International

Warroad hockey star content material to let his ability do the speaking


Like numerous youngsters in Warroad, Jason Shaugabay grew up on skates, with a hockey stick in his hand.

“Ever since I was, like, one and a half, I had skates on, so pretty much my whole life. I was always at the rink, all day, had my gear on for hours and hours,” he stated. “I don’t think there’s a better place in the world than Warroad to play hockey.”

When he tries to describe Shaugabay, Warroad head coach Jay Hardwick often returns to one word, special.

Warroad high school senior Jayson Shaugabay skates during practice.

Dan Gunderson | MPR News

His passing skills are remarkable, Hardwick said, and the 17-year-old senior understands the game at a level far beyond most players his age.

“They might do stuff when they’re just at the rink messing around. But a lot of those things that kids think about doing but maybe don’t, Jason has the skills and the confidence to do that when we’re playing,” stated Hardwick.

“Not everybody can do it. So I think it’s kind of just a natural ability and a lot of work at it.”

MPR News is not just a listener supported source of information, it’s a resource where listeners are supported. We take you beyond the headlines to the world we share in Minnesota. Become a sustainer today to fuel MPR News all year long.

Two person poses for a portrait

Warroad high school hockey star Jayson Shaugabay stands with his father and coach Son Shaugabay in the hockey rink in Warroad.

Dan Gunderson | MPR News

A gift for the game

Jayson’s dad Darrell “Son” Shaugabay is a familiar face in Warroad hockey. He played on the high school team in the 1980s and he’s coached various levels of the sport for 37 years. He’s now an assistant high school coach. His commitment to helping kids is rooted in his early experience in Warroad.

“I came from a single mother family and I got to play hockey and didn’t worry about where my next stick came from or my skates or travel. I was taken care of,” he recalled.

A few years ago he realized Jayson has a gift for the game.

“When he got to be probably age 14 or 15, if I’m being honest, he was thinking the game at a higher level than I could, and I mean that in a complimentary way, he was seeing things that I couldn’t even see, and I’ve been around the game for a long time,” said Son.

Jayson Shaugabay attributes his success to hours spent on the ice with his friends practicing and just having fun with the game.

His dad points out he also spends hours watching videos of the best hockey players and taking what he learns to the rink.

Championship banners hang alongside the retired numbers

Championship banners hang alongside the retired numbers of former Warroad high school hockey stars in the Gardens, the always busy hockey rink in Warroad.

Dan Gunderson | MPR News

A new record

The hard work and natural feel for the game helped him surpass the Warroad points record set in 2005 by T.J. Oshie, who now plays in the National Hockey League.

“I mean, I don’t really try to think about it too much as being a big deal, but I mean it kind of is a big deal,” said Shaugabay. “I just feel very grateful and honored that I was able to beat T.J. Oshie’s record.”

Off the ice, Jayson is engaging and polite but still learning to feel comfortable in the spotlight.

He credits his parents with teaching him the importance of humility.

“I mean, just don’t be cocky, don’t be that person,” he said. “I’ll be honest, I don’t like talking about myself, I don’t like hyping myself up.”

Shaugabay hastens to add he doesn’t mind doing interviews. He knows it’s part of the game. “But I just don’t like when people are like, tell me about yourself, you know, tell me how you’re this good. I’m like, I’m not that good.”

His dad is as proud of Jayson’s demeanor as he is of his hockey success.

“In the athletic world, I learned a long time ago that if you’re good, you don’t have to talk about yourself, or your parents don’t have to talk about you, everybody else will,” said Son Shaugabay.

“As a parent, it’s really nice to see that he’s learned how to be humble and kind and generous and caring and all those other wonderful things that humans should be.”

A hockey player talks with an assistant coach

Jayson Shaugabay (17) talks during practice on Jan. 19 in Warroad with his half-brother Dane Shaugabay, an assistant coach for the Warroad High School boys hockey team.

Dan Gunderson | MPR News

Part of a long history

Son and Jayson are enrolled members of the White Earth Nation.

Warroad has a long history of Native American hockey stars, most recently T.J. Oshie, and the legendary Henry Boucha in the 1960s and 1970s.

Jayson is proud of his Ojibwe heritage and proud to wear the Warriors logo on his jersey. He’s one of five Native American players on the team this year, and there are also the family connections.

His dad and his half-brother Dane are assistant coaches. Jayson plays on the same line as his nephew, Carson Pilgrim, a junior. They’ve played together since they first learned to skate and they’re the top two scorers on the team this year.

A hockey player skates

Warroad high school senior Jayson Shaugabay is breaking records but prefers to let his play do the talking.

Dan Gunderson | MPR News

Son Shaugabay said it’s a proud heritage, but in Warroad, being Native does not define who you are.

“First of all he’s Jayson, and he’s a skilled hockey player and he happens to have Native American blood in him. It’s not ‘the next great Native American’, it’s just Jayson, a good hockey player and he’s Native too,” said Son. “Hockey and Natives have all the time been in Warroad for so long as it has been, and there is not many communities that may say that in our state.”

For the subsequent few weeks, Jayson Shaugabay is concentrated on bringing a state hockey championship to Warroad. When the highschool season ends he’ll be a part of the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL.

He’s dedicated to play school hockey on the University of Minnesota Duluth and he stated it could be a dream to characterize the U.S. within the Winter Olympics, however his final purpose is a profitable profession within the National Hockey League.

www.mprnews.org