Tim and Tom Sestito both grew up in Rome, New York. They are both looking to win a spot in the NHL.
Tim is looking to join the New Jersey Devils, while Tom is looking to becoming a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets squad.
How did these two brothers wind up in an NHL locker room this preseason?
“Our childhood was good,” Tim said about his early beginnings. “Me and my brother are about three years apart. We’re pretty close. We grew up playing hockey, baseball, football…I think everything that’s pretty competitive. Nobody likes to lose, whether it was hockey, a video game or checkers.
“We had our battles when we were younger. I think all kids do. Now, we’re grown. We’re pretty close now. He’s one of my best friends.”
The Sestito brothers wound up getting into hockey like many other hockey players…at a very young age.
“I remember getting on the ice at about three, learning how to skate,” Tim said of his first experience. “I think [Tom] was the same.”
While, most times, there is a parent that is the driving force to get their child into a pair of skates, their inspiration came from another source.
“It was actually my grandfather that was the driving force,” he said. “My dad never played hockey. He was a football player in college. We used to play street hockey in [my grandfather’s] driveway. He was the one that got us on skates. I think we both fell in love with the game.
“[My grandfather] is a big hockey fan. He played, and would tell us these stories about how they used to have to shovel the outdoor rink before they played. He was old school, but he loved hockey. He’s a Philadelphia Flyers fan.”
For the Sestito brothers, it wasn’t all about hockey all of the time. Their education was very important, and their parents pushed them to go to college.
“I think our parents reinforced how important school was,” Tim said.
But like most kids, sometimes there is one sibling that excels, while the other one finds themselves in a bit of trouble coming up with the good grades all of the time.
“I did well,” Tim said of his grades. “Tom did well. He hit a little low for a little while, but it was really important, because our family really instilled the education. I remember some weekends, my brother not being allowed to play because of his grades. That was definitely a big part.”
Even though getting good grades was important if they planned on doing any extracurricular activity, what their parents wanted for their children ended up not being what they had hoped for the two brothers.
“It was kind of odd, because we both went the major junior route. Not to disappoint our parents, but we took a different avenue than they would have thought. They thought we’d go to college, but I think they’re pretty happy with how it turned out.”
Between the two brothers, Tim, the eldest, was not drafted. Tom, the youngest, was drafted 85th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
With Tim not being able to experience what other young kids feel when they are drafted, he was able to live the experience through his brother. He was not physically there when his brother was called, but the experience made him feel like he was there.
“The draft was out in Vancouver…pretty far,” Tim said of the draft. “I was watching on the internet, calling every couple of minutes. I couldn’t have been more proud when he got drafted.
“I was really excited for him. He worked really hard to get drafted. I was really proud of him. I felt like I got drafted when he did. I was really happy for him.”
Vying For the NHL
“It’s exciting times,” Tim said about the two brothers looking to make the NHL. “We talk about both our positions, and how spots are up for grabs. We work out together in the summers. It’s good to have somebody that is in your same situation, both trying to get on the team.
“It’s not like one is established, and the other guy is [not]. We bounce things off of each other. I think it’s good for both of us.”
While the Devils cuts included Tim on Monday, he has to clear waivers in order to join the Albany Devils.
But this isn’t bad news for Tim. It actually benefits him being closer to home.
“It’s nice, because it’s pretty close to where we grew up,” Tim said of heading to Albany. “My wife is eight months pregnant right now. It will be a little closer drive to the hospital.
“We’re having a girl. I’m really excited. It’s a win-win. Hopefully, I’m here, but if I’m there, it’s close to home.”