All in the family

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All in the family

After an international pro hockey career, Bryan Lundbohm returns to his roots

A popular post-World War I song asks: "How ya' gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Paree (Paris)?"

Former UND hockey star Bryan Lundbohm can probably answer that question, having concluded a 10-year professional hockey career that took him all over the United States and across the Atlantic to Europe and Scandinavia. He's not down on the farm, but he did recently return to his hometown of Roseau, Minn., where he's now working for Michael Lundbohm Accounting – his father's firm.

He's seen a lot of the world, thanks to hockey. For a time, Bryan and his wife, Misty – a UND alum and Grand Forks native – lived in Switzerland at the confluence of three mountain ranges.

"It was a place right out of a movie," he recalls. "It was the neatest place we'd ever been."

When playing for the Houston Aeros in the American Hockey League (AHL), Lundbohm enjoyed golfing and wearing shorts to practice every day. While playing for teams in Norway, Denmark and Finland, he was able to learn more about his family's Scandinavian roots.

And yet, when it came time to decide on what he'd do with his life after hockey, returning to UND to finish his degree and moving his family back to the area in which he and his wife grew up wasn't a difficult decision.

"UND was always going to be an option," he explained. "A lot of the same teachers were there from when I attended, and they have a very good accounting program.

"Misty and I remembered all the things we did as kids and the freedom we had," Lundbohm continued. "It's neat that our kids are going to have the same experiences that we had."

Lundbohm's father, who played hockey at UND from 1968-1972 and graduated from the University with an accounting degree, is thrilled to have his son back in Roseau and involved in the family business.

"I have a lot of clientele that have been with me a long time," he said. "To have someone I know and they know get involved in the business, having the family home and the grand kids to chase around in the small-town atmosphere, it's really great right now. When grandkids are young, you really have a wonderful time and a chance to be involved with them."

As a sophomore, Bryan Lundbohm played on the last UND men's team to win a Division I national championship, which was at the 2000 Frozen Four in Providence, R.I. The next season, he played on what was dubbed UND's "Line of Fire" with Grand Forks native Jeff Panzer and NHL draftee Ryan Bayda. They made it to the national championship game once again, but lost to Boston College in a 3-2 overtime thriller.

Lundbohm's 32 goals and 37 assists that season caught the attention of pro scouts. He decided not to return for his senior year and signed with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL.

"It was a real tough decision for me," Lundbohm remembered. "When you have a year like I had my junior year, teams were offering me good money, and I had the chance to step into the NHL. You can't really look back at your decisions, and that's kind of the way it went."

Although Lundbohm didn't make it to the NHL, he played for several NHL affiliates and helped the Admirals win the Calder Cup, presented to the AHL champions. He also played for Team USA in the Deutschland Cup, an international tournament held in Germany. He skated once again with Panzer, winning the gold medal one year and the silver the next. He also played for the cup with his brother, David, a former UND teammate, who's still playing professionally in a Swedish hockey league.

Lundbohm never regretted turning pro, but he also never forgot about the camaraderie of playing on a college team.

"When you play with college guys, it's different than pro where a lot of times you don't play with anyone for more than a few months," he said. "It gets to be really special when you're playing and practicing with the same guys. We won a lot of games, which made practices a lot more fun."

In 2010, with his oldest son about to enter kindergarten and facing the prospect of returning to Europe to play hockey, Lundbohm decided that it was time to put long bus trips and being away from his family for months at a time behind him. They returned to UND where he finished his degree in accountancy and graduated last December.

"I put the same work ethic into school that I put in hockey," Lundbohm said. "It was a little bit difficult at first, but I got to know the teachers again and they helped make the transition easier. It was amazing how young some people looked when I walked around campus. Some of the students couldn't believe I was 34 and had three kids."

Being back in Roseau gives Bryan Lundbohm's three sons the same childhood opportunities he had, such as hunting, fishing and having a backyard hockey rink.

It also enabled Michael and Bryan a chance to lace up the skates and play against a team of pee wee league fathers from Wayzata, Minn., that featured ex-Golden Gopher goalie Rob Stauber. Bryan had a goal and his father scored two.

"It was good to see that some old UND alum could still score against a Gopher," Michael chuckled.

If the family tradition continues, it might not be long before another generation of Lundbohms is once again "twinkling the twine" for UND.

Patrick C. Miller

Writer, University Relations

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