Gloucester Catholic retires Johnny Gaudreau's hockey number

Johnny Gaudreau talks the assembled student body with his Gloucester Catholic High School jersey behind him. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)

The first question from the audience was asked by Johnny Gaudreau's sister Kaitlin, a sophomore at Gloucester Catholic.

"Who's your favorite sibling?" Kaitlin Gaudreau asked of the Gloucester Catholic product who has become known across the continent as "Johnny Hockey."

Back at his old high school for a pep rally and the retirement of his jersey on Monday afternoon, Johnny Gaudreau dealt with the loaded query from his kid sister as deftly as he handles the puck on a three-on-two rush for the Calgary Flames.

"I like you guys a lot," Gaudreau said, referring to Kaitlin and Kristen, his two sisters. "But me and Matt [his brother, a sophomore hockey player at Boston College] are pretty close."

The lighthearted response drew a big laugh from the packed house in Gloucester Catholic's gymnasium, where the student body gathered to honor the school's first NHL player.

Gaudreau, who will skate for the Flames against the Flyers on Tuesday night in the Wells Fargo Center, played three seasons for Gloucester Catholic under his father, Guy, who is still the Rams' coach.

"This means a lot to him," Guy Gaudreau said on Monday as his son signed autographs for a seemingly endless line of fans after the ceremony.

Gaudreau, who will turn 22 in August, is considered to be a candidate for the NHL's rookie of the year. He has 44 points in 61 games, with 15 goals and 29 assists.

Johnny Gaudreau didn't play his senior season for the Rams, opting instead to play for the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the United States Hockey League.

He also played three seasons for Boston College, appearing in the Frozen Four in Philadelphia in April. He won the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey's top player.

He scored a goal in his first shot in an NHL game in April and participated in the NHL's All-Star Game last month.

"It's great to get accolades and play in the All-Star Game . . . but being able to come back to Gloucester Catholic, this is the kind of thing that I like best about playing hockey," Gaudreau said.