"It's a bit surreal honestly," said Ryan Kuffner who followed in the footsteps of his great, great uncle, Edwin Gorman, and donned an Ottawa Senators crest during his invite to take part at this year's Development Camp.
Post Media's Ken Warren shed light on Kuffner's unique family heritage with a nice feature on the pair mid-camp which made the rounds before eventually landing on the desk of Ottawa Sport Historian Jim McAuley.
"After reading Ken's article, my son asked if I would be able to dig anything else up on Gorman," said McAuley. "I spent some time and looked through my stuff and, sure enough, I found a picture in a full Senators uniform."
So following the 3-on-3 tournament to conclude Development Camp on July 2nd, McAuley presented Kuffner with the photograph along with some more details about his great, great uncle's career in Ottawa.
"He started out as a defenceman but then he became a winger," McAuley said of Gorman. "He was a Stanley Cup Champion, of course, but he took his time moving from senior hockey to amateur. The Senators would pursue him every year but he would decline before he eventually agreed to join the team in 1924."
Gorman would go on to skate in 92 games over the course of three seasons with the team, recording 17 points during that span and winning a Stanley Cup with the Senators in 1926-27. Fast-forward 91 years and now Kuffner, who grew up in Ottawa, has earned his own experience with his hometown team.
"It's pretty cool how these things can come full circle," shared Kuffner. "My whole family has been playing hockey and involved in sports for a long time in the Ottawa area and now I'm lucky enough to be here."
While Kuffner has some work to do before matching his great, great uncle's accomplishments, earning an invite to an NHL Development Camp is a great step in the right direction. Like Gorman, who made his NHL debut at the age of 32, Kuffner isn't in a rush to turn pro and is expected to return to Princeton for his senior season in the fall.
Following his family history lesson, Kuffner's focus has now shifted back to the present and that includes being grateful for the chance to continue to improve his game at Development Camp in Ottawa.
"It was a great experience. This is an organization that I've grown up watching my whole life," he recalled of his week with the Sens prospects. "For them to take a step forward and help me out with my development over the past week has been an awesome feeling. I can't thank them enough for the opportunity."