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Former NHL scout, now a USHL team executive, talks about what he looks for in a player

The Stampede's new vice president of hockey operations and general manager also talks about growing up in Grand Forks with a college hockey coach as a dad, working with Bob Motzko, Nate Leaman and more on The Rink Live podcast with Jess Myers and Mick Hatten.

Tony Gasparini mug shot.jpg
Tony Gasparini
Courtesy of Sioux Falls Stampede

Tony Gasparini grew up "bleeding green" as the son of University of North Dakota men's hockey coach Gino Gasparini in Grand Forks.

After playing for Grand Forks Central High School, he played goalie for two seasons in the United States Hockey League for the Rochester Mustangs and Omaha Lancers in the early 1990s before playing for the University of Minnesota Duluth from 1994-99.

After college, he was an assistant coach for the Sioux Falls Stampede for Bob Motzko for two seasons (1999-01) before becoming the team's head coach and general manager for two seasons (2001-03).

He left to become an assistant coach for Nate Leaman for two seasons at Union College (2003-05) and has been an amateur scout for the Los Angeles Kings since 2005.

On May 25, Gasparini was named the vice president of hockey operations and the general manager of the Stampede.



1:25 The geography of his job as a scout for the Kings

2:40 The things that a scout looks for in a player when he watches them, watching things besides when they have the puck

5:35 Growing up as the University of North Dakota was winning national titles under his father, Gino, the good and bad parts about it

9:20 The changes in the USHL over the years since the 1990s

11:10 How he ended up playing for the Bulldogs in college for coach Mike Sertich, memories of playing for UMD, a big comeback against the Gophers

14:40 The transition to becoming an assistant coach for Bob Motzko and the Stampede, how he almost had a different career, things that he learned from Motzko


18:15 Becoming a head coach and general manager of the Stampede at age 25

19:40 Seeing Thomas Vanek play for the first time at age 14

21:30 Working for head coach Nate Leaman at Union College

23:25 Helping the Kings win their first two Stanley Cups

25:30 Former Chisago Lakes, SCSU, Minot Stars, Fargo Force center Blake Lizotte becoming an effective player for the Kings despite his size

28:20 Gophers defenseman Brock Faber, an LA Kings draft pick

30:00 The travel involved with his career

31:30 First challenges with the Stampede


More than two decades ago, Bob Motzko hired a goalie just out of college as an assistant coach with a new USHL team. Now the Stampede are one of the most renowned programs in the league, and that former goalie is coming back to run the show.

Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage TheRinkLive.com, a website dedicated to hockey. He began working for Forum Communications in November 2018 and has covered St. Cloud State University hockey since 2010. A graduate of St. Cloud State, he has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist and has been a youth hockey coach since 2014. mhatten@forumcomm.com

For more coverage of St. Cloud and the surrounding communities, check out St. Cloud Live.
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