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Grand Forks native, Kings scout will get name engraved on Stanley Cup

LA Kings Scout Tony Gasparini and his son Mario pose with the Stanley Cup at his father, and former UND hockey coach, Gino's house Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Kile Brewer/Grand Forks Herald1 / 2
Audrey Olson, 3 months, sits inside the Stanley Cup Tuesday evening at the home of her great uncle Gino Gasparini. Gino's son Tony, a scout for the LA Kings, will have his name engraved on the cup. Photo by Kile Brewer/Grand Forks Herald2 / 2

Tony Gasparini heard the news in July.

The Grand Forks native was in Los Angeles for the Kings’ development camp right after the NHL Draft.

A staff member informed Gasparini that his name will be engraved on the Stanley Cup.

“Speechless,” he said. “Very honored and speechless.”

Gasparini isn’t used to being in the spotlight.

A nine-year veteran scout for the Kings, he’s the one who spends winters putting as many as 60,000 miles on his car, living out of hotels and being apart from his family while searching for players who could help the Kings.

It’s a behind-the-scenes, under-appreciated, grueling job.

It’s also an essential one for successful teams.

One of the players that Gasparini scouted was a defenseman named Alec Martinez. Passed over during his first year of eligibility for the draft, the Kings ended up grabbing him in the third round in 2007.

That same player scored the game-winning goal in double overtime to give the Kings the Stanley Cup this season.

Gasparini was there watching and lifted the Cup in the locker room during the team’s celebration. But the excitement didn’t end there for Gasparini and his family.

The Kings won the Stanley Cup two years ago in 2012, but he wasn’t one of the staff members that got his name on the famed trophy. This time, it will happen when it goes to the engraver’s office this fall.

Gasparini is believed to be the first native North Dakotan to have his name etched on the Stanley Cup.

“It’s the ultimate,” said Gasparini, who played college hockey at Minnesota Duluth. “Not that many scouts get the privilege and honor of having a day with the Cup and getting their name on the Cup — a place that it will be for a very long time.”

Gasparini had his day and evening with the Stanley Cup on Tuesday.

After its public showing at Ralph Engelstad Arena, Gasparini brought it to the Altru Family Medicine Center, where his brother, Andrew, works as a doctor.

After that, he was able to spend the evening with it at the home of his parents, Gino and Tootsie.

“I’ve had the opportunity to see the Cup many times before,” said Gino, the former UND men’s hockey coach. “So, I’ve been fortunate. But when one of your sons brings it back home, it’s extra special. I’m proud.”

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 12th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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