Jason Gonzalez has covered an array of sports at all levels over the last six years. He learned ice hockey, however, long before — during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah (his hometown). He got a close up look of legendary Gophers alum Herb Brooks and other Minnesota hockey greats. Jason is nearing two years with the Star Tribune.
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The Serratore family will come together this weekend in Bemidji. With a pair of Tom Serratores represented in the Gophers and Bemidji State Beavers hockey programs, the series has become a family reunion of sorts.
It’ll be Gophers senior forward Tom Serratore’s last visit up north. Bemidji coach, also Tom Serratore, is in his 13th season leading the Beavers. The coach is an uncle of the Gophers' Tom Serratore.
“It’s really exciting. It’s good to be able to see my family,” the Gophers’ Tom said. "My family flies up there. My grandpa gets to come down. So it’s a good family atmosphere up there. It’s hard to get everyone down here [to Minneapolis]. It’ll be good to see everyone and play my last weekend or so against the Beavers.”
One Serratore that won’t be in attendance is the younger Tom’s father, and the elder Tom’s brother, Frank Serratore. Frank is in his 16th season coaching Air Force men's hockey and is hosting Big Ten member Penn State this weekend.
(Hear more from Tom Serratore in the below video)
Outside of the Gophers ties to the Beavers, coach Don Lucia is eager to see how his team responds to its first road test. The eight freshmen enjoyed the comfort of opening their careers at home, but Lucia said things will be much different outside of Mariucci, especially against an in-state rival.
“Our first challenge; it’s our first road trip. It’s easy to play at home in front of our own crowd,” Lucia said. “And now, how are you going to react first time on the road. That’s what I’m looking forward to seeing this weekend.”
(See video of Lucia below)
The two teams were part of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association last season and played four straight games against one another. The Gophers won all four.
Bemidji opened the season with a 3-2 loss and a 2-2 tie against No. 11-ranked St. Cloud State.
• Students will have a chance to pick up tickets to the Hockey City Classic outdoor game before the general public. Tickets can be purchased Wednesday and Thursday, between 9 a.m.-5 p.m., at Mariucci Arena with a student ID.
Gophers forward Tom Serratore:
Gophers coach Don Lucia: