PITTSBURGH, PA -- Kenny Agostino and Johnny Gaudreau's history dates back 14 years.
Agostino hails from Flanders, NJ while Gaudreau calls Carneys Point, NJ home. A two-hour car ride separates the two towns and minor hockey teams are regularly pitted against one another, meaning the two boys squared off against each other when they were just six and seven years old.
"We go way back," Agostino chuckled. "We grew up playing against each. Every year, we'd play each other multiple times and I have a lot of memories of his team beating mine. Every now and then, we'd get a win.
"He's always been a very good player."
After years of playing against each other, the pair took different paths as they progressed through their minor hockey careers.
Gaudreau spent one season in the Midwest Elite Hockey League with Team Comcast, posting 58 points (29 goals, 29 assists) in 48 games in the 2009-10 campaign, before heading off to the USHL. In his one year in Dubuque, he led the Fighting Saints in scoring with 72 points (36 goals, 36 assists) in 60 regular season games and was key in the club capturing the Clarkson Cup, leading all Dubuque skaters with 11 points in the postseason.
After his dominant debut season in the USHL, Gaudreau left to begin his collegiate career at Boston College and has been an offensive juggernaut for the Eagles ever since.
Agostino played for Delbarton School in high school and is the school's all-time leading scorer with 261 points. In his senior year, he tallied 50 goals and 83 points in just 27 games and was named the Star-Ledger's 2010 Player of the Year for the third consecutive season. At one point in his tenure at Delbarton, the team won 42 consecutive games - a state record.
He also played for the New Jersey Colonials in the Atlantic Youth Hockey League, a Tier I travel league comprised of teams from the Atlantic, Southeast, New York and New England districts, in 2008-09 and left quite the impression on coaches, players and scouts. In just 29 games, he rattled off 30 goals and 73 points, averaging 2.52 points-per-game.
The two reconnected two years ago when they were both invited to USA Hockey's 2011 National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, NY. Neither made the team that year - both were among the final cuts for the Americans - but their time together in camp served as a bonding experience for the pair of wingers.
Now, the two are part of the same organization after the Flames acquired Agostino in the trade that sent Jarome Iginla to Pittsburgh.
"I'm extremely happy he's on our side now," Gaudreau told CalgaryFlames.com. "Growing up and playing against him, it was always like, 'Oh, I gotta play him again.' The guy circled on sheet has always been Kenny. It's awesome that he's part of the Flames organization now."
Agostino echoed Gaudreau's sentiments and is looking forward to the possibility of playing alongside the winger in the future.
"He's such a gifted, skilled guy and to have the chance to play with him one day is very cool. For years, I've had to play against him; it would be great to play with him instead."
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