Photo by Rena Laverty
Hockey runs blood deep for Jimmy Snuggerud. Just as so many family members before him, he found his passion out on the ice.
One of his biggest supporters and role models growing up was his father, Dave Snuggerud. Both Jimmy and his father have walked similar paths in their careers from playing high school hockey to wearing the USA sweater.
“He had to go through the same process of playing hockey growing up and going to Minnesota like I plan to,” said the younger Snuggerud. “He’s just teaching me things he learned going through everything and trying to make it fun for me.”
The family tradition of representing both the Gophers and Team USA does not fall just to Snuggerud and his father. The legacy began back in the 1950s when Jimmy's grandfather, James Westby, played for Team USA at the Men’s World Championship.
“He also went through the same things that I’m going through now, so he knows what it’s like to be a player. He also grew up playing high school like I did, then juniors, before the University of Minnesota. His main lesson was just to enjoy the process and live in the moment. It’s just nice to have hockey in our family tree like that.”
Being a part of such a proud family tradition means everything to Snuggerud, but as he continues to develop his career at the NTDP and as a Gopher, he hopes to make a name for himself as well.
“I really just want to keep the tradition of hockey in my family alive. Being able to make a name for myself though just comes from how I play out there on the ice and as long as I still enjoy it, well, that means everything to me.”
With only one season left before joining the Gophers program, the excitement, as well as the anticipation, continues to grow for Snuggerud.
Beyond the family ties, just like many other young players, the appeal of playing close to home for family and friends to come watch him live out his college career played a huge role in his commitment.
“First, it’s really nice that they own their own rink. Knowing that we can go to the rink and skate or shoot pucks whenever we want to,” stated Snuggerud. “Also, just being homegrown in Minnesota, it really brought me there as well. Those were definitely the biggest things for me.”
Favorite NHL Team
Favorite NHL Player
Favorite Musical Artist
Favorite Netflix Binge
The Maze Runner
Favorite Home-Cooked Meal
Spaghetti & Meatballs
For Snuggerud, giving his best effort every day has become second nature. Coming off a 32-point season (15g, 17a), there is much success for him to not only reflect on but to look forward to.
“All the work that I’ve put in and growing up playing with great players has allowed me to be the best that I can whether that was high school hockey or with the NTDP. All the hard work is going well and being able to do it with my teammates has been fun and I know it’ll pay off.”
All the years he has dedicated to developing his game puts him that much closer to achieving all his goals, but with every opportunity he gets to step out on that ice and compete allows him to feel just like he did as a kid putting on skates for the very first time.
“It’s just unbelievable and it never gets old. I just love it every single time I can skate anywhere, anytime with my buddies. Even my buddies here that don’t play hockey love to skate. It’s a passion and I just love the game.”
At the end of the day, we all have reasons that keep us coming back to the things we love doing most, whether it’s the culture we’re surrounded by or the people who made us enjoy it in the first place.
Ultimately, the reasons that keep Snuggerud’s passion alive come down to the teammates who have always had his back and his pure love for the game.
“It’s got to be my teammates and just being around the rink. Everything about hockey is just so lovable and it never gets old.”
Photo by Rena Laverty