It took more than a little bit of sibling rivalry to get Milan Gajic back on the lacrosse floor.
A three-time winner of a Minto Cup Canadian junior lacrosse championship with the junior A Burnaby Lakers, Milan spent the last decade playing professional hockey in the American and East Coast hockey leagues, as well as in Europe.
This Thursday, the eldest of the Gajic brothers will join his three younger siblings for the first time in their collective organized sports careers playing on the same team.
The four, including Nenad, Ilija and youngest brother Alex, will make their familial debut with the New Westminster Salmonbellies at the Western Lacrosse Association home opener at Queen's Park Arena against the Nanaimo Timbermen on May 24.
"I was 50/50 on it," the 30-year-old Milan said of his return to the indoor box lacrosse game. "I was always thinking it would be nice to play with my brothers. They were fullcourt pressing me to play."
Even his mother and father were keen on seeing their sons all suit up together in the Salmonbellies red, white and blue. Club president and general manager Dan Richardson was also reportedly increasing his Iphone minutes, texting the eldest Gajic almost daily.
Milan, who was the Game 6 MVP in Burnaby's 7-3 Minto Cup-winning game in 2002, believes the biggest adjustment will be finding his timing again after 10 years on the ice.
"The puck doesn't bounce like the ball does," he said with a laugh. "It will be fun to see if I can get past centre."
Milan earned an NCAA hockey scholarship at the University of Michigan and was picked up in the NHL entry draft by the former Atlanta Thrashers.
He played his last hockey game with the Victoria Salmon Kings of the East Coast league in 2010 and spent all of last year resting his body from the rigours of being a pro athlete.
With his three younger brothers playing pro lacrosse in Denver for the Colorado Mammoth in the National league in the winter league, Milan decided maybe the Western Lacrosse Association might be his last opportunity for some quality time together with his brothers.
"It would be nice to be around them for an extended period of time," Milan said. "It will be kind of nice spending some real time rather than just barbecue and dinner with me."
Milan doesn't expect the debut to be an emotional one but it could turn into that as the summer season draws to an end.
"I think it will be," Milan said. "It's not a regret of mine (not playing together). But it's something I kind of wanted."
Milan will make his on-floor debut with his brothers on Thursday at Queen's Park at 7 p.m.
There will also be an official unveiling of the six new players' retirement jersey banners at the senior A Salmonbellies' home opener.
The retired numbers of New Westminster Salmonbellies' hall of famers Cliff Sepka, the late Jack Bionda, Paul Parnell, Wayne Goss, Geordie Dean and Eric Cowieson will be raised to the rafters of Queens' Park Arena in an official ceremony at the game.