and coached Canada to the world junior title last month.
Twins Rich and Ron, 41, are both pro scouts -- Rich for the Minnesota Wild and Ron for the Flames.
"There is nobody in the world with a bigger or stronger heart than Louis Sutter," Chicago Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz said.
"Fortunately for us, all his great heart was passed on to all his children."