ARLINGTON, Va. (GopherSports.com) - Gopher Hockey All-American Nate Schmidt has re-signed with the Washington Capitals, general manager Brian MacLellan announced on Wednesday. Schmidt signed a two-year, one-way contract that will see the St. Cloud native earn $750,000 in 2015-16 and $875,000 in 2016-17.
"I'm just so excited to be back. It's an awesome organization to be a part of," Schmidt said during a media teleconference on Wednesday. "This is where my heart is...I couldn't be more excited."
Schmidt, 23, registered four points (one goal, three assists) in a career-high 39 games with the Capitals last season. The St. Cloud, Minn., native made his NHL debut in 2013-14 and earned six points (two goals, four assists) in 29 games. Schmidt registered his first NHL point with an assist at Calgary on Oct. 26, 2013, and scored his first NHL goal on Dec. 7, 2013, against Nashville. In 68 career NHL games, Schmidt has registered 10 points (three goals, seven assists) and 16 penalty minutes.
Schmidt appeared in 19 games with Hershey (AHL) during the 2014-15 season, recording nine points (three goals, six assists). The 6'0", 193-pound defenseman registered an AHL career-high three points (two goals, one assist) in his AHL season debut on Jan. 10 against Norfolk. Schmidt has recorded 26 points (six goals, 20 assists) in 65 career games with the Bears.
A three-year letter winner with the Gophers, Schmidt tallied 74 points in 96 career games and closed out his career as a Second Team All-American and a First Team All-WCHA honoree in 2012-13 (Schmidt was a two-time All-WCHA defenseman). In his final two seasons with the Maroon & Gold, Schmidt helped the Gophers capture two MacNaughton Cups as WCHA regular-season champions and two-straight NCAA tournament berths including a trip to the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four in Tampa.
JONES COMES CLOSE AT STATE
Incoming freshman Peter Jones (Owatonna, Minn.) finished second at the Minnesota Class 3A State Tournament this week. He carded a 71 on the first day and a 73 on the second to finish one stroke behind the medalist.
GOPHER TIES AT U.S. OPEN SECTIONAL QUALIFYING
A number of current and former Gophers made it to the sectional qualifying stage for the U.S. Open. Donald Constable fared the best, and is the second alternate out of the Cle Elum, Wash., sectional held at Tumble Creek Club. He shot a 66 in the first round and finished at 1 over, three shots behind the medalist. Robert Bell finished three strokes behind Constable.
Clayton Rask finished 7 under while current Gopher Grady Meyer finished with an even-par score of 144 at the Ball Ground, Ga., sectional at Hawks Ridge Golf Club. Jon Trasamar played in the Dallas sectional at Northwood Club, and David Haley played at the Columbus, Ohio, sectional at Brookside Golf & Country Club.
GOPHER GOLF CAMPS
There is still time to sign up for summer camp, with instruction from John Carlson and Michele Redman. The camp is open to boys and girls ages 10-18. Click here
for more information and the registration link.
Ben Clymer in Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals.
With Tampa defeating Chicago 3-2 on Monday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals, we caught up with a former member of the Lightning who knows a thing or two about winning titles in Tampa.
Gopher Hockey alum Ben Clymer.
A native of Bloomington, Minn., Clymer is one of just eight Gophers to have their name etched on the Stanley Cup - having won the 2004 Stanley Cup as a member of the Lightning in a seven-game series against the Calgary Flames.
GopherSports.com: It seems pretty obvious given your history, but who do you like in the Stanley Cup Finals?
Ben Clymer: I've been asked that like fifty times. Chicago is such a talented team, but my heart is always going to say Tampa. The irony of Tampa playing the Rangers in the conference finals was that I had teammates on the Rangers, Martin St. Louis and Dan Boyle, who I played with in Tampa. So I didn't know how to feel. The people who I went through this with are playing for the other team, but now it's a much easier decision that's for sure.
GS: What do you remember from playing Stanley Cup Finals games in Tampa? What do you recall from that?
