By Katie Adler
Last Thursday night marked the seventh NHL matchup between Dylan Strome and his brother, Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Strome.
Before the game, the two caught up on the Anaheim Ducks’ podcast The Player’s Lounge, chatting about their younger brother Matthew (currently playing for the Hershey Bears,) past teammates, and what it means to be an NHL family.
Quotations have been edited for length and clarity.
Most memorable teammates
Dylan identified Alex Ovechkin as one of his most memorable teammates: “Ovi’s definitely up there. He’s for sure up there.” When thinking past current teammates, however, Dylan identified then-Chicago Blackhawk Marc-André Fleury, whom he played part of the 2021-2022 season with.
“Even though it was a short amount of time, I think Marc André-Fleury is probably one of those guys that you just, you kinda hear stories about how good of a guy he is.”
He then recalled a prank that Fleury pulled on his former teammates on the Pittsburgh Penguins. “[Fleury] goes into the Penguins’ locker room and then tapes up all of Crosby’s stuff. Right before the game. All of Crosby and Malkin’s stuff–I don’t know if it was Malkin, too, but definitely all of Crosby’s stuff. Like his clothes, he tied it all into a tape ball with all of his hockey gear and put it all in the tape ball. And taped up all of his sticks from top to bottom.”
For his part, Ryan told a story from Development Camp with the New York Islanders, where he played from 2013-2017.
“We were going to the beach, it was a beach day. So we’re all waiting in the lobby of the Long Island Marriott. We’re getting on a bus to go to the beach and Casey [Cizikas] comes down with a cooler of, like, a hundred beers. And the coaching staff just shredded him apart. He got in trouble; he had to go take the beers back to his room. He was ready for a big beach day. Ah, that guy’s classic.”
Dylan, who was drafted third overall by the Arizona Coyotes in 2015, also noted the impact of his fellow Coyotes draftees.
“I think also when you’re so young, when you get drafted to a team, when you’re growing up with guys, like, some of my closest buddies for four or five years were guys I that got drafted with in Arizona, like Clayton Keller and [Christian] Fischer and [Christian] Dvorak and [Jakob] Chychrun…[those are] are guys that you remember, and you remember the good memories and the fun times.”
Given recent reports linking the Capitals with Chychrun, Dylan may soon see his old teammate again, this time in DC.
On who’s a bigger ‘Mama’s boy’
Both brothers agreed that Dylan was closer with their mother. However, both recognized their parents’ investment in their games, from their childhood to the present.
Ryan: “I have to jump in right now and say you, no doubt, because you’re my mom’s favorite, so. Dyl got married this summer, too, and we were joking at the speech, me and my brother Matt did the best man speech, we said that this is a special day for my mom because she could finally announce that Dyl’s the favorite child. No, I think we’re all mama’s boys a little bit deep down.”
Dylan: “Yeah I’m definitely a Mama’s boy for sure. I feel like we have a good connection, we talk a lot. You always want to have your mom to be able to turn to, and maybe I’m a bit more comfortable turning to her with some things.”
For what it’s worth, Matthew seems to agree with his older brothers. In an interview during training camp this season, both Matthew and Dylan named the latter as the favorite son.
Though they now live in Florida, the Stromes’ parents make an effort to watch their children’s games as much as possible, say their sons. In three days, they attended the Capitals’ Stadium Series game at Carter-Finley Stadium, the Hershey Bears’ game in Charlotte against the AHL’s Checkers, and the Ducks’ match against the Florida Panthers in Fort Lauderdale.
“It’s actually pretty funny when they have a game on TV, they’ll have a game going, they’ll have the iPad going, sometimes like the phone going at the same time, trying to follow all three games. I think we only got one of a possible six points on the weekend, so it was a tough weekend for the family,” Ryan remarked.
Brotherly pranks (or lack thereof)
When asked about childhood pranks, both brothers agreed that their family wasn’t much for practical jokes. “We’re not really that much of a pranksters family,” said Dylan.
Ryan: “I feel like I don’t have a prank, but one year I was, like, seven, you were probably three or four, we drove to Florida with the family and I knocked your front tooth out. I don’t know if that’s really a prank but we were fighting in the backseat of the car, just like boys would, after a 24-hour drive or whatever it was, we were like two hours away from home and I elbowed you in the face and knocked your front tooth out.”
Dylan: “Both teeth–I think it was the front two.”
