Farm Family Ties: A Look at Hershey Bears Players with NHL Connections

Photos: Caroline O’Connor/Great Save Productions/Hershey Bears

During the 2019-20 and other recent seasons, the Washington Capitals’ American Hockey League affiliate Hershey Bears have had several players on their roster with family members with NHL ties. In the second installment of a similar piece, NoVa Caps’ Diane Doyle looks at these connections.

Lucas JohansenLucas Johansen, a defenseman, has played with the Hershey Bears since the 2017-18 season, however was hampered by injuries in both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. He is the younger brother of Ryan Johansen, a center currently with the Nashville Predators who has been a mainstay in the NHL since the 2011-12 season.

Caroline O’Connor/Great Save Productions/Hershey Bears

Garrett Pilon – Center Garrett Pilon has played with the Hershey Bears since the 2018-19 season. He is the son of Rich Pilon, a former NHL defenseman, who primarily played with the New York Islanders during his NHL career, also seeing stunts with the New York Rangers and the St. Louis Blues. Rich Pilon played in the NHL from 1988-89 through 2001-02.

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Caroline O’Connor/Great Save Productions/Hershey Bears

Shane GersichShane Gersich, a forward, has played for the Hershey Bears since the 2018-19 season. He is a nephew of Neil Broten, who was one of the players on the 1980 United States Olympic hockey team that achieved the “Miracle on Ice” victory.  He is also the nephew of Neil Broten’s brothers, Aaron and Paul.  All three of the Broten brothers played in the NHL. Neil played primarily with the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars, the New Jersey Devils, and the Los Angeles Kings; Aaron primarily played with the New Jersey Devils but also played with the North Stars, the Quebec Nordiques, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Winnipeg Jets; and Paul played with the New York Rangers, Dallas Stars, and St. Louis Blues. The Broten brothers’ sister, Charlene, married Frank Gersich, the father of Shane. Neal Broten played in the NHL from 1980-81 through 1996-97.

Matt Moulson – Matt Moulson, a forward, had mostly played in the NHL with the New York Islanders but played with the Hershey Bears for the 2019-20 season.  He is the brother-in-law of Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick and son-in-law of Mike Backman.  Both Moulson and Quick married daughters of Backman. 

Riley SutterRiley Sutter, a forward, played his first season with the Hershey Bears during the 2019-20 season. His father was Ron Sutter, a defenseman who played primarily with the Philadelphia Flyers but also with the St. Louis Blues, Quebec Nordiques, New York Islanders, Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks, and Calgary Flames. Ron’s NHL career lasted from 1982-83 through 2000-01. Riley is also the nephew of Brian, Brent, Darryl, Duane, and Rich Sutter.

Caroline O’Connor/Great Save Productions/Hershey Bears

Kody ClarkKody Clark, a forward, played his first season with the Bears during the 2019-20 season. His father was Wendell Clark, a forward who played primarily for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but also saw time with the Quebec Nordiques, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, Detroit Red Wings, and Chicago Blackhawks. Wendel Clark’s NHL career lasted from 1985-86 through 1999-2000.

Recent, former Bears: Former Bears defenseman Christian Djoos who was traded during the 2019-20 season, was the son of Par Djoos, who played in the NHL mostly with the New York Rangers. Longtime Bear Riley Barber’s father, Dan Barber also played in the NHL.

Further Reading
Assessing The Depth of the Washington Capitals’ Defensive Prospect Pool – The Three Year Plan
Week 26 Prospect Report
Sutter: A Hockey Family History – Part 1
Sutter: A Hockey Family History – Part 2

By Diane Doyle

About Diane Doyle

Been a Caps fan since November 1975 when attending a game with my then boyfriend and now husband.
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