BC: The day of Game Seven is a day that I will never forget, and this is kind of how the day went. Now normally you would have your pre-game skate and there's a lot of activity and meetings. This pregame skate and meeting it was like, I mean it was quite, not church quiet, but for a hockey team and environment it was really quiet. You go back to the hotel, you'd have your meal, and then you'd go and take a nap and get ready for the game. Well, I knew that I wasn't going to sleep, so I brought an iPod back then it when was like the latest technology. I put my earbuds in, I was going to listen to some music and drift off to sleep and take all the pressure away. Well, I mean obviously that wasn't going to happen so about after a half hour I took them out, looked up at my roommate he was up and I was like "Do you just want to go down stairs?" So we went downstairs, Marty St. Louis and Freddy Modin were down there in our team area and within an hour there were fourteen guys in the room because no one could sleep. So that actually felt great just to be able to take and share some of that stress you were feeling for that Game Seven coming up. Then we went back up to the room, got dressed, and we were a block from the rink at the hotel we were staying at and I remember the suit and the shirt I was wearing. I was wearing a blue shirt and walking that block in June in Tampa, sweated through the whole shirt and just disgusting. And I remember looking at Nolan Pratt and just us saying "we've come too far to lose at this point, like we are winning this game". And I think that sense of just determination was probably across the board for our team and I think why we were able to come back from being down three games to two to win at home. But that walk and sitting in that disgusting blue shirt -- walking a couple hundred feet, it will be something I never forget.
GS: For guys that are doing this for the first time, think back to maybe the Game One experience. How would you describe that experience of the moment when you kind of realize you're in the Stanley Cup Finals and you're playing for the cup?
BC: Yeah, the first couple years I was in the league, we were so far out of everything...winning the Stanley Cup wasn't even on my radar. It didn't seem possible although I was playing in the NHL. Then we make the playoffs, and the first year we made the playoffs we beat Washington, lost in New Jersey, and we didn't play overly well in the second round, then they won the Stanley Cup and it was like...that could have been us. They weren't that much better than us. Then taking those steps that next year, beating Philly in the conference finals, was more of the moment of realization that we were here, and this is our chance, it may never come again. I mean, Brenden Morrow, who's playing for Tampa right now, won the Stanley Cup as a rookie fifteen years ago and hasn't been back to the Stanley Cup finals since. You get one kick at the can, two, three if you're super lucky. You better cash in.
GS: So what did you do when you had your chance with the cup, one-on-one?
BC: I was lucky...I had it two days. This is a long story.
So, after you win the Cup there's some stuff that goes on after, and one of the things, the guys come in from the Hall of Fame and they tell you about what's going to happen. Then they give you this book about the problems you're going to face and you don't think you're going to face any of them- guarantee you read it after and you'll face them all. So I read that book and one of the things was if you fall off schedule, say no, just say no to somebody and walk on. Rather disappoint one than slowly disappoint everyone if you get off kilter.
So, I was going to get the cup at like seven o'clock at night, it was going to come in, I was going to bring it to a fire station because my trainer was also a part-time fireman and share that with him because it was important . Kevin's been there as my trainer since I was twelve-years old, I owe him so much. And... it showed up late. It showed up at like nine o'clock and I had dinner reservations at Chino Latino with family and friends in Uptown, and wow, man this is a tester. Man, this guy who's helped me since I was twelve-years old, I'm going to say no to him? I stuck to the plan, and I said no. I said, "You know what Kevin, I'm really sorry."
So I went to Chino Latino, you walk down this hallway, and there was this 16-18 year old hostess looking at me like I'm holding a fire hydrant, like no clue what's going on. And I'm like, "Clymer table for 10?" And I didn't want them to know, I just wanted to have it be random, and she's like, "Oh it's this one back in the corner" and I'm like "I kind of want that one in the middle," and the manager's like, "Just take it, just go." She's looking at me like, "Who is this guy? What is he doing?" So before I know it, it's crazy, there's chaos, and fun. But then Kevin calls me and goes, "Hey, so I talked to some of the guys at the fire station. What if we bring the fire trucks to you?" I'm like "That would be awesome!" So before I know it, there's an open area there, there's lights, sirens, and Hennepin and Lake is shut down with fire trucks and before I know it I'm on top of the fire truck with the Stanley Cup which was such a cool experience and it actually happened because I said no, which was good. So, that was a fun thing still to be able to share with him but it was a much better way to do it that way. Although, I'd never think I could shut down the intersection.
The next day, I tried to go places I went on a daily basis. You know, I went to Caribou Coffee all the time in Uptown. Me and Mike Bolt, one of the handlers that I had, sat down and had a coffee, explained to me all the history and the misspellings and why and all that was neat. I went to restaurants that I ate at on a daily basis to say thank you. I took it to the Bloomington Ice Gardens to share it with kids in the Bloomington Hockey community, I took it to Westwood Sports who sponsored so many Bloomington teams when I was growing up to say thank you. Then one of the cooler things that I did from a, just reaching a lot of people, I had a party at Olympic Hills for friends, family, teammates throughout mites on up and their parents. My mites coach was there! I hadn't seen my mites coach in twenty years! To be able to share it with all those people at once was maybe the best move I did because it was a chance to say thank you to people who had huge influences on me. That was really fun. Then I brought it on campus here for a little bit and then I had another party that night and by then I was ready for some sleep.
