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Former Grizzlies’ den members: The Benn brothers

 

Of all the brothers to play for the Victoria Grizzlies, the Benn brothers are the most famous. From 2004-07, Jamie Benn and Jordie Benn played together on the same teams.

From the junior B Peninsula Panthers to the newly renamed (at the time) Grizzlies, they were teammates. It was only during the 2007-08 season when their careers went on different paths. Jamie joined the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League while Jordie finished his junior career with the Grizzlies.

Both brothers made it to the National Hockey League. Their paths were different, but eventually, they reunited on the same team. However, both now play for different teams as Jamie is captain of the Dallas Stars while Jordie plays for the Winnipeg Jets.

With this article, I want to trace the paths each brother took. I’ll start with their time in junior hockey and finish with their pro career in the NHL. Before that, I want to highlight some of the accomplishments the brothers achieved with the Grizzlies.

Part of a unique club

Like Tyler Bozak, both Benn brothers joined Victoria when the BCHL club was called the Salsa. Both also played during the name change to Grizzlies and both had their numbers retired by the franchise.

On Sept. 15, 2018, their numbers were raised to The Q Centre’s rafters. Jordie’s number eight jersey and Jamie’s number 16 jersey hang alongside other famed numbers.

Like Bozak, Jordie served as captain of the Grizzlies. It was during the 2007-08 season. After aging out with the Grizzlies, Jordie wasn’t drafted by an NHL team. After a few seasons in the minors, Jordie made his NHL debut with the Dallas Stars in 2011-12.

Starting out

Both brothers started their junior careers with the Peninsula Panthers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. Jordie played in parts of three seasons from 2002-05 while Jamie played in parts of two seasons from 2004-06.

Jordie was the first one to join the Salsa, playing four games as an affiliate during the 2004-05 season. Jamie joined the Salsa for six games as an affiliate during the 2005-06 season. Both brothers played on the Salsa/Grizzlies until the start of the 2007-08 season.

Jamie put up impressive numbers during the 2006-07 BCHL season, posting 42 goals and 23 assists in 53 games.

These numbers caught the attention of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, who recruited him to join them after just two games in the BCHL season. Jamie joined the Rockets after he was drafted by the Dallas Stars in the fifth round, 127th overall, in the 2007 NHL Draft.

While Jamie played the second-to-last season of his junior career in Kelowna, Jordie wrapped up his in Victoria. 2007-08 saw him score 15 goals and 32 assists in 60 games as Grizzlies captain.

The following season, Jamie played for Canada at the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championship. Later that year, as an alternate captain, Benn and the Rockets went on a run to the Memorial Cup but lost to the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires in the final game.

Going pro

While Jamie was still in Kelowna, Jordie stayed in Victoria – but not with the Grizzlies because he was too old to play junior hockey. After forgoing a commitment to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Jordie joined the ECHL’s Victoria Salmon Kings for 2008-09. In his single season with the Salmon Kings, Benn notched one goal and 11 assists in 55 games.

Meanwhile, Jamie’s rookie pro season in Dallas was outstanding. During that 82 game season in 2009-10, he had 22 goals and 19 assists. After the regular season, Jamie joined the Texas Stars for the 2010 American Hockey League Calder Cup playoffs.

The baby Stars made it to the AHL final, where they lost to the Hershey Bears.

Back with Jordie, he left Victoria and went to a different franchise in Texas for 2009-10. He joined the Allen Americans of the Central Hockey League. In 45 games, he scored nine goals and nine assists.

Before the 2010-11 season, Jordie signed with the Texas Stars. In 60 games with Texas, Jordie scored nine goals and nine assists. For the next two seasons, Jordie split time between both the Stars’ NHL and AHL teams.

Reunited in Dallas – and then split up

Jordie joined the Stars full-time during the 2013-14 season. That same year, Jamie was part of Team Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, winning gold against Sweden. It was also his fifth straight season in Dallas, but first as captain of the Stars.

The brothers played together from 2013-17. Just before the 2017 trade deadline, Jordie was traded to the Montreal Canadiens for Greg Pateryn and a fourth-round pick in the 2017 draft. Benn spent the next two seasons in Montreal before becoming a free agent in the summer of 2019.

In Dallas, Jamie continued racking up points. His best year with the Stars was the 2015-16 season when he scored 41 goals and 48 assists in 82 games.

On July 1, 2019, Jordie signed with the Vancouver Canucks as an unrestricted free agent. In 75 games over two seasons with the Canucks, he put up two goals and 14 assists. Before this past season’s trade deadline, the Canucks traded him to the Winnipeg Jets for a sixth-round pick in the 2021 draft.

As for Jamie, Dallas made it to the Stanley Cup Final in the 2020 playoff bubble. Despite a hard-fought series, the Stars fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games. He finished the playoffs with 19 points in 27 games.

What next?

While Jamie has four more years with the Dallas Stars at a salary of $9.5-million, Jordie’s current contract expired at the end of the 2020-21 season and he’s an unrestricted free agent once again.

Whatever happens next, both brothers will always be a huge part of Grizzlies’ history and are sure to be remembered in the south Island area for years to come.