Catching up with former San Jose Sharks forward Rob Gaudreau
Thank you for taking the time to do this interview Mr. Gaudreau. First question I got to ask is do you happen to know who the guilty players were that Drew Remenda referred to in his jet skiing story during a broadcast of San Jose Sharks Classic Games on CSN CA in December 2012?
I do not know.
(Editor’s note: This mystery will eventually be solved)
For Sharks fans who may not know, you’re currently the President of Cathedral Development Group, Inc, a real estate management company that you’re one of the founders of. How did you become interest in real estate?
My father started the company 35 years ago and the financial aspect of it interested me. Being able to re-develop something into a better use is challenging. We have amassed roughly $150 million dollar portfolio and counting.
Has the hockey player in you ever felt the need to body check someone during a meeting?
No, but things I learned in hockey and being on a team has helped me in everything I do in business. I can spot someone who has never been in a team atmosphere right away when dealing with something new. Everything that goes on with being on a team can be used in another professional life.
Along with Mike Boback, the two of you combined for 412 points during your four year careers at Providence College. Boback is fourth all-time in Friars scoring with 201 points and you’re third with 211 points. Also, you both led the Friars to two NCAA tournament appearances and four 20-win seasons. What would you attribute to your guys’ chemistry and scoring ability?
We both had unique skill sets that complimented each other and we didn’t duplicate anything. Putting us together brought out our strengths and covered our weaknesses.
Current Shark Brent Burns was moved to forward from defense last season but the opposite happened to you during your senior season (1991-92), a season in which you were a Hobey Baker Finalist and won the Walter Brown Trophy as you led the country in scoring with 55 points on 21 goals and 34 assists. What was it like going from a forward to a defenseman?
To me, it wasn’t that big of a deal as I had played a lot of defense growing up. Every child growing up should have to play both positions because it helps you get a better understanding of the game.
You’re the all-time leader in goals scored at Providence College with 103 and are the only player to ever score 100 or more goals. Your 108 assists are fourth all-time in Friars history. Furthermore, you were named 1988-89 Hockey East Rookie of the Year; earned two All-Hockey East honors; selected to the 1992 Hockey East All-Tournament Team; named the 1992 New England Player of the Year and Top Defenseman; selected to the 1990 USA World Junior Championship team; and were a two-time All-New England selection. Do you ever look back at your collegiate career and say, “Wow” or “Dang”?
My college career was great. It really hit home when I was named one of the Hockey East 50 Greatest Players of all-time a few years back. It goes by quick and it’s always fun to look back a little every now and then.
Originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the ninth round (172 overall) of the 1988 NHL Entry Draft, what went through your mind when the expansion Sharks selected you in the 1991 NHL Dispersal Draft?
I felt it was a better opportunity to get to the NHL faster and it was. The Sharks have always done a great job of giving their young players a legitimate chance, which as a player is all you can ask for.
During your first professional season (1992-93), you registered 14 points (6-8-14) in 19 games with the IHL Kansas City Blades, whom were the Sharks’ top minor league affiliate at the time. What stands out the most to you from your time in Kansas City?
Just learning the pro game. Playing that many games in a short period of time with no breaks was intense.
What did you think of the Cow Palace when you got called up to San Jose?
The Cow Palace was unique with a great atmosphere and passionate fans. That place grew on you. The opponents probably thought it was a dump but to me, it seemed like the Taj Mahal as it was my first NHL rink.
In your rookie season with the Sharks, you registered 43 points (20-23-43) in 59 games. In addition, you registered the first two hat tricks in Sharks history, the first of which was in your second NHL game. How were you able to quickly adjust to the NHL game?
I had great linemates in (Kelly) Kisio and (Johan) Garpenlöv. Also, we struggled so that gave me a chance to play more and learn from my mistakes.
Did you get to keep the pucks from your first NHL hat trick?
Yes. They’re on a plaque with a picture of me holding the three of them.
The 1992-93 Sharks only won 11 games and set league records for most losses in a season (71) and most consecutive losses (17). What would then head coach George Kingston and the coaching staff say to the team to keep them mentally engaged?
They would say we were getting an opportunity and to make the most of it.
For the 1993-94 season, the Sharks moved into San Jose Arena, now known as SAP Center. What was your reaction to the Arena the first time you played there?
Spectacular, loud and a great home ice advantage.
The 1993-94 season is known as The Greatest Turnaround in NHL history as the Sharks, under head coach Kevin Constantine, went from 11 wins to 33 wins (along with 16 ties) for 82 points. In addition, the Sharks made the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time, eliminated the top seeded Detroit Red Wings, and nearly eliminated the Toronto Maple Leafs. What was it like being a part of that team and seeing Playoff Fever hit San Jose after the struggles of the previous seasons?
It was overwhelming. The Sharks fans deserve a winner. They have embraced the team since day one and I bet every player would say the same.
Randy Hahn said on a 2013 broadcast that he believes the 1993-94 Sharks team is still the only NHL team to have a parade after a second round loss. What did the team think when they found out about the parade and how was the parade?
The parade was fun. Coach Constantine thought it was a little funny too.
After two solid seasons with the Sharks, you played the next two seasons (1994-96) with the Ottawa Senators. What was it like going from San Jose to Ottawa both hockey and weather wise?
The weather was freezing but it was great to play professional hockey in Canada. Hockey is 24/7 north of the border.
For the 1996-97 season, you played for Chaux-de-Fonds of the Swiss A League and finished as the team leading scorer with 42 points on 19 goals and 23 assists. What was the biggest difference between the Swiss A League and the NHL?
The three biggest differences were no hitting, open ice and less games. Switzerland in my opinion is the best country in Europe to play hockey in as the country and people are beautiful.
What made you decide to retire from hockey at the age of 27?
Burnout and I had a chance to put to use my Bachelor’s of Art degree in Social Sciences with a great business opportunity. It (playing career) has got to end some time.
When you’re away from the office, what are your interests and hobbies that help you relax?
Playing golf and traveling with my wife Christina.
In 2003, you were inducted into the Providence College Hall of Fame. What was that day like?
That day was Awesome. Providence College has been a part of my life since I was a child as I grew up there.
Do you still keep tabs on the Sharks and the current NHL game?
I do keep up on the Sharks but not a ton of watching. I wish the Sharks would win a Stanley Cup as the city of San Jose deserves it.
For the hockey fans who had the chance to watch you play and for the fans who have learned about you through archival footage on CSN CA and Youtube, what would you like the fans to remember most about you?
I worked hard every night, brought some fun in our second year, and of course, the first hat trick.
**Photos were scanned from the 1994-95 Upper Deck Electric Ice, 1993 Classic Pro Prospects, and 1993-94 Upper Deck trading cards as well as Steve Cameron’s “Feeding Frenzy” 1994 book.**
Posted on February 1, 2014, in Sports and tagged hockey, Hockey East, IHL, kansas city blades, NHL, Providence College, providence friars, rob gaudreau, San Jose, San Jose Sharks, Sharks. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.