Both on the WHL’s first all star team. There are few brother acts in the history of the National Hockey League that have enjoyed careers as long and fruitful as the Courtnall brothers from Vancouver Island.
Taking different routes to the NHL, Geoff and Russ both had long and productive careers. Geoff Courtnall, born on August 18, 1962 in Victoria, played two and a half years of junior hockey with the Western Hockey League’s Victoria Cougars. Passed over in the NHL Entry Draft, Geoff signed a free agent contract with the Boston Bruins in 1983, thus beginning a 17-year NHL journey. In addition to his stint with the Bruins, Geoff also played for the Edmonton Oilers – where he won a Stanley Cup in 1988 – Washington Capitals, Vancouver Canucks and St. Louis Blues.
By the time he had retired in November of 1999, Geoff was one of just a handful of BC.- born players to appear in over 1,000 NHL games. He is also one of the top B.C. players in career goals, assists, points and penalty minutes, finishing with 367 goals, 432 assists, 799 points and 1,465 penalty minutes in 1,048 regular season games. Born in Duncan, B.C. on June 2, 1964, brother Russ also starred with the WHL’s Victoria Cougars, picking up 97 points in 60 games as a rookie in 1982/83.
Perhaps not wanting to make the same mistake they made in passing over Geoff during the amateur draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs quickly snapped up Russ, making him the seventh pick overall in the 1983 draft.
Russ went on to play 16 seasons in the NHL, scoring 20 or more goals nine times. During that time he played for the Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, Minnesota North Stars, Dallas Star, Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers. Like his brother, Russ’ career regular season stats are impressive: 1,029 games, 297 goals, 447 assists, 744 points and 557 penalty minutes.