Sister never far from Wild defenseman Blum's thoughts

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 26, 2014 - 11:22 AM

Jon Blum has taken big hits but none bigger than losing his twin sister to a house fire.

Every day, at some unexpected moment, a memory of Jon Blum’s twin sister pops in his head. Invariably, the questions follow, questions he would give anything to have answered.

“What would she be doing now? What college would she have gone to? When would she have had kids?” asked Blum, his eyes fixated on the carpet. “She had so much potential. There are big question marks.”

As Jon Blum grew up playing hockey in southern California, Ashley Blum attended most every one of his games. They had lockers next to each other at Trabuco Hills High School in Mission Viejo, had the same math class.

“She was my biggest fan,” said the 25-year-old Blum, a defenseman the Wild will rely upon heavily during its playoff push. “It’s been almost 10 years to the day.”

On April 2, 2004, when Jon and his sister were only 15, Ashley, who had come home from school earlier that day because she was ill, was sleeping when their house caught fire because of a gas leak. Blum and his family were at a hospital 20 minutes away visiting a relative who was undergoing surgery. A neighbor called them to rush home.

“We dropped everything,” Blum said. “About a mile from the house, we saw the ambulance and followed it home. A couple hours later, you get word your sister is gone and the house you grew up in for 15 years has burned down. Your life changes forever.”

The loss of Jon’s sister presents a big void in his life. Ashley wanted to be a chef, and the two would joke about how someday when he made it to the NHL, she would be his personal chef.

On Sunday, in the middle of the Wild’s upcoming four-game road trip, Blum will travel to Los Angeles with the Wild, where it plays Jon’s favorite team as a kid, the Kings, on Monday.

“It’ll be nice to be with my family,” Blum said. “This is definitely a tough time of year, and this being the 10-year anniversary, we can honor her memory together. You never forget no matter how old you are and how long it’s been.”

Hockey and surfing

California isn’t a hockey hotbed, but Jon Blum got the hockey bug as a child when he and a dozen of his friends would play roller hockey in his cul-de-sac in Rancho Santa Margarita, which is about 25 minutes south of Anaheim.

“The sewer drains would be our goals,” Blum said.

At age 6, he tried on ice skates for the first time at a birthday party and fell in love. By 8, he joined the California Wave, a youth hockey program that would travel to such places as Quebec City, Toronto, Chicago, Denver and Detroit.

“My parents [John and Dana] owned a motor home, and our ice was up in Huntington Beach,” Blum said. “We’d play an 8 a.m. game on a Saturday, and my parents would take the whole team and the coaches to the beach after. We’d surf for four to six hours and have a barbecue. California is pretty laid back. Whenever you can go play a hockey game and then go surf afterward, it makes it all the better.”

The Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League drafted Blum in the seventh round in 2004, only that late because in those days, it was atypical for American teenagers to leave home to play major Canadian junior hockey.

“We got lucky,” said Don Hay, longtime coach of the Giants. “He’s one of the best we’ve had and in his four years, he had maybe more success than any player we’ve had.”

Junior success

Blum played in two Memorial Cups, winning the Canadian hockey league title in 2007. In four years, Blum scored 49 goals and 204 points and was the CHL Defenseman of the Year in 2009.

  • related content

  • Chart: NHL Western Conference wild-card race

    Tuesday March 25, 2014

    WESTERN CONFERENCE WILD-CARD RACETeam Games left Points7. Wild 10 858. Phoenix 9 829. Dallas 10 7910. Vancouver 9 76Tuesday’s gamesPhoenix 3, Pittsburgh 2Chicago 4, Dallas 2Note: Top three teams...

  • Yeo on the Wild's goaltending situation

    Wednesday March 26, 2014

    With 10 games left, the Wild needs to figure out which of its two goalies will be the No. 1 if it makes the postseason.

  • Russo: Question about the Wild or NHL? Ask it here

    Tuesday March 25, 2014

    This Sunday, I'll be doing another Russo's Rants Q and A

  • Wild-Vancouver game preview

    Tuesday March 25, 2014

    6:30 p.m. vs. Vancouver • FSN, 100.3-FMPreview: The Wild, which has beaten the Canucks in two shootouts this season, is...

  • The death of his twin sister and his mom’s cancer battle have given the Wild’s Jon Blum a different sense of perspective.

  • Wild defenseman Jon Blum, a recent call-up from Iowa of the AHL, will be called upon to fill a key role because of injuries to Keith Ballard and Clayton Stoner.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 FINAL
Phoenix 106
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
UMBC 56
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
SMU 63 FINAL
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 84 FINAL
Washington 74
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
UMBC 71 FINAL
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
SMU 58 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL
UNLV 75

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What chance does the Wild have of making the playoffs?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close