Hockey players often refer to their teammates as brothers, and the Vancouver Giants are no exception. But over the course of 18 seasons in the WHL, the Giants have taken that mantra one step further five times.
When newly signed forward Cole Shepard takes the ice this season for the Giants alongside his older brother Jackson, they will mark the fifth pair of brothers to suit up for the Vancouver Giants. They’ll also mark the third set of brothers to suit up for the G-Men together.
Here’s a rundown of the four previous brother combos to suit up for the Vancouver Giants.
Brothers – Tyson + TJ Mulock (Played together)
Tyson Mulock – Tyson Mulock holds the distinction of scoring the first ever goal for the Vancouver Giants. The goal came at 4:28 of the third period on September 21, 2001 at home against Kamloops. Mulock played 18 career games with the Giants. He played 14 years of pro hockey in Germany from 2004-2018.
T.J. Mulock – Tyson’s younger brother played 80 career games with the Giants, spanning parts of two seasons (2001-02 and 2002-03). He scored his first WHL goal in his first WHL game on September 22 at home against Seattle. His entire WHL career spanned 170 games with Vancouver, Regina and Kamloops. Fittingly, he’s heading into his 14th season of pro hockey in Germany.
Brothers – Cody + Cain Franson
Cody Franson – Widely considered one of the best Giants defencemen ever, Cody Franson was never drafted to the WHL. But he played in 199 career games with the Giants and was a major contributor to their 2006 WHL Championship and 2007 Memorial Cup Championship. He ranks fifth all-time among Giants defencemen in scoring (119 points). His pro career has so far included 550 NHL games (Nashville, Toronto, Buffalo, Chicago). He’s heading into his second season in the KHL with Avangard Omsk.
Cain Franson – The younger of the Franson brothers was also never drafted to the WHL, but put together a solid 246 game career with the Vancouver Giants from 2010-2014. His 89 goals rank him sixth all-time amongst Giants goal scorers. Cain Franson just wrapped up his fifth season of CIS hockey with the University of Calgary and has successfully graduated. He’ll play pro in France next season with Amiens.
Brothers – Michael + Nathan Burns (Played together)
Michael Burns – In September 2010, the older of the two brothers was acquired by the Giants in a trade with the Edmonton Oil Kings. In 68 career games with the Giants, Michael Burns scored 16 goals along with 14 assists for 30 points. He will play pro in Germany next season.
Nathan Burns – The younger Burns brother was selected by the Giants in Round 7 of the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft. He dressed in 186 career games with the Giants where he compiled 34 goals and 76 points. His WHL career also included stops in Saskatoon and Swift Current. In 2019-20, Burns will begin his third season of pro hockey in Germany.
Brothers – Dalton + Josh Thrower
Dalton Thrower – After spending four seasons in the WHL with the Saskatoon Blades, Thrower, at the time a top prospect with the Montreal Canadiens, was acquired by the Giants in a trade. The North Vancouver product suited up in 42 games with the G-Men during the 2013-14 season and managed 12 goals and 27 assists for 39 points. He wore the captain’s ‘C’ that season. He has spent the past five seasons playing professionally in the ECHL and AHL.
Josh Thrower – In November 2014, the younger Thrower brother was acquired by the Giants in a trade with the Tri-City Americans. Thrower suited up in 87 career games with the Giants from 2014-2016. His WHL also featured stops in Calgary, Tri-City and Moose Jaw. He has spent each of the past two seasons in the ECHL with the Allen Americans.