Me and my brother are really competitive and we are really competitive with each other. I think that’s the main reason why we both got to where we are today being named a finalist for NHL Rookie of the Year in 2015, Mark’s career might appear to be a lot more successful than Michael’s. After all, when Mark was a forward with the Brandon Wheat Kings, he was one of the Western League’s top scorers and was Team Canada’s top scorer at the 2012 World Junior Championship. Even when the two brothers faced each other in the Western League and in the Memorial Cup, Mark’s Wheat Kings always seemed to be on the winning end. Still, Michael has absolutely no hard feelings. In fact, he’s proud of his brother and proud of the way the two have competed hard against each other since they were kids. “Growing up in my family was a lot of fun,” said Michael with a grin. “Me and my brother are really competitive and we were really competitive against each other. I think that’s the main reason why we both got to where we are today. The competition between the two of us has always been fierce. He’s two years younger than me, but I think he’s taller than me, now. When we go at it, it’s always a bit of a war because we’re about the same size and we’re both competitive guys. “It’s really cool that we’re both in the NHL. We had no other brothers or sisters so we always butted heads. But it was fun and it’s still fun.” Mark agreed wholeheartedly with his brother’s assertion. It’s unlikely that without 52 GAME ON SEPTEMBER 2015 each other, either one would be in the NHL today. “Growing up with Michael in Winnipeg was awesome,” Mark said. “We had a lot of fights in the front yard, but at the same time, I wouldn’t be the same player I am today without him.” Mark and Michael’s dad Rob was a sportswriter in Sault Ste. Marie when he moved to Winnipeg (he was replaced at the Sault Star by a guy named Bob McKenzie – yeah, THAT Bob McKenzie), started a new career in the aerospace industry and he and Jackie started the family. It was Rob who got his two sons into the game and they have paid him back in full. “My brother and I started skating when we were really young and we fell in love with the game,” Michael said. “Mark had a stick in is hands before he could walk.” Not surprisingly, Mark and Michael had the standard hockey life in their wintery hometown. And Michael looks back on it with affection. “We had a long driveway and it was perfect for taking shots, whether it was with tennis balls or pucks,” he said.