Family Matters For Gothberg
Thursday, 06.24.2010 / 2:08 PM / Minnesota Wild | 2010 NHL Entry Draft
By Michael Sonday - Special to Wild.com
If you have seen the Thief River Falls high school team play in the last couple of years, you are well aware of Zane Gothberg’s biggest fans. His family. Every game, his grandma, Susan McIntyre, mom, Kelly Jo and sister, Jade makeup a very vocal and supportive cheering section for the state’s top goalie prospect.
“They have always been there for me,” said Gothberg, ranked as the sixth-best North American goaltender in this weekend’s NHL Entry Draft. “It was my grandma’s passion for hockey that made me want to play. She has a bit of fire in her when it comes to hockey. She will bring cowbells and noisemakers to the game, it’s great”
With his family with him every step of the way Gothberg had a successful high school career that was capped off by winning the Frank Brimsek Award, given annually to the state’s top goaltender. Gothberg is quick to dish out credit to his biggest supporters.
“I credit everything to my family,” he said. “They have been a huge help. My mom used to have to work two or three jobs just to pay for all my hockey events and festivals.”
Gothberg is a rarity of sorts, as he’s a highly touted prospect despite being a Minnesota product. The state has not been a goalie pipeline as just four goalies have played in the NHL over the last decade.
This lack of previous success has left many teams proceeding with caution when investing their future with a Minnesota product between the pipes. Gothberg is looking to be the exception.
“You just have to prove yourself to everybody, show your willing to work hard.” Gothberg stated about his skeptics. “I trust (the scouts) know what they’re doing and will see what abilities I have, and what I can bring to a team.”
In an effort to prove his worth, the last year has been a whirlwind for Gothberg as there have been few days away from the rink. Last August, Gothberg participated in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, an international event held annually in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, featuring the top under-18 players from around the world. From there he played in the Midwest Elite League this past fall and finished off his busy year by backstopping Thief River Falls to a 18-8-1 record while posting a stingy 1.81 goals-against average and .925 save percentage.
Gothberg could be a valuable pick during this weekend’s draft, as he possesses a great deal of potential. He’s big (6-foot-1, 180-pounds), and he moves exceptionally well around his crease. He plays the puck extremely well, often acting like a third defenseman on the ice. The aspect of his game that is the most impressive is that he is mentally tough, another attribute that he thanks his family for.
“Being a goalie in Thief River Falls is a lot of pressure, but my family has taught me to be calm and collected. I also learned the importance of showing confidence; it’s something that is important when in goal. If you’re confident, your whole team will follow and have your back.”
Gothberg, who is just 17 and one of the youngest players available in the draft, will play at least one year at Fargo of the USHL before he takes his skills to his grandma’s former employer, the University of North Dakota. Susan worked in the occupational therapy department for 50 years.
“She really wanted me to go there,” he said. “And (when I visited) I really felt comfortable with the coaching staff.”
Gothberg will not be traveling to L.A. this weekend to attend the draft. Instead, he is going to relax in Thief River Falls and maybe play some golf.
Meanwhile, the team that selects Gothberg should prepare for not just a goaltender, but an entire cheering section.