Brotherly Love: Trenton’s Baier used to facing his brother

Eric Baier isn't the lone defensemen in his family. (ECHL)

Eric Baier isn’t the lone defensemen in his family. (ECHL)

The Christmas holidays saw a brief break in the ECHL hockey schedule – enough time for some players to travel home and visit with family. For 23-year-old defenseman Eric Baier of the Trenton Titans, his trip home to Providence, R.I., allowed him some time to see his family, including brother Paul Baier.

Paul, 26, is a defenseman with the South Carolina Stingrays.

Both brothers shoot right, both are very similar in size and they have even put up almost identical numbers through 25 games with their respective teams.

What does separate Eric and Paul is the type of defenseman they are.

“I would say he’s more of a stay-home, physical [defenseman],” Eric said. “He’ll get into more fights. He’s a little chippier, and keeps it a little more simple. I’m kind of looking for points.”

The brothers have never played each other in the ECHL as of yet, but the first match between the Titans and Stringrays will be on Jan. 13. They may have never played each other at the pro level, but that doesn’t mean they’ve never been on opposite ends of the ice before.

Both attended college in Providence, but chose a different school. Eric went to Providence College while Paul was at Brown University. Every year, a Mayor’s Cup is held between both schools and the brothers met in Eric’s freshman year and Paul’s senior.

”That was a great battle,” Eric said. “We actually ended up winning. We beat them pretty good. It was 8-1 or 8-2, which was fun. It was a good game and we had a ton of family there.”

It may be fun for the brothers, but it’s a whole new story for the parents of Eric and Paul.

“They were just happy either way as long as one of us did well and maybe weren’t on the ice for any goals against, but were on the ice for goals for,” Eric said. “It’s always tough for them coming to any game, but when we played each other [in college], they were pretty excited and confused about who to cheer for.”

Custom jerseys would be a perfect fit for the torn parents. Eric jokingly suggested a half-and-half jersey featuring both his No. 7 from the Titans and Paul’s No. 25 from the Stingrays.

But for now, the family can enjoy a peaceful holidays before the showdown in 18 days between Eric and Paul.

“Now I get to play [Paul] in the pros, which even more exciting,” Eric said. “Hopefully it’s a good battle. Maybe [I’ll] even get into it with him a little bit.”

Does that include a fight?

“He’s got some more fights under his belt than I do,” Eric said. “It would be fun. I would consider doing it, for sure.”

Though they may always seem to be on opposite sides, the brothers have considered playing together on the same team.

“We’ve talked about it and we definitely would,” Eric said. “If there ever is an opportunity that comes up, I’m sure it would be something fun for us to do. I would definitely like playing with him.”

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Categories: ECHL, Features, Ice Hockey, Sports

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