SAN JOSE -- To Sharks fans, Noah Gregor might just look like another new player in a teal sweater.
But the 21-year-old rookie forward has a much closer connection to the organization than most would realize.
Sharks director of media relations Ben Guerrero revealed on Twitter on Saturday that Noah's father, Colin, once played for San Jose Barracuda coach Roy Sommer.
In today's "hockey is a small world" edition, #SJSharks forward @n_gregs20's father, Colin, played for @sjbarracuda Head Coach Roy Sommer on the Richmond Renegades of the @ECHL in 1993-94. #TheMoreYouKnow— Ben Guerrero (@brguerrero) October 19, 2019
Gregor did, too, at least before his Saturday call-up to the NHL. The 21-year-old has scored three points (goal, two assists) in three AHL games this season.
The Beaumont, Alberta native expects his parents to be in attendance in San Jose on Saturday evening when he is set to make his NHL debut against the Eastern Conference-leading Buffalo Sabres.
"They're probably on a flight right now," Gregor said Saturday morning.
Gregor's family involvement in hockey doesn't stop there. His uncle is TSN 1260 (Edmonton) radio host Jason Gregor, who excitedly posted about Noah's impending NHL debut on Twitter.
Pumped my nephew @n_gregs20 will make his NHL debut tonight for the Sharks. Pete Deboer just announced it. And huge thanks to @KKurzNHL with a very classy gesture. Sent me pics from morning skate. His parents are flying to SJ now so a nice keep sake for them. Thanks Kev. pic.twitter.com/GalliFC7wT— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) October 19, 2019
Gregor's strong start to his AHL career came following a close call at training camp. Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said Saturday morning that Gregor could've made the big club out of camp, but "handled it the right way" when he got reassigned before the start of the season.
"We try to do this on merit," DeBoer said of Gregor and the Sharks' rookies who have made their NHL debuts this season. "He was a guy who was close to staying at the beginning."
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Although he's listed as a center, Gregor is expected to file onto the Sharks' fourth line Saturday night, skating on Dylan Gambrell's wing opposite Melker Karlsson. Gregor hasn't played very much with every player, but he seemed confident he could step into this role, even if some first-game jitters follow.
"I'm sure there will be some nerves before the game starts," Gregor admitted. "But I'm sure once I get that first shift out of the way, I'll be fine."