Hockey Legends

of Grande Prairie

February 2017

Hockey - It's in their Blood

By Stan Neufeld

Are hockey skills genetic? Might be a good topic for debate over a few cool ones. My initial vote is: well…could be?

Forget what you’ve read, or been told, about how youngsters learn how to play hockey. Training, good coaching, and ice time can play a large role in developing potential in young hockey players, but studies have also shown that inherited genes have an impact on our performance too.

Following the genetics theory, the Sutters are the first NHL family to come to mind. From 1982 to 1987, the six Sutter brothers from Red Deer played in the NHL at the same time. The Sutter family has had the largest number of family members - 9 - play, coach and manage in the NHL.

Looking in our own back yard ponds, the Clements family is a primary example of how the theory plays out in the greater Grande Prairie area.

Back in the day it seemed like everyone in my world played hockey. There were old time greats like Charlie Turner, wiz kids like Galen Head, and then there were the rest of us. One of the rest of us was my partner on defence for the Grande Prairie Athletics, Gary Clements. With his wife Lynda, Gary went on to raise six active boys who inherited their father’s genes and with them a passion for the game. Craig, Colin, Corey, Chris and twins Danny and David have all left their mark on various teams in the Peace Country.

Three generations of Clements hockey players have been an obvious force in all levels of hockey in Grande Prairie both on and off the ice spanning five decades so far. From minor hockey upward, everyone in this family can lay claim to local ice time with either the Athletics, Grande Prairie Chiefs, Grande Prairie Storm, and most recently the County JDA Kings. They are known for their tireless work ethic, physicality, and being great teammates all the while serving as contributing members of our local community.

Taking age into consideration, this clan could have iced a formidable line for any hockey team. Although Gary has taken time off from his spot with the Grande Prairie Old-timers, he’s considering a return. Corey and the twins are still ripping it up in the US Elite League that consists of retired pros and other notables.