Don’t worry. Just because the season’s over we will still give you the Force fix you need.
We’ll be back next week with a bunch of items such as post-season grades, overall grades of players, who will be back next year and a few other things such as the USHL Futures Draft next Tuesday.
But for now, we’re going to focus on Zane Gothberg (North Dakota), who might have had the most profound interview of anyone last night.
“You want to win for yourself, you want to win for your guys, you want to win for your mother, you want to win for your grandma,” is what a teary-eyed Gothberg said 20 minutes following the Force’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Lincoln Stars in the Western Conference semifinals.
With that one quote, Gothberg managed to show why he is endearing to so many people.
Gothberg was one of the players this locker room rallied around at so many points this season because of the attitude he had towards things. He never tried to let the negative interfere with the team’s mentality.
He accomplished that goal by being what many have called “the backbone of our team” helping the Force through the worst start in franchise history to a fourth straight playoff appearance.
Guys in that locker room respect him because of it.
That’s what made the last two statements even more interesting and in truth, stronger.
If you’ve never met Kelly Gothberg, that’s a damn shame. She’s Gothberg’s mother and was honestly one of the more devout parents you’ll ever see. The woman made the drive from Thief River Falls, which is at least a four-hour round trip, frequently to watch her son play.
Spending a few minutes with the woman, you see where he gets its from. You see where he’s able to take any situation and find the good in it. Because Lord knows this family has been tested.
That leads to the final point in what I hope has not been a boring or poorly-written diatribe.
It has been mentioned a few times on this blog about how Gothberg lost his grandmother over the summer to various illnesses.
We all know death is never an easy thing to handle but more importantly, accept. Hearing this kid talk last night, you got the feeling it still is hard for him to handle.
Gothberg was already emotional and understandably so. But when he mentioned his grandmother, his voice was even shakier further stating how much he missed her but how much he really wanted to win for her.
People ask me what’s the most interesting thing about covering this team and it is moments like this. It is those moments where you see beyond a mask and you see the kind of person these guys really are.
At the end of the day, all Zane Gothberg is a kid who loves his teammates, his mother and his grandmother.
Even in a loss, hopefully that’s a gain for you Force fans out there.
Have a good weekend everybody.