GS: How do you watch these games now? As you mentioned, you still know guys on the team. What's the experience like to watch them play? I mean it's got to be nerve wracking for you even though you're not on the ice.
BC: I watch those games and I watch them with the feel of jealousy. In terms of I know the fun, I know the intensity that they're playing the game with. I love the purity and the finality of the Stanley Cup Finals versus watching a game in January. I think it is awesome. You know, how you line up at a faceoff and you're playing against maybe the player right next to you. It's you versus me essentially for these next 45 seconds and we're going get off, do it again, we're going to do that 20 times in a game, and then seven games. I love that it's just two teams at that point. You don't get that in life. That's part of the reason I play golf. I love that it gives me some of that competition again. I look and I'm envious of the experience those players are having. That being said, I wouldn't wish to be on the losing end of that. I can't imagine how that would feel, to go all that way and come up short.
That's how I watch the games. I'm envious of the fun that they are having and enjoying the competition.
*Glen Perkins has converted all 21 of his save attempts.
*The MLB Draft runs June 8-10.
*Alec Crawford made his season debut June 3 for the Colorado Rockies' Class A Asheville Tourists. He pitched a scoreless inning that day, and struck out the only batter he faced the next day.
Seth Rosin made two appearances for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia Phillies' Triple-A affiliate) since the last update. He went 1 1/3 with one hit June 4, and one inning with a run, a hit and two strikeouts June 7.
*See the full list
of Gophers' NWL teams here to check for complete stats and updates.
*Dan Motl (Willmar Stingers) is batting .359 to lead his team and all Gophers in the Northwoods League (minimum of 2.7 plate appearances per team game). He hit 3-for-4 with two runs and a walk June 3, and 2-for-3 with three runs, an RBI, two walks and a double June 5.
*Eddie Estrada, also playing for Willmar, debuted Sunday following the conclusion of his high school season. He batted 3-for-4 with a double as the designated hitter.
*Lance Thonvold struck out two and allowed one hit in two innings in his first appearance for the La Crosse Loggers.
*Matt Fiedler (Rochester Honkers) struck out five in two innings on June 4.
*Jordan Jess has eight strikeouts in 4 1/3 shutout innings this season.
*Toby Hanson (St. Cloud Rox) went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a walk June 4.
*Tyler Hanson (Willmar) notched a victory on June 5 with 5 2/3 innings pitched, four hits, one run, one walk and four strikeouts. He is hitting .296.
*Alex Boxwell is hitting .318 with 12 runs and eight RBIs for the Waterloo Bucks.
Midwest Collegiate League
*Micah Coffey has been leading off and playing shortstop for the Joliet Admirals. He is batting .565 in five games with a .696 slugging percentage.
It's time for the first 2015 edition of Gopher baseball's weekly summer roundup. Throughout the rest of the summer, we'll be bringing you the latest news and notes about current and former Gophers.
*First-year MLB manager Paul Molitor's Minnesota Twins are on a roll. The ballclub won 20 games in May, its winningest month since June 1991.
*Glen Perkins has played a role in that success. The closer leads Major League Baseball in saves, converting all 19 of his opportunities. Perkins has a 1.88 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 24 innings.
*Seth Rosin has a 2.22 ERA in 20 appearances for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia Phillies Triple-A). The right-hander has notched two saves. He made two appearances last week.
*Another Gopher in the Phillies' system, Tom Windle, has made nine starts for the Reading Fightin Phils (Double-A). He has a 4.53 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 45 2/3 innings. Windle went 5 1/3 innings, struck out six and allowed two runs in his most recent start.
*Nate Hanson is back with the Rochester Red Wings (Triple-A) in the Twins' organization, but is currently on the seven-day disabled list. He has played in 13 games this spring.
*D.J. Snelten is with the San Francisco Giants' Class A Augusta GreenJackets. He has a 4.84 ERA in eight starts. Snelten has 31 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings.
*Alec Crawford was briefly recalled to the Rockies' triple-A club, but was back with the Rookie Grand Junction Rockies before getting a chance to pitch.
*See the full list of Gophers' NWL teams here
to check for complete stats and updates.
