Reese Laubach grew up idolizing Joe Pavelski, skating on the same sheet of ice as his idol when he played for the San Jose Jr. Sharks and even meeting Pavelski a few times.
But after Friday’s NHL Draft, he’s got something in common with his idol, too. They both were drafted by San Jose in the seventh round.
Nineteen years after the Sharks took Pavelski with the 205th pick in the 2003 draft, Laubach was the choice at No. 214 for the team he grew up watching.
“I was probably the biggest Sharks fan around, so to be drafted by my hometown team is a dream come true,” Laubach said on Friday.
Laubach had his youth hockey Sharks jerseys hanging on the wall behind him during his interview with the media, showing off that he wore No. 8 — and yes, he chose that number because of Pavelski.
Reese Laubach is a huge Joe Pavelski fan, as you can see. pic.twitter.com/x20fcnvJtp
— Curtis Pashelka (@CurtisPashelka) July 8, 2022
Laubach was actually the second former Jr. Sharks player taken on Friday, as Garrett Brown was taken in the fourth round (pick No. 99) by the Winnipeg Jets. Brown and Laubach are the first Jr. Sharks ever taken in the NHL Draft.
“It shows that the Jr. Sharks is a growing program here, it’s a growing foundation,” Laubach said. “We’ve got some really great coaches, great staff that are helping us develop into the players we are today. It’s great to see hockey growing in California.”
Three coaches Laubach credited with helping him were Mike Janda, John Beaulieu and Curtis Brown — Garrett’s dad.
Laubach attended Valley Christian High School and played for the school’s hockey team for two seasons before moving to Minnesota, which he said was sparked by the COVID pandemic.
A 6-foot, 167-pound forward, Laubach had 102 points in 57 games for the Northstar Christian Academy 18U AAA team this past season. He was ranked 192nd among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. He played two games in the United States Hockey League (USHL) with the Youngstown Phantoms, who he said he’s going to return to play for in this upcoming season before potentially heading to Minnesota State-Mankato.
“Reese has earned a lot of this. It’s awesome that he’s a Jr. Shark and he’s from San Jose, but most importantly, he had a great season and he deserved to be drafted,” Sharks director of scouting Doug Wilson Jr. said. “We’re excited about him — he’s extremely fast and he’s a good goalscorer.”
But first, Laubach will join the other Sharks prospects at a development camp in San Jose next week. After traveling nearly 1,500 miles away from home to play hockey for the past two years, Laubach will need just 20 to make it to the development camp.
Now, it’s time to see if can keep emulating Pavelski’s path — from USHL to college hockey to San Jose. And for a kid who grew up watching the Sharks consistently make deep playoff runs, he’d be thrilled to be a part of a return to that level.
“That would be awesome,” Laubach said. “That’s kind of my dream, to play for the Sharks, and to get them back to the level where they were at a couple of years ago would be an honor, for sure.”
Source: Paradise Post