The Detroit Red Wings claimed Gemel Smith on waivers Wednesday to give the team its first brother combination since Pete and Frank Mahovlich last played together on March 30, 1969.
Gemel Smith, 27, is the older brother of Givani Smith, 23. The Tampa Bay Lightning had placed Smith on waivers. The older Smith has scored at the minor league level, but hasn’t yet been able to become a regular in the NHL. He has scored 12 goals in 88 NHL games for the Dallas Stars, Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning .
In 2019-20, Gemel scored 22 goals and had 40 points in 50 games for the Syracuse Crunch in the American League. In 2018-19, he registered 16 goals and 40 points in 52 games for the Providence Bruins. His best NHL season was 2017-18 when he posted six goals and five assists for 11 points in 46 games for the Stars.
Givani Smith has become a more visible physical presence for the Red Wings over the past few weeks. Gemel will likely get his chance to play among the bottom six forwards.
The Smiths will be the ninth set of brothers to play for the Red Wings. That doesn’t include Dennis and Bryan Hextall who both played for the 1975-76 Detroit team. But it wasn’t at the same times. Bryan was traded by Detroit to the Minnesota North Stars on Nov. 21, 1975. Three months later, the North Stars traded his brother Dennis to Detroit.
The first brothers to play for the franchise together were Frank and Johnny Sheppard. They played four games together when the team was called the Detroit Cougars during the 1927-28 season.
Smiths Have Jamaican Roots
The other Red Wings brother sets: Des and Earl Roche (1934-35); Hec, Ken and Wally Kilrea (1934-40); Ed and Mud Bruneteau (1940-46); Nakina and Winky Smith (1943-44); Don and Rod Morrison (1947-48); and Larry and Johnny Wilson (1949-50).
The Smiths are from Toronto. Their father, Gary, grew up in Jamaica playing cricket and soccer, but switched to hockey after he emigrated to Canada. He passed the game on to his sons.
Both boys played basketball. Givani never considered making that his No. 1 sport, but Gemel did.
“I wasn’t close,” Givani said in a past interview. ” My older brother, Gemel, he was really close. It was a tough decision between college basketball or playing in the OHL. He took hockey a lot more seriously, thank God he did. It worked out. With basketball, it’s a really exciting sport in our family.”