Minor Hockey Moments: Joe Pavelski
Joe Pavelski’s parents took the approach their son would benefit more from a well-rounded recreational experience and never allowed him to play hockey year round.
Joe Pavelski was drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the 7th round, 205th overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. In 2002, Pavelski won the Wisconsin State Hockey Championship, in 2004 he was a member of the 2004 Clark Cup champion Waterloo Blackhawks of the USHL and in 2006 he captured the NCAA Division I National Championship with the University of Wisconsin Badgers, while leading the team in overall points. Pavelski was selected to play on the USA Hockey Olympic team at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
“We’d have two practices twice a week on a half sheet of ice from squirt all the way to bantam,” said San Jose Sharks forward Joe Pavelski after a game day skate in Toronto. “My coach John Gruber and my dad taught me everything I know about hockey during those years.” Playing for a parent can sometimes create an uncomfortable dynamic in a family, but the Wisconsin native remembers the experience as being nothing but positive. “My dad was an intense guy, but I never once felt pressured to play hockey or to perform, said Pavelski of his father. “He was intense but he was always on my side. He’d get fired up with the ref once in a while but that’s about it.”
Pavelski’s parents took the approach their son would benefit more from a well-rounded recreational experience and never allowed him to play hockey year round. “I don’t really remember ever going to a summer hockey camp or playing in a summer league,” said Pavelski. “They wanted me to get a rounded experience and the ball park was just up the road so that’s where I spent my summers. We played some roller hockey but that was all organized by us, nobody forced us to play.”
Young hockey players often have just as many fond memories of the stuff that happens before and after games as they do of the games themselves. “We’d always stop at Dairy Queen on the way home from games or practices,” recalls Pavelski. “I remember really looking forward to that and we’d also play the headlight game where we’d try to find cars with only one headlight.” When asked about a minor hockey moment that really stood out, Pavelski memory takes him back to out of town tournaments. “I remember our parents taking us out to a sports bar with the team,” said the third-year pro. “If we did well, our parents would give us a bunch of money for the arcade or basketball games, those were priceless moments."
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