BostonBruins.com—Before Zane Gothberg was ever admitted into the University of North Dakota, he already owned a green and white Fighting Sioux sweater.
After spending the last two season playing for the Fargo Force of the USHL, Gothberg, a 20-year-old, is back in Grand Forks and ready to play for a team that he grew up idolizing.
For the Bruins goaltending prospect, it’s a stop he’s been waiting to make for quite some time.
"Ever since I was six or seven we would go to games at the Old Ralph, and it just kind of got instilled, the University of North Dakota is the only good thing out there, the best college to go to and stuff," Gothberg told BostonBruins.com. "Obviously, hockey-wise they do a great job of making players professional ready, and players getting ready for the next level."
The Thief River Falls, Minn. native knew a thing about UND when it came time to make a college decision. Both Gothberg’s mother and grandmother attended the college, while his grandmother taught there for 38 years in the occupational therapy department.
"I’d say that probably one of the big factors [in my decision] was my family," said the incoming freshman. "Everyone around this area knows of the University of North Dakota.
"I have a bunch of buddies here that go to the University so, it’s kind of nice, it’s kind of like playing in my backyard.
"It will be nice to have all that support and all that help in a sense too, to kind of put me at ease and make me at home," he said.
What’s been interesting for Gothberg is although he’s been on campus, and skating with his teammates during informal training sessions, he has yet to officially put on the sharp white jersey with green and black stripes.
Still, whenever that moment does come, Gothberg said it will be well worth the wait.
"It’s been definitely a hard wait to do but I think that the sweetest things in life are kind of the ones you have to wait for and put in your full 100 percent to get there," Gothberg said. "So I think that when the time happens, it’s going to be a kind of special, kind of surreal moment just to know that I’ve made it there and the possibilities are kind of endless too."
But again, for an aspiring hockey player who grew up around the Old Ralph Engelstad arena, where the team used to skate, putting on the jersey won’t be all too unfamiliar.
"Yupp, I probably had five or six [jerseys] to be honest," admitted Gothberg, thinking back. "I had a Jordan Parise jersey, Jonathan Toews jersey, and then a Zach Parise jersey as well.
"So I’ve just been a kind of a die-hard before coming here."