Growing up, Jake Uglem would always take the next step in his hockey career one year ahead of his brothers.
Jake had a year on twins Tony and Nick. First in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, and then in upstate Moorhead, the three would play together for one year before Jake would jump a level. The next two years would be the same, alternating until they reached high school.
That’s when the Uglem brothers believed their time on the ice together would end. Instead, Jake and Tony are getting the rare opportunity to play together for Team USA. The two, who currently play at Iowa State together, are part of the U.S. National University Team at the Winter World University Games in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
“After high school, we really thought we’d never play together again or, maybe, play against each other,” Tony said. “To be able to come back and play together, it’s very special to be able to do that. To have your brother out on the ice with you is fun, and I definitely don’t take that for granted at all.”
Jake and Tony Uglem are just the second set of brothers to play for Team USA in the Winter World University Games. Joe and John Olen played together in the 2015 Games in Grenada, Spain. Joe, a goaltender, is back on the team this year.
This year in Kazakhstan is the ninth time the U.S. has sent a men’s hockey team to the biennial Games, which are in their 28th edition. It is the first time either brother has traveled outside of North America for hockey.
“Family is excited, we’re all excited,” Jake said. “We would have been excited if just one of us went. The fact that both of us are going, it’s going to be quite an experience to be able to do it with him. It’s nice to have someone along for the ride with you.”
After high school, Jake went to play juniors in Canada, while Tony and Nick played juniors for the Minnesota Magicians. Jake then made his way to play at Iowa State. Tony and Nick followed a year later. Concussions prematurely ended Nick’s playing career, but the three are still together.
Jake is the stay-at-home defenseman of the family, known more for limiting goals than scoring them. Tony is the goal scorer. Something happened as the two came together on the ice at Iowa State, though.
Jake started scoring.
“When I came to Iowa State, Jake suddenly started scoring all sorts of goals,” Tony said. “In this last year, he’s started scoring goals. Definitely, there’s some competition.”
To be fair, Tony still is the higher-scoring brother as a forward. In the past two years, Tony has 32 goals and 34 assists in 61 games for the Cyclones, who play in the American Collegiate Hockey Association. But Jake is adding to his totals and makes sure his younger brother knows.
After five goals and six assists in his first year at Iowa State, Jake climbed to eight goals and 13 assists last year with Tony aboard. He has five goals and six assists in 27 games this year.
“That competition’s there,” Jake said. “I know I’ll never really beat him in the scoring race. Maybe on one night I’ll have more points than him and I’ll let him know.”
No matter who is scoring, they’re helping each other and their teams. It is the first time for each playing in the Winter World University Games. Through the first three games, neither brother has a goal, but Jake contributed three assists in a 10-1 win over Great Britain. Tony added one in a losing effort to Slovakia.
The team traveled for three games in Boston in December, playing one game against Holy Cross and two against an all-star team from the Eastern Hockey League. Team USA went 2-1 in those three games. Jake had one goal and Tony scored twice.
“It was a lot of fun in Boston,” Tony said. “We play against those all-star teams and then to do it against Team Canada [in Kazakhstan] right away, that’s going to be a lot of fun. To do it with Jake is going to be awesome.”
The two said they always dreamed about traveling to play hockey, but they never imagined it would come true. An ocean away now, the two brothers are still together.
“We’re there to win a medal,” Tony said. “It’s going to be a business trip. I’m sure just being there, driving around, will be really cool.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
|Date||Opponent||TIme (Local/ET)/Result||Stream||Live Stats|
|Tues., Dec. 27||Holy Cross (Exhibition)||L, 1-10||N/A||N/A|
|Wed., Dec. 28||EHL All-Stars (Exhibition)||W, 2-0||N/A||N/A|
|Thurs., Dec. 29||EHL All-Stars (Exhibition)||W, 10-2||N/A||N/A|
|Mon., Jan. 30||Canada||L, 0-6||LIVEFISU.TV||Live Stats|
|Tues., Jan. 31||Slovakia||L, 1-4||LIVEFISU.TV||Live Stats|
|Thurs., Feb. 2||Great Britain||W, 10-1||N/A||Live Stats|
|Sat., Feb. 4||China
|W, 17-1||N/A||Live Stats|
|Mon., Feb 6||Great Britain
|W, 10-1||N/A||Live Stats|