Through fame and success, the brothers have remained connected to their roots.W
hile Russ and Geoff have become world-renowned hockey stars, and Bruce a well respected business man, they remain committed to the community that gave them their start.
The Courtnall brothers were born in Duncan, British Columbia and they spent their early years in nearby Lake Cowichan before the young family relocated to Victoria. It was in Victoria, that Geoff, Russ and Bruce began their pursuit of hockey playing for the “Maple Buds” at the Victoria Memorial Arena. From there, they moved on to the Victoria Racquet Club, Minor Hockey and the Western Hockey League’s “Victoria Cougars.”
Geoff left Victoria and the Cougars in 1983 when he was signed as a free agent by the NHL’s Boston Bruins. This was the beginning of a successful hockey career which included positions with the Edmonton Oilers (winning a Stanley Cup), the Washington Capitals, the St. Louis Blues and the Vancouver Canucks. In 2000, Geoff retired from the St. Louis Blues and returned home to Victoria where he is a dedicated father to two children. Perhaps following in his father’s footsteps, Geoff’s son, Justin, was drafted 210th overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightening. Geoff is an expert carpenter and can be found working on construction projects on Vancouver Island.
In 1983, Russ was drafted as the seventh overall pick in the first round for the Toronto Maple Leafs. In the same year, he was the Captain of the Canadian Team at the World Junior Championships, and went on as one of the chosen few to compete in the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo. Russ was traded in 1988 from Toronto to the Montreal Canadians and, in 1992, he moved south to play with the Dallas Stars. This was followed by two years with the Vancouver Canucks and, after a brief stop in New York with the Rangers, he finished his career in 1999 with the Los Angeles Kings. Since retiring, Russ, wife Paris and their three children came home to Victoria in 2003 for a few years before returning back to LA, where they reside full time.
Unlike his two brothers Russ and Geoff, Bruce didn’t pursue a professional hockey career although he did play with the Western Hockey League’s Victoria Cougars and the Seattle Thunderbirds before retiring at age 20. In the early ‘90s, Bruce found his calling in the field of business and briefly left Victoria before returning in 1995. Since then, Bruce has called Victoria home and he is a dedicated father and active in a number of charitable and volunteer organizations, including Crime Stoppers Victoria (past Board Member), the British Columbia Children’s Hospital Foundation (past Board Member) and the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame (past Board Member).