Thursday, May 29, 2008

Gopher Football gets EXPENSIVE

Well, the University of Minnesota just announced its point system for assigning seats in the new TCF Bank Stadium and it is going to be a costly system if you want the best seats or even just to keep the seats you already have. If you want to sit between the 20 yardlines (where most season ticket holders sit –duh) you now have to pay extra money towards a scholarship fund – minimum $100 per seat. Ouch. It has created quite a stir in the Gopher community. I think the extra fee and the extortion of getting people to donate to the program is a bit outrageous. The college football experience should be affordable, not overly priced. This isn’t the NFL. The creators of the system say this is what successful Big 10 / college football teams do. I guess time with tell.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Gopher Hockey Assistant Head Coach Job Description

The Gopher mens hockey organization spent about a month looking for a new assistant head coach to fill the shoes of Mike Guentzel. What exactly were the Gophers looking for? I found this job description on the Internet; it is mostly taken from the University of Minnesota’s web site. (my comments are in parenthesis)

Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s Degree; knowledge and expertise in the sport of ice hockey; 5 years of men’s ice hockey collegiate or junior level coaching experience; good organizational, communication, and public relations skills; ability to identify and recruit highly skilled student-athletes; and a commitment to high standards, sportsman like conduct, and fairness. (pretty basic stuff, I was not surprised by any of this – I would have liked to have seen some sort of commitment to win in the Required part, though)

Preferred Qualifications: Experience working with video equipment and computers. (video equipment? DVD or VHS?)

Duties/responsibilities: Primary responsibility for assisting in the development of all phases of a NCAA Division I Men’s ice hockey program. This position reports to the head men’s ice hockey coach. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to: Assist in identification, evaluation, and the recruitment of student-athletes; assist head coach in the planning and on-ice implementation of daily practices; assist in developing game plans; specific coaching responsibilities to be matched with candidate’s areas of expertise; work closely with support staff i.e. athletic medicine, equipment, communication and academics regarding student-athletes; utilize video for teaching and motivational purposes; commitment to and responsibility for adhering to all rules and regulations of the University, WCHA-Men’s League, and NCAA; work compatibly and cooperatively with the staff and personnel of the athletic department; assist in all areas as they relate to the operation of the men’s hockey program; other duties as assigned by head coach. (that’s exhausting to even read)

Application instructions: Annual renewal appointment dates are May to April. Submit a cover letter, current resume, and names and contact information of three references.
Applications will be reviewed beginning May 14, 2008, and will be accepted until the position is filled. (it is filled now and probably was filled before this posting even cam out, Lucia knew he wanted Hastings in the slot)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Gophers Hockey Selects Mike Hastings as Assistant Coach

I am not sure why I didn’t think of Mike Hastings as the clear choice for the new Gophers hockey team assistant coach in the first place. Hastings is from the USHL Omaha Lancers organization and he spent time coaching Tony Lucia, Don Lucia’s son so of course Don and Mike have a relationship. I hate to sound like a conspiracist (is that even a word?), but I am guessing Don Lucia may have had Mike Hastings tabbed for this position for awhile now and was just waiting for Mike Guentzel to quietly exit.

Don’t get me wrong I think Mike Hastings will bring plenty to the table or the ice rather for the Golden Gopher team. He is the winningest coach in USHL history, he has great recruiting contacts, plenty of coaching experience, is a likable guy, former defenseman with great on ice athletics, passionate about hockey, born and raised in Minnesota and loves to win. The only strike I have against him is that he is a St Cloud State Husky.

Welcome back to the state of hockey and Gopher Nation, Mike Hastings! Here is his official quote: “I grew up in the state and saw firsthand the pride of Gopher hockey in Minnesota,” Hastings said. “To be a part of that is a unique opportunity and will make me proud to go to work every day. It’s something that our entire family is excited about.”

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Kent Patterson signs with Gopher Hockey team

The Gophers hockey team picked up goalie Kent Patterson or rather he picked them up with a letter of intent this week. Patterson is a local guy who played for Blake and then ended up in the United States Hockey League the past two seasons. Patterson will fill the voided spot of Jeff Frazee and will suit up behind Gopher starting goalie Alex Kangas. Gopher Gal doesn’t personally know much about Patterson, but around the blogosphere Gopher fans are saying he is a pretty good goalie if he can stay healthy. I am sure it is a dream of Patterson’s to be on the Gopher mens hockey team and I am sure coach Don Lucia will give Kangas a break or two, so welcome to the team Kent Patterson! Please don’t let me down.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

WCHA Happenings; Alaska out, Bemidji in

There seems to be a lot of whispering going around regarding the WCHA these days. First of all, there is talk that Alaska Anchorage will be leaving the WCHA because of high transportation costs. I have heard this rumor the past two years and nothing has yet to come to fruition, but with the ever increasing oil prices, I wouldn’t be surprised if Alaska Anchorage isn’t out come 2010.

