Father-son connections to tourney history include the Restads, Forsgrens

Almost anywhere you go in Minnesota, when you mention Pelican Rapids, there are a couple things that come to folks’ minds:

One: It is the home of the “World’s Largest Pelican.”

Two: “Pelican Rapids? Oh, that’s really a basketball town.”

Pelican Rapids basketball connections that span a generation: Casey Restad and his father Peter. Casey was on the 2003 Pelican team that qualified for the state tourney. Peter played on the 1977 team, which placed second at state.

“I hear it to this day when I’m in different parts of the state. Pelican is known as a basketball town,” said Casey Restad, himself a Pelican Viking basketball player.  

The basketball town reputation grew more this season, as the Lady Vikings girls team wrapped up a regular season with only one loss. And as of this writing, were in a strong position to qualify for the state girls basketball tourney. 

There’s legendary boys coach Rex Haugen; and Coach Brad Strand–both of whom led the Vikings to state titles, as well as numerous strong contenders. As far as players, there’s the Westbys, the Roisums, the Storrustens, the Husebys, the Bruggemans…and more, too numerous to list.  

And, not to exclude the number of strong teams and individual athletes in the girls basketball program over the years. 

The Pelican basketball heritage spans the generations, which was evident at the recent, March 1 reunion of the 2009 state champion Vikings. 

Topping that inter-generational theme is the Forsgren boys. Father Mike and son Cole may well be among the few father-son combinations that share a Minnesota state basketball title.  

Mike was on the roster for the 1984 state champion Vikings, under Coach Haugen.  Son Cole, for the 2009 state champs under Coach Strand. 

Another generational connection: The Restads. 

The Forsgren father-son combination has the rare distinction of both being on the roster for a state championship basketball team. Father Mike on the 1984 state champion squad; Cole, on the 2009 state title team.

Father Peter Restad was on the 1977 Vikings, a team that reached the final, but finished runner-ups at the state tournament.  Son Casey also made it to the state tournament in 2003, where the squad fell in the first round. Not only did father-son Restad both play at the state tourney level, they were both named to the All Conference team.  There may be other generational all stars somewhere around the state, but it would take some in depth research.  

The extended Huseby clan has provided a number of players on Pelican rosters over the years, including two on the 1984 state champion line-up: Tony and Steve Huseby. 

Watching the undefeated exploits of the overpowering 2009 Pelican team, Tony Huseby noted at the time that his nephew Andrew Sorum was one of the players. More kin-connections: 1984 state champ player Tim Rogelstad watched his nephew, Jan-Erik Lindberg in action, on the 2009 state champion team.  

Of course, the oldtimers are probably quick to point out that the 1977 runner-ups and the 1984 state champs had to endure a heavier dose of stress and tension. For example, the three games at the state tourney in 1984 were won by a total of five points–navigating every game. The dominating 2009 team won all three state tournament games by a stunning total of 55 points.  

Pelican’s multi-generational basketball heritage may continue, noted Casey Restad.  Cole Forsgren and Restad both have sons about the same age. Charlie Restad, 16 months, and Warren Forsgren will likely be growing up together–and probably find themselves on the court together. 2009 alumni Andrew Sorum also has a toddler.  Another standout Pelican athlete Adam Johnson is bringing up a few athletes–twin boys­–also similar age bracket.

“We might see something in about 16 years…you never know,” laughed Restad.  

Restad now has a second child, Ellie Lou. Appropriately, Ellie Lou made her first “public appearance” at only six days old. Where? At the March 1 2009 basketball reunion event.  

Basketball is now in her blood; and she may well contribute to Pelican’s continuing reputation as a “basketball town.”


Some Pelican state tourney history

For the record, Pelican boys state tournament history, at least since 1977 and the “multi-class” state basketball tourney format:

• a second place state finish in 1977

• first at state in 1984

• a trip to state in 1993, but didn’t place 

• state qualified in 2003, but didn’t place 

• third place at state in 2006

• first place in 2009 

Another historic note: In 1969, the Pelican Rapids boys won the District 23 title for the first time in the history of the district–under young coach Rex Haugen. According to a Pelican Press account at the time, back when there was only one “Class” statewide, the District was typically won by one of the “Big Three”: Moorhead, Detroit Lakes or Fergus Falls.