Every family has something in common that brings them all together.
For the Guske family, of Port Huron, that something just happens to involve sticks, skates and of course a few hockey pucks.
“We have been hockey fans for I don’t know how long,” said Kenneth Guske who, along with his wife, Margaret, have four sons and a daughter who all went on to play the sport. “My boys are now 62 years old and they started when they were about 5 or 6. It is very exciting and a great pleasure to watch them play and have a great time with all of our relatives.”
The Guske family traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina, two weekends ago to play in the Breakaway Hockey Tournament. Among the five teams at the event, only the Guske’s fielded an entire team made up only of family members.
The family won all four of its games en route to a tournament championship. During the competition the family changed the name on the back of their jerseys to introduce even more of their heritage as the name ‘Gustke’ reflected their German roots. The last name was changed to Guske when the family originally moved to the United States.
“There was actually an article written in the Times Herald on January 8, 1984, about my family,” said Kim Reno, Kenneth’s daughter. “At the time, the four boys were playing in the men’s league all on the same team and the article was about how we only lacked one Guske. Well, now we actually have a full team and we aren’t lacking anything.
“It’s my four brothers, myself and all of our kids.”
Kim and her brothers Jac, Marvin, Jeff and Jon each had children playing on the team at the tournament in Raleigh. In total, there were 16 players including Reno. While everyone in the family might not have played in the games, they participated as cheerleaders. All together, 58 Guske family members traveled to Raleigh for the games, which serve as a family reunion each year.
That included Rachael Guske, who has watched her family come together through hockey. She traveled to the tournament to watch her father Jeff and brother Justin play on the team. “It’s just so fun to see all of the generations playing together,” said Rachael, 24. “Every year we made it to the final game, but this is the first year we actually did well and won. It was fun. Everyone was much more excited than the somber years before.”
Justin meanwhile played a key role in giving the family something to cheer about with his contributions on the ice.
“Honestly, it can be harder playing with family members because we don’t play with each other at all during the year,” said Justin, 29. “We have come together once a year over a weekend to see what we can do. Four years in a row we made it to the championship game until we finally won this year. It takes a lot of teamwork and there is a lot of yelling. It’s what you would expect from families.
“It was a relief to win. It got down to the last six minutes of the finals. It was tied and we were all looking at each other. We knew we had to do it. That’s what I like the most, the camaraderie. Our family is very close when we all get together. We are all over the United States in Florida and Michigan and we don’t get to see each other too much. But spending time with the family is the biggest thing. All of us are competitive enough and when we put it together we can win every year.”
After playing four straight years together, the Guskes might be due for a break. Kim’s sons Kenny and Kyle are both getting married next summer around the time of the hockey tournament.
“It was exciting to win this year,” Reno said. “I was just happy to play with my brothers. It was 58 of us that got together for this. It turned into a big family reunion. Next year, the reunion will have to be the wedding and then we will do hockey again the year after that.”
Port Huron Times Herald