With Alaska trying to move out of the WCHA, we have Bemidji State University trying to move in. Bemidji will receive $20 million of state funding that they plan to combine with $60 million raised by a city sales tax, to pay for a new 4,000-seat hockey arena and convention center. The arena will soon be a northern Minnesota gem and will definitely help Bemidji State in their quest to join the WCHA. Minnesota is the state of hockey and fans are loyal to the Minnesota Wild, Minnesota Gophers and ALL Minnesota hockey. In fact, Bemidji has sold nearly all 25 suites for the arena, raising $2.5 million. Wow. Hockey is alive and well in Minnesota…from Roseau to Bemidji to St Paul to Fairbault.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ryan Stoa Gopher Hockey Captain

Look for the number 29 Gopher hockey jersey of Ryan Stoa to wear the Gopher gold captain “C” next season. I guess I'm not that surprised. Stoa has shown leadership on the ice in both his freshman and sophomore seasons. As a freshman Ryan Stoa played in all 41 games and was definitely a leader on the ice and then again as a sophomore Stoa showed incredible talent and increasingly more leadership amongst his teammates.

Ryan Stoa has the ability to rally his troops when they are down using his own talents to get them motivated as well as his own attitude to keep his team in the game. If Ryan Stoa can come back to the Mariucci Arena ice completely healthy and with no knee issues this Golden Gopher Blog expects Stoa to make an impact on an otherwise struggling Gopher hockey team. Don Lucia is bringing in a lot of new talent this season and will look to Ryan Stoa to help lead the new guys in the Gopher hockey ways.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Blake Wheeler heads to the NHL

Blake Wheeler will not be wearing the number 17 Gopher hockey jersey next year. The Minnesota junior will most likely pursue a career in the NHL with the Phoenix Coyotes. Wheeler is the 10th Minnesota player to leave college early for the NHL since the end of the 2005 2006 season. “Blake is an outstanding student, person and hockey player,” Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said. “He was a leader on our team both on and off the ice and we will certainly miss Blake’s contribution to the program.”

Blake Wheeler was my favorite Gopher hockey player. I guess I will have to pick a new boy to cheer for next year. Who should it be? I guess I still kind of have a crush on good old Alex Kangas. I always did have a thing for goalies. They may not skate fast, but they always have good moves. If I don't take Kangas as my new favorite player, who will I pick? I guess I do like that kid from Apple Valley Mike Carmen or number 19 is my lucky number maybe I should pick Evan Kauffman. I don’t know, Kauffman doesn't have as much excitement in his skates as Mr. Wheeler. I think the Phoenix Coyotes have another Gopher on their team, maybe I should just trade in my Minnesota Wild jersey for Phoenix Coyotes jersey - ha ha.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Gopher Hockey Recruiting Process

There is no doubt that Don Lucia will need to hit the ground running with his Gopher hockey recruiting program this year. After a weak season last year and losing several solid senior players, Lucia has a lot of holes to fill on the Gopher hockey roster this season and a few seasons after that. I see Lucia is already building his team of the future by offering Cretin-Derham Hall sophomore defenseman Mark Alt a hockey scholarship. (I bet Tim Brewster was next in line with a football scholarship...Alt is son of former Chiefs player John Alt)

Let’s hope that Lucia can get a few other big guys to sign on the dotted line! Any thoughts Gopher fans? Who should Lucia go after next?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Gopher Mens Hockey Banquet

The Golden Gopher mens hockey team held their annual post season banquet last week and Gopher goalie Alex Kangas received three awards, including MVP. Kangas had a stellar year and was deserving of the award. Kangas became only the third freshman named the team's MVP since the award was first presented in 1955-56. The others were goalie Murray McLachlan in 1967-68 and forward Thomas Vanek in 2002-03. Kangas also received rookie of the year honors – duh! Gopher Gal looks forward to seeing Alex Kangas between the pipes for the maroon and gold next season!

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