The Sedin twins’ peculiarity should be celebrated, not ridiculed

A miracle of biology, masters of geometry, and chemistry incarnate – Daniel and Henrik Sedin are different. 

They’re unlike anything you, or me, or Jamie Benn, or Tyler Seguin, or Dave Bolland, or Mike Milbury have ever seen. Identical twins and elite athletes, they’ve been side by side their entire lives. From wombmates to roommates to linemates in the SuperElite, in the SHL, and in the NHL, they’ve been inseparable for their entire lives. 

Even their statistical output is identical. Henrik has appeared in 1,062 games in his NHL career. He’s averaged .83 points per contest. Daniel? He’s appeared in 1,031NHL games, averaging .82 points per contest. That’s awesome, in the formal sense.

The twins are different, which is partly why they’ve so often and unfairly been the target of ridicule. 

We all know the history of the particular incidents, we’ve covered them at length in this space in the past. This week it happened again when Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn made a crude joke that many have perceived as Benn insinuating that the twins fool around when they room together on the road.

The exchange occurred on Dallas 1310 The Ticket’s Bob and Dan Show. TSN 1040 had to retrieve the audio after the 1310 The Ticket’s website edited the file to remove the portion of the interview that’s caused a good deal of controversy in the Vancouver market this week. 

It started when Benn was asked if he rooms with his brother Jordie Benn when the Stars are on the road. He replied that he didn’t and then the host, out of nowhere, commented that you just know that the Sedin twins do.

Tyler Seguin: “Well yeah, that’s the Sedins” 

Jamie Benn: “Who knows what else they do together too”

Host 1: “Didn’t mean to imply that you have a Sedin-type vibe going about you”

Host 2: “Don’t they shave the exact same way?”

Host 1: “Dude it’s creepy, in fact, it’s a good example to future brothers in the NHL on how not to do things, in my opinion, that’s just something I would throw out there.”

Host 2: “Are they weird?”

Jamie Benn: “I don’t know” 

Tyler Seguin: “They look weird.”

It’s an ugly bit of audio, rife with thinly-veiled homophobic sentiment. I don’t think we need to get into condemning the comments at any greater length than that. Suffice it to say that it’s a bad look for the station, for the Stars, and for Benn and Seguin as individuals. That the Stars are preparing to make an apologetic statement regarding the interview later today isn’t surprising. 

On Tuesday night, Henrik said as much when he appeared with Scott Rintoul on TSN 1040 and provided his reaction to Benn and Seguin’s comments:

I haven’t heard more than guys were talking about it today. I don’t know what they said or where they said it or what happened. It’s nothing I really like to comment on. 

It says more about them then it says about us.

You know what, for me it’s about our team and our teammates. If they come out and say something bad about us, then I would be bothered and it would hurt. As long as they’re happy that’s all we think about.

I mean, I don’t know, we’re brothers, we’re Swedes, we’ve always played together, so I’m sure there’s going to be comments from a lot of different angles it’s been like this from people on TV… and also from players. It’s nothing we can do anything about except go out there and play our best and be the kind of people we want to be.

Henrik suggested, once again, that coming from players who didn’t know much about him and his brother as people, these sorts of insults were easy to shake off.

“Coming from guys like that, or a few years back from Bolland – who is the same type of player – it’s easy to let it go.”

That the Canucks’ captain handled this latest dust up with grace and candor isn’t surprising. That’s who the twins are.

I’ll leave you with just one thought: the Sedin twins are different and their perceived strangeness causes people to react in different ways. 

For some in the hockey world and outside of it, the Sedin twins are an easy punch line. They see the twins as an oddity to be gawked at, and mocked – almost always with gendered or homophobic language. This isn’t a coincidence. There are types people who generally find it difficult to value the spice and texture and beauty that variety lends to life and the human experience. It’s much easier to belittle the unfamiliar then it is to try and understand or appreciate it.

If the cosmic-level uniqueness that the Sedin twins possess is something you struggle to celebrate rather than scorn, that’s your prerogative. It’s ours to feel sorry for you. 

UPDATE: Jamie Benn has reached out to the Sedin twins to apologize for his comments on Monday. The Dallas Stars released a statement to that effect, per Mike Halford of Pro Hockey Talk:

Jamie Benn has reached out to Henrik and Daniel Sedin to apologize for the radio interview that he was a part of on Monday. The Dallas Stars have the utmost respect for the contributions that the two have made to both the game and to their community over the course of their great careers. We will not be commenting on the situation further.

  • Mantastic

    they didn’t apply hom-ophobic connotation in this interview. the listeners and readers did.

    the only thing that was directly negative that Benn or Seguin said was that they looked “weird”

  • Mantastic

    We are already precived as the whiniest bunch of whiners that ever whined, this isn’t helping. Time to accept the fact that hockey (much like football) is played by a bunch of brutes who view life simplistically and people like the Sedins are a threat to their view of the world.

    • Mantastic

      allowing others perception of you to determine your stance on matters is weak. hockey is played by brutes but, it’s also played by gentlemen like the sedins; as this article was indicating.

      • Ruprecht

        My point is the mentality of the average hockey player and hockey, is not condusive to taking a positive stance to players like the Sedins who are not archetypical north american Alpha Males. It is what it is, I don’t see a point in trying to change it.

  • Mantastic

    It’s a darn good thing that Jamie Benn isn’t currently visiting his and my hometown of Victoria, BC or else we would throw hemp seeds at him and call him a climate denier. You’ve been warned Benn!

  • Mantastic

    Great post, Thom.

    The Sedins are great leaders and representatives of this team and I feel fortunate that we’ve had 2 such unique players all these years.

  • Mantastic

    Is it just me or did these sorts of things only pop up after that funny but unfortunate NHL add where the guy hired “Swedish twins” to dance at a stag party?

  • Ruprecht

    Well put.

    I honestly don’t think anything harmful was meant by these comments. They were kind of baited into them by the radio guys who deserve some criticism as well, but you also have to be intelligent enough to think before you speak. Not be lured in by the childishness of the whole scenario. Especially when you are putting something out there for the masses to hear.

  • Fred-65

    The comments made by players such as Benn, Seguin, or Bolland tells us a lot. If they weren’t capable of whacking a puck they wouldn’t be working at NASA