Serratores come together at Bemidji

Uncle and nephew Tom Serratore will meet as rival coach and player in a weekend series.

Minnesota forward Tom Serratore plays against Minnesota State on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, at Mariucci Arena.

Ichigo Takikawa, Daily File Photo

Minnesota forward Tom Serratore plays against Minnesota State on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, at Mariucci Arena.

Megan Ryan

The Serratore family will descend on Bemidji, Minn., this weekend for the nonconference series between Bemidji State and Gophers men’s hockey.

Moms, sisters, brothers, grandpas and at least two Toms will either attend, coach or play in this weekend’s series.

Gophers senior forward Tom Serratore will play against his uncle, Beavers head coach Tom Serratore, for possibly the last time in his Minnesota career while on the road this Friday and Saturday.

The games will also function as a bit of a family gathering for the Serratores, who are native to Minnesota’s iron range and Colorado — fitting for a family so ingrained in hockey.

Frank Serratore —  brother to the Beavers’ coach and father of the Gophers’ forward — is head coach for the Air Force Academy’s hockey team.

The Gophers’ Tom Serratore also has a twin brother, Tim, who is a senior forward for Augsburg College’s hockey team.

Like his brother Tom, Tim is also named after an uncle — this time on his mother’s side of the family.

“I think my mom and dad, they thought the Tim-and-Tom twin thing would be clever,” the Gophers’ Tom Serratore said.

His father said he remembers the decision a little differently.

“We compromised,” Frank Serratore said. “We didn’t name them both after one side of the family or the other. …  I just kind of liked going with the family names.”

The Gophers’ Tom Serratore said family reunions aren’t too confusing, however. He is brown-haired and brown-eyed while his uncle has blonde hair and blue eyes.

The Beavers’ Tom Serratore said he was also named after an uncle Tom.

“I feel honored to have another Tom Serratore in the family,” he said. “There’s three generations of Tom Serratores right now, so it’s kind of good to keep that name going.”

While there is a strong family connection, the two try to keep the game separate from their personal lives.

“Honestly, it hasn’t been a big deal,” Beavers coach Tom Serratore said. “I don’t even think too much about … Tom coming to town — it’s the Gophers coming to town.”

But that’s not to say there isn’t still some family pride involved.

“It kind of hits home when I see him on the ice for practice, like a pregame skate on there, and I’ll go talk to him,” Beavers coach Tom Serratore said. “Or obviously on the ice … it resonates more when it happens right there.”

The family hockey ties for the Serratores are binding. The Gophers’ Tom Serratore said his whole life has revolved around the sport, and he could skate at about the same time he could walk.

His father, Frank, saw his alma mater Bemidji State play the Gophers last year in the series in which Minnesota clinched a share of the MacNaughton Cup. He dropped the puck in the Saturday game with his son in the face- off and his brother on the bench.

While Frank Serratore will miss the Bemidji gathering this weekend because of his own coaching duties, he said his family will understand.

“This is just all we’ve ever done,” he said. “This is all our family really knows.”