Sutter dies at 73 after lengthy illness

Updated: February 10, 2005, 2:56 PM ET
Associated Press

VIKING, Alberta -- Louis John Sutter, who watched six of his sons play in the NHL, died Thursday after 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, who 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 raised seven sons -- the oldest, Gary, was the only one not to play in the NHL -- in an 800-square-foot, four-bedroom house on a 1,400-acre farm 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 2000-01 season marked the 25th consecutive year that a Sutter brother was an NHL player. Collectively, they 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, 48, is now head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks. 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 he 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."

Ron Sutter was the only brother who was never associated with the Blackhawks. Darryl is a former team captain and coach, and Brent, Duane and Rich all played for Chicago.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press