Even on the golf course, the Stromes remain competitive, struggling at times to keep games lighthearted. “We joke around on the golf course a little bit,” said Dylan, “but we definitely should joke probably around a little bit more. I don’t think any of us are turning into professional golfers anytime soon.”
Playing against your brother in the NHL
While some level of sibling rivalry might be expected, the Stromes expressed that competing against siblings held both positives and negatives.
Dylan noted that playing Ryan has been a special part of his NHL career.
“I think it’s really cool. I think it’s something that not many players, not many families in the hockey world or any sports can say, and we’ve done it six times. I have not won yet, I’m oh-and-six, so I know that’s going to be a big story coming out the next couple days.” (Note: the podcast was recorded before Thursday night’s game; Dylan now has a record of 0-7-0 against Ryan.)
Still, any game between the two means a conflict between familial desires to see the other succeed and the drive to win present in any NHL player.
“You obviously want your brother to succeed,” said Dylan, “and I want him to succeed eighty games of the year, just not the two that we’re playing against each other.”
Playing your younger brother, however, is a different story. Dylan has never faced Matthew in upper-level hockey: Matthew has not yet played in the NHL and Dylan missed all of their scheduled matchups in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) while competing at the World Junior Championships. Both agreed that “big-brother instincts” made watching their younger brother difficult.
Dylan: “I don’t think I would enjoy playing against my little brother. I find it really weird to watch him, when I watch him play. I feel like he’s always going to get hurt. I feel that big-brother instinct kicks in for me, something that I never really felt. And then when I watch him play hockey, I notice it a lot. So I was wondering your perspective, I feel like I don’t really like to watch Matt play hockey. I don’t mind when I watch you play hockey, but when I watch Matt play I’m always worried something’s going to happen, and so I’m really thankful that I’ve never had to play against him. Hopefully I do one day, but thankful that I haven’t yet.”
Ryan: “I always say when the media has asked that I don’t really like playing against you. I feel like I’m always worried about your success more than the game, and I feel like it’s kind of hard to put that away…you never know how many times you get to play against each other. but no, I definitely agree with the instincts, the big-brother instincts.”
For Ryan, Dylan’s recent long-term deal with the Capitals has lessened his worry, making the competition easier.
“I feel like, well, now that you’ve signed your contract and stuff I don’t really care as much,” he said, “because I feel like now you’ve got some stability in your life and you’ve been more established. I’ve always been playing the game but always looking out on the other side for you and make sure everything’s good.”
Fatherhood, family, and summer soccer leagues
During the season, the Stromes don’t often get to see each other. The Ducks’ visit to DC marked a rare opportunity, and Matthew even drove down from Hershey for the occasion.
Still, the Ducks and Capitals only meet twice a year, and following the Caps’ game in Anaheim next Wednesday the two are unlikely to spend much time together. Summer, then, means an opportunity for extended family time, especially for Dylan and Ryan’s young children. Dylan’s daughter Weslie is nearly two, while Ryan has two daughters: two-year-old Harper and one-year-old Quinn. Family dinners are a staple of the Stromes’ summer plans, albeit with changes since their children have arrived.
Ryan: “We have a big Sunday dinner at my Mom’s house every Sunday, which is a total gong show as well, especially with the little ones.”
Dylan: “It used to be like, we would go at, like, four and hang out until eight or nine, get a good meal, and now we’re at the stage where we’ve got to there whenever they wake up from their nap. And then we’ve all got to be out of there by like six-thirty or seven for bedtime.”
Dylan especially looks forward to Weslie and Harper’s time together: “I think they’re going to be great friends this summer. It’s tough because, you know, they FaceTime a lot and they see each other a lot on videos and now my daughter’s favorite word is ‘more Harper. More Harper.’ So she always wants to see more videos of Harper.”
The hockey sons will also become sports parents of their own when Weslie and Harper begin their soccer league.
Dylan: “They’re playing soccer together for the first time [this summer.] It’s on Thursday nights at five o’clock, so.”
Ryan: “It’s going to be a friggin sh–– show.”
Dylan: “We have to rotate who’s on beer duty.”
Ryan: “We’ll have to bring coolers.”
The Capitals will play the Ducks for the second and final time this season Wednesday night, where Dylan will attempt to finally end his 7-game losing streak against his brother.
The full episode of The Players’ Lounge is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and through the Ducks’ audio streaming channel Ducks Stream.
Headline photo courtesy of the @AnaheimDucks/Twitter
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