Hockey is all in the Gaustad family
The Jamestown Sun When J.R. Gaustad's grandsons come around, anyone who knows hockey tends to get a little excited. Considering the resumes the Jamestown native's grandsons have, it's not hard to see why. Gaustad's grandsons are Paul Gaustad, of ...
The Jamestown Sun
When J.R. Gaustad's grandsons come around, anyone who knows hockey tends to get a little excited.
Considering the resumes the Jamestown native's grandsons have, it's not hard to see why.
Gaustad's grandsons are Paul Gaustad, of the Buffalo Sabres, B.J. Gaustad who spent last season with Bloomington in the American Hockey League and former University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Grant (who played in Washington last year) and Ryan (who played with Philadelphia last year) Potulny.
Where the boys got their hockey sense from, though, is anyone's guess.
"When I moved from Jamestown to Grafton, I didn't know the difference from a hockey puck and a marble," said the four boys' grandfather, who still lives in Grafton.
Three of Gaustad's four sons played hockey in high school, but it was his son that played basketball and his daughter, whose husband also chose the hardwood over the ice in high school, who would raise hockey professionals.
Because of their location on the eastern side of North Dakota, playing hockey in the winter was almost unavoidable.
"For the boys in Grand Forks, Ryan and Grant, it is a hockey town," said J.R. "And our little town, Grafton, it is almost like Warroad, Minnesota."
Grant, who scored the game-winning goal against Maine in the 2002 national championship as a sophomore, the first of two consecutive national titles for the Gophers, went on to perform as a captain with the Univeristy of Minnesota for two years.
Ryan also played for the University of Minnesota, attending Grand Forks Red River until his junior year, when he transferred to Lincoln, Nebraska. After his graduation, he joined his brother as a teammate for the first time.
"That's the reason he went to Gophers," said Gaustad. "Their ages were far enough apart that they never got a chance to play together in high school. This way he was able to play with his brother for two years."
Ryan was drafted in the third round by Philadelphia in 2003, selected 87th overall. Last season Ryan scored seven goals and tallied five assists in 35 games with the Flyers.
Grant was initially drafted in 2000 by the Ottawa Senators, who used a fifth-round pick. He spent 2006 with the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League. In 47 games with the Senators last season Grant had 10 goals, 10 assists and 85 penalty minutes.
Paul played 54 games with the Buffalo Sabres in 2006-07, one season after playing in the Stanley Cup Finals. Last season Paul registered nine goals and 13 assists before an ankle injury forced him to miss a chunk of the regular season. Returning in the playoffs, Paul posted, coming in May against the New York Rangers, an assist in seven games.
"Out in Oregon, they don't have high school hockey," said J.R. "It is club hockey. So Paul and B.J., they played up in Canada for a year or two. When they came back, Paul signed contract with the Winterhawks, a semipro team. That eliminated him from college hockey."
Paul was later drafted 220th overall in the 2000 draft, taken in the seventh round by Buffalo.
B.J. spent 2006-07 with the Bloomington Prairie Thunder of the AHL. Last season saw B.J. register 11 goals and 25 assists with 73 penalty minutes in 73 games.
The grandsons are also passing on their knowledge of the game. In July they hosted a camp in Grafton and worked as instructors.
"The boys come back periodically," J.R. said. "Next year, they'll have a camp here. We've also had inquiries from Winnipeg to hold camp there. They've also have held a camp in Portland, Oregon. And in either Spokane or Seattle is next camp."
And when the work was all done, it was time to relax with family.
"After the camp was over with, we went on a fishing trip to Devils Lake. We had 17 uncles and cousins with for the trip," said J.R. "The fishing was Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, their dad and the two boys from Oregon flew back to Oregon.
"Ryan and Grant are now back in Minneapolis and they'll probably go back to their pro teams in a short time."
With the new season on the horizon, rivalries bred from playing in the same conference will be renewed. Likely before the season starts, too.
"Everyone is getting ready for the upcoming season," J.R. said. "The Minnesota Wild is playing the Buffalo Sabres in Grand Forks on Sept. 24 at the Englestad Arena, in the preseason. The whole family is going to get loaded up and go there."
Sun sports writer Kalen Ost can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by e-mail at email@example.com . His blog is at www.areavoices.com/ost .