EGF’s Panzer Proud To Continue UND Hockey Legacy But Wants To Carve His Own Path

Many have told the sophomore his game resembles his dad's, who helped North Dakota to a pair of national titles

EAST GRAND FORKS, MINN (KVRR) – You might already know East Grand Forks’ Jeff Panzer, a former two-time Hobey Baker finalist, USHL player of the year, and a two-time National Champion at UND. The mark he’s established is second to none.

“As you get older, I think you reflect a little differently, championships and games and things like that are awesome but the friendships that you make,” said Panzer, who won a pair of national titles with UND.

Eight years later, he retired from the game and is now settled in as an assistant manager at NW Tires. But the Panzer name is again on the back of a jersey in the area, the back of his son’s one at East Grand Forks High.

“A lot of people compare our playing styles except for I’m just a little bigger but everything they say is about identical,” said Jaksen Panzer.

Jeff started a legacy in Grand Forks. And in 2023, Jaksen will continue it.

“It was really a no-brainer,” he said. “I’ve been watching him since four years old. I’ve been to games as long as I can remember so it was just a no-brainer to go there.”

He’s already caught the attention of those in Grand Forks. This past year, the sophomore was tied for the 18th most assists and the 23rd most points in all of Minnesota high school hockey. His dad sees a lot of similarities between their games.

“He obviously got the height from someone else and everything else from somewhere else but our work ethic is pretty similar to how we play the game,” Jeff said.

The second generation Panzer wants to forge his own path, though.

I just want to do what I’ve been doing my whole life and if we fall into the same category than I guess that’s how it goes but I’d like to carve my own path,” the rising EGF junior said.

“I’ve told him, I don’t want him to be me,” Jeff said. “I don’t want him to compare himself to anything I’ve ever done. I want him to learn from my mistakes and I want him to be his own person.”

One name. It gives fans a hint of nostalgia, reminding them of two of the more memorable seasons in program history. And not too long down the road, that same name will be patched on a Fighting Hawks uniform again, reminding fans that there could be more of that to come.

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