skip navigation
Allie Guzy in her second season playing varsity hockey.

Guzy family blends basketball with hockey for hectic season



"It started in first grade when my friends signed up to play mites,"

You will have to excuse Grant Guzy if he accidently shouts out during basketball practice words like forecheck and power play.

Guzy is the head coach of the No. 3 ranked Spring Lake Park boys' basketball team, but it wasn't until last year when he started pulling double-duty of being a varsity basketball coach and a hockey dad.

That's because his daughter Allie is in the middle of her second season on the Spring Lake Park varsity girl's hockey team. Allie is a ninth-grade defenseman and unlike most families with basketball ties, she grew up wanting to play hockey.

"It started in first grade when my friends signed up to play mites," Allie said. "I played basketball when I was little but wasn't very good at it. I just liked hockey."

Allie played in 26 games as an eighth grader for the Panthers registering a goal and three assists. This season she has a goal and two assists in 22 games.

While her parents Grant and Lisa try and make as many of Allie's games as possible, Grant gets a free pass for missing some of the games being he is busy the winter season coaching the No. 3 ranked Panthers basketball team.

Grant said he tries to go to as many hockey games as possible, but some nights the schedules don't allow that to happen.

"Hockey starts first, so early in the season I get more involved and go to most the games," Grant said. "Once both seasons start rolling, I try and make as many of her games as possible, but if we play on the same night, usually her mom goes to watch her."

Allie's Panthers are a young team struggling for consistency. Spring Lake Park is currently 10-12-1 overall and stuck in the middle of the North Suburban Conference with a 5-5 record.

Grant's Panthers are a veteran team who is tied for first place with No. 1 ranked Benilde-St. Margaret's at 8-0 in the North Suburban and 16-1 overall. The Panthers clash Friday night with the Red Knights in a battle for top positioning.

Allie said it's difficult with their schedules, but she tries to go to watch her dad coach and see as many basketball games as she can.

"It's really fun seeing them do so well this year," she said. "Some of us were just saying that we have a lot of good freshman and if we all stick around and work hard over the summer we could have the same kind of success when we're all seniors."

When the family is not at the rink or the gym, Allie said her dad doesn't bring the coaches mentality home as far as trying to tell her what to do.

"Dad's pretty calm about stuff," Allie said. "I don't see him flipping out at home like when he's coaching. It's actually mom that is telling me what to do."

"I don't know too much about the game so I let her coaches take care of that," Grant said. "I don't have too much of a hockey background but living in the State of Minnesota you have to put on the skates which I did a few times when I was younger."

Even with a daughter who is playing high school hockey in the State of Hockey, it's still basketball that Grant has his passion for.

"Sometimes on a Saturday night we're in separate rooms," Grant said with a chuckle. "Between Gopher basketball and Gopher hockey, I'm usually downstairs and they are watching upstairs."

Guzy played organized basketball since third grade up to college. He has spent 23 years coaching high school with his first three years at Columbia Heights and the last 20 with Spring Lake Park.

He is looking to guide the Panthers to the State Tournament for the first time since 2009 and for the fourth time the past nine years. Grant said he has a very special team this season led by two All-Conference seniors in Bryce Williams and Sean Scott.

"Our goal is to make it back to State," Grant said. "Scott is the only player who had a taste of that in 2009 and I'm sure he is looking to get back his senior year."

Like the boy's basketball team, the Benilde-St. Margaret's hockey team is ranked No. 1 in girls Class 2AA. Earlier this season the Panthers were defeated by the Red Knights 12-1 and Thursday night they will host Benilde in the Panthers second to last regular season game prior to the section playoffs.

Both Grant and Lisa can relax a bit this spring as they watch Allie compete for the varsity golf team. Allie said she plays golf in the spring and cross country in the fall, but neither compare to her favorite sport. "Hockey is definitely the number one sport," Allie said.

Just don't tell dad this.


Related Stories