*Alex Boxwell (.353) and Matt Stemper (.304) are the Waterloo Bucks' leading hitters through six games. Boxwell has seven runs and five RBIs and Stemper has five runs and two doubles.
*Tyler Hanson (Willmar Stingers) and Toby Anderson (Duluth Huskies) each pitched a one-hit, five-inning start.
*Austin Athmann had a 4-for-6, three-RBI game at the plate for the St. Cloud Rox on May 28.
*Jordan Jess struck out the side in an inning of relief May 28.
*Eddie Estrada was named Minnesota's Gatorade Player of the Year. The Litchfield, Minn., native was batting .565 with 1.097 slugging at the time of his selection. He had seven home runs, 36 RBIs, 35 runs and 11 stolen bases through 20 games.
*Estrada, Jake Stevenson (Waconia) and Ben Humbert (International Falls) are all finalists for the Minnesota Mr. Baseball Award.
*Estrada (South), Humbert (North), Cole McDevitt (Eastview, Metro East), Jordan Kozicky (Minneapolis Southwest, Metro West), Stevenson (Metro West) and Ben Mezzenga (Totino-Grace, Metro West) have all been selected to participate in the Play Ball! Minnesota All-Star Series.
*Stevenson helped his team to two playoff wins in one day with 11 innings pitched. He added a grand slam at the plate a few days later.
*Kozicky was named his school's male athlete of the year.
*Estrada, Kozicky and McDevitt are currently still in section playoffs.
*Riley Smith (Broken Arrow, Okla./Bishop Kelley HS) was named to the Northeast Oklahoma All-Metro Coaches Association Team.
*Nick Lackney (Whitefish Bay) and Terrin Vavra (Menomonie) are still in action in Wisconsin.
*Mike Kvasnicka is now playing for the St. Paul Saints. The Pioneer Press wrote a feature on him
a few weeks ago.
Gopher Golf Fans!
I hope everyone enjoyed following our young team's success this spring on gophersports.com, Twitter, Facebook and "Carlson's Corner"! From Sept. 1 to the Big Ten Championship, our young team's growth was as much as any team that has worn the Maroon and Gold in recent years. Starting three freshmen, one sophomore and one junior at the Big Ten Championship is a testament to the work ethic of our underclassmen. I am proud of our third-place finish at Victoria National in the Big Ten Championships as it makes three top-three finishes in the last three years (second in 2013, first in 2014 and third in 2015).
In recapping a year that ended with our team ranked 88th in the Golfweek rankings and 93rd in the Golfstat rankings, our overall record versus opponents in our 11 tournaments was 53-88-1. In order to advance to the NCAA Regional as a team this year, our win/loss percentage would've needed to be at least .500 with an average ranking of 66th in both polls. Despite beating multiple NCAA Regional-bound teams in our last few events, the total body of work over the entire season is the biggest determining factor on which teams advance into postseason play.
Having said this, I will be traveling next week with our All-American sophomore, Jose Mendez, to the NCAA Regional in Bremerton, Wash., at Gold Mountain Golf Club (Olympic Course). Coming off his fifth-place finish at the Big Ten Championship and First Team All-Big Ten honors, Jose goes in as the No. 2 ranked Individual and the ninth-ranked overall player in the field. In order to advance to the NCAA Finals held at Concession Golf Club, Jose will need to be the top 54-hole score for any player in the field NOT on one of the five advancing teams. As many of you remember last year's NCAA Regional, Jose finished two shots out of a qualifying spot after our team failed to advance after a ninth-place finish.
I really want to focus on the success stories of our youth this year. But before that, I want to shed light on our lone departing senior captain, Tyler Lowenstein. Tyler played in four events this year and 70-plus rounds in his career. After a decorated high school career at Wayzata High School, he assumed a leadership role on our team following his junior year. We will miss Tyler, but his dedication to the youth this year will not be forgotten as we all were able to witness eight freshmen and sophomores this year really grow within our program.
2002 National Championship Team Teammate of the Year Grady Meyer
Just a few examples of our spring success versus the fall are seen in the stroke average differentials for Jon DuToit (-1.0 shots/round), Runar Arnorsson (-1.54 shots/round), Riley Johnson (-1.55 shots/round), Charlie Duensing (-3.02 shots/round) and William Leaf (-0.61 shots/round). A big thanks to our strength and conditioning team led by Shaun Brown, my assistant coach, Justin Smith, and our guys for taking their work ethics to a new level in the offseason. I also have to give credit to the staff at 2nd Swing Golf, Nike Golf and Titleist for creating the best fitting environment of any team in the country. We work on repetition, not crossing lines in full swing, multiple short putting drills, clubfitting with our "Fitting Camp" and utilize TrackMan to gauge wedge yardages, which takes a concerted effort on the part of our team members to practice when others are looking for a long break.
