FORT LAUDERDALE — Brady and Matthew Tkachuk grew up competing with one another regardless of the game and spent a lot of time on the ice together. But come Saturday, the duo will be teammates for the first time at the 2023 NHL All-Star Game.
While the two were All-Stars in 2020 in their hometown of St. Louis, Brady was on the Atlantic squad as a member of the Ottawa Senators while Matthew was with the Pacific Division squad representing the Calgary Flames.
Once Matthew Tkachuk was traded to the Florida Panthers, it became possible the two could be reunited on the ice in Sunrise when the All-Star circus came to town.
And, lo and behold, things worked out just the way everyone hoped.
“It will be fun. This will be the first time we have ever played together in a competitive environment,” Matthew Tkachuk said on Thursday afternoon.
“We were always pretty competitive in whatever it was and were fortunate to do it against each other. Since we have grown up, it is more rooting for one another. … It is very special to be up here with him. I am very proud of him. He has been in a bunch of these already and I am very proud to see what he has done.”
In St. Louis, the two Tkachuk boys were reunited with their dad Keith who used to bring his kids to the rink in St. Louis as well to All-Star Games he was chosen for.
Now, Matthew Tkachuk is returning the favor as his place in Fort Lauderdale has been overrun by family in town for the big weekend.
Brady Tkachuk was not invited, Matthew said.
”There are way too many people already staying with me,” Matthew said. “But we have pretty much been spending 24 hours a day together.”
The Ottawa captain had a pretty swanky hotel suite waiting for him anyway — with the family taking advantage of Matthew Tkachuk being able to score them a luxury box at FLA Live Arena for the weekend.
On Wednesday, the entire clan met up at Matthew’s place in Fort Lauderdale with Brady Tkachuk describing it as “chaos” that he said he was happy to be able to escape for a little bit of peace and quiet.
Being together for this week seems to have brought up a lot of memories of their younger days in the backyard in St. Louis.
”We played mini-sticks a bunch, had a trampoline and created a bunch of games like football and soccer,” Brady said. “There was a lot of contact. Our sister was always involved and it was great. But we played every sport you could think of.”
Said Matthew: “I always was able to overpower him. But look at him now. He’s a mammoth of a man.”
When Matthew Tkachuk was selected for the All-Star Game last month, he said one of the things he was most looking forward to was playing alongside his brother.
Coincidentally, Florida captain Sasha Barkov said the same thing.
Barkov and Brady Tkachuk have been battling it out on the ice for years and Barkov said he was looking forward to being able to team up with the younger Tkachuk brother for the first time.
”I have played in the same division with Barkov and have played him four times a year so I know what kind of player he is,” Brady Tkachuk said. “I am excited to get to know him.”
As Matthew Tkachuk hinted on Thursday, the three of them will spent a lot of time on ice together as linemates in the 3-on-3 events.
”I feel bad for whomever has to be the third but I am sure it will be Barky because we don’t want to play with anyone else,” Matthew said.
Added Brady: “We are going to be chirping for the puck.”
Barkov will, more than likely, oblige.
He has no problem passing the puck to his linemates so it could be a pretty fun show.
“If you would have asked me last year about playing against Matthew and Brady, I would not have anything good to say about them,” Barkov said.
“But Matthew, I really like him as a teammate and a friend. Brady, I just hi to him but did not get to talk to him that much. I am sure he is pretty similar. I already know who is going to play defense (Saturday).”
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
NHL ALL-STAR GAME
- What: NHL All-Star Game
- When: 3 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TV: ABC
- Schedule: Central Division vs. Pacific, 3 p.m.; Atlantic Division vs. Metropolitan, 4; Winning teams in Championship, 5
- Rosters: CLICK HERE
- Tournament Format: There will be three, 20-minute games played in a 3-on-3 format; goalies will rotate in at the 10-minute break. Single elimination. Winning team splits $1 million.
- Extra: NHL All-Star Beach Festival at Fort Lauderdale Beach, Noon-6 p.m.
- Up Next for the Panthers: vs. Tampa Bay, Monday, 7 p.m. (BSF)