While he may be the Terriers’ youngest member, Logan Gatto has been a driving force for Boston University the entire season. Whether he’s roaring through warmups or rushing the ice after a victory, the seven-year-old is a spark for the team and constant reminder that hockey is far more than a sport.
“For us, as parents, watching this relationship grow and flourish has just been so cool and shocking in the best way possible,” Logan’s mom Sara Gatto, said. “And for him, he literally has a whole team of basically big brothers.”
Through Team IMPACT –– an organization that pairs kids facing illness and disabilities with college sports programs –– Logan was matched with BU’s men’s hockey team in October. His official signing day was Feb. 6 at Agganis Arena, sealing the Terriers’ most important contract of the year.
“Once we stepped foot on campus, Logan immediately took to the team and that was great for us because we weren’t sure how he was going to react,” Logan’s dad Nick Gatto, said. “He’s just opened up amazingly. It’s been a whole new person for us to see him do what he does with the team.”
Logan quickly became a game-day regular, always sporting his No. 29 jersey with “Gatto” stitched across the back.
“I’m pretty sure he thinks he owns Agganis Arena,” Sara joked. “We go in and he has his routine. He hangs out with the guys in the room while they warm up, then he goes and shoots pucks (…) Everybody along the way is so excited to see him.”
Drew Commesso shares a number with Logan, forming an inevitable connection between the junior goaltender and his newest fan. Born on May 29, Logan wore No. 29 before becoming a Terrier, but it has taken on a greater meaning this season.
“He loves Drew,” Sara said. “I think part of it is because they have the same number –– Logan plays hockey on a special needs team that’s local to us (…) I think there’s just something special with that player that you share a number with, and then it’s also that Drew’s a great guy.”
At the start of the Team IMPACT process, the Gatto’s weren’t exactly sure what to expect. They had never been a big sports family and were walking into a room full of strangers. However, those unfamiliar faces soon turned into a community of support.
“They welcomed us in with open arms,” Nick said. “It’s quite overwhelming to come into something that you’ve never been part of, not even knowing what’s going to happen, and on day one being treated like you’re family.”
The Gatto’s have fully bought-in to the BU hockey mania and started their own game-day traditions –– including Logan’s iconic “good luck” mohawk that may or may not have secured the Terriers’ trip to Tampa. When BU is on the road, both Gatto boys are dressed in red at school, keeping spirits high from afar.
“This household has never been necessarily a sports household, but ever since this started it’s definitely been a hockey household,” Nick said. “We have sticks in here now, we have pucks, we have hockey bags.”
Logan has been front and center for the Terriers’ biggest victories this season. From the Hockey East championship at TD Garden, to punching a ticket to the Frozen Four in Manchester, the Gatto’s will forever be part of BU hockey history. Sara said sharing these moments with the players has been something they’ll remember forever.
Logan will be front row in Tampa as BU chases the national title.
“It’s hard to even put into words,” she said. “We go into the room and every single one of those guys on the team turns around and says ‘Hey Logan!’ (…) He is so thrilled to hang out with them and he knows that they’re there for him –– they’re his friends and his team. For him to have his own place that is just about him is really special.”
To some extent, hockey is about the goals, it’s about the big hits and the diving saves. But a look beyond the score sheet reveals the relationships that tie a bunch of individuals together and turns them into family. For the Terriers, hockey is about the Logan pregame fist bumps and postgame hugs –– it’s about playing for something greater than themselves.
“As he gets older, as he starts to fully understand some of the concepts of camaraderie and teamwork and things like that –– he’ll definitely be looking to BU as that experience to realize what that is” Nick said. “He sees it all the time in that building. It doesn’t matter who you are, you’re part of this team.”