At our annual senior and team banquet held last Saturday at the "M" Club Room at TCF Bank Stadium, we handed out three team awards. Winning these awards this year were: Riley Johnson (Louis Lick Hardest Worker), Grady Meyer (2002 National Championship Team Teammate of the Year) and Jose Mendez (Tom Lehman Low Stroke Average). Dan O'Brien, senior associate AD at Minnesota, gave a wonderful speech on leadership and we ended the night honoring our senior captain, Tyler Lowenstein. The night reflected on our accomplishments this year that included a third-place finish at the Big Ten Championship, fourth place at the Gopher Invitational, fifth place at the Hawkeye Invitational and multiple amazing experiences competing against one of the finest schedules in the country at places like Stanford, Arizona State, Puerto Rico, Dallas, San Francisco, New Mexico and Hammock Beach Resort.
Throughout the year, our program runs a variety of events to get the entire state and fan base involved in Gopher Golf. I hope all of you can find time to participate in any or all of the events listed below. If you have any questions about the events, feel free to email me at email@example.com and I will get back to you.
Important dates to remember:
May 14-16 NCAA Regional, Bremerton, WA
May 28-June 2 NCAA Finals, Bradenton, FL
August 24 Gopher Invitational Media/Sponsor Day, Windsong Farm GC
September 13-14 Gopher Invitational, Windsong Farm GC (website launching 6/1/15)
September 28 Gopher Women's Hockey/Men's Golf Annual Golf Outing, North Oaks GC
October 15-17 Gopher Golf Alumni/Guest Weekend, multiple venues
Fairways, Fairways, Fairways!
Ways to follow Gopher men's golf:
MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) - Seven Gopher Hockey alums are set to compete in the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs, starting Wednesday night with eight quarterfinal, best-of-five series.
Hartford Wolf Pack
San Antonio Rampage
Link: USA Hockey
MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) - Former Gopher Hockey All-American and current Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards has been named the head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team ahead of the upcoming 2015 IIHF Men's World Championships next month, May 1-17, in Ostrava and Prague, Czech Republic.
The Crystal, Minn., native was a four-year letter winner (1986-89) at the University of Minnesota and remains the school's all-time top scoring defenseman with 158 points (also leads all Minnesota defensemen with 128 assists) in 167 career games. Richards was a Second Team All-American as a senior in 1989 and led the Gophers to Frozen Four berths in each of his four seasons with the Maroon & Gold. Minnesota also won back-to-back WCHA regular-season titles in his final two campaigns.
Richards, who is representing the United States in international competition for the third time, will be making his debut as head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team. Previously, he served as an assistant coach for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team in Sochi, Russia, and also the 2010 U.S. Men's National Team during the IIHF World Championship in Germany.
Currently, Richards serves as head coach of the National Hockey League's Columbus Blue Jackets. His team was plagued by injuries for much of the 2014-15 season, however, finished the regular season with wins in 16 of its last 17 games. Prior to being named head coach on May 14, 2012, Richards was the interim head coach for 41 games during the 2011-12 season after holding the position of assistant coach for the first half of that year. He began his NHL head-coaching career in 2009-10 with the Minnesota Wild where he spent two seasons. Prior to joining the Wild, he was an assistant coach for the San Jose Sharks in 2008-09 and helped lead the club to the NHL's best regular-season record.
Richards coached in the American Hockey League from 2002-06, including as an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Admirals during the team's 2004 Calder Cup championship. He returned to the Calder Cup Final in 2008 as head coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
As a player, Richards enjoyed a 13-season professional career, including eight games in the NHL with the Hartford Whalers.
-Pride On Ice-
Link: 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs Central
MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) - Eight Gopher Hockey alums have helped their
teams earn NHL playoff berths and the right to battle for this year's Stanley
Cup starting Wednesday, April 15.
Paul Martin - Reached the playoffs in each of his 11 NHL
seasons dating back to 2004 (2005 campaign was lost to the lockout)... six playoff
appearances with New Jersey and now five with Pittsburgh...38 career playoff
points (five goals, 33 assists) in 80 games...his 33 career playoff assists rank
second among former Gophers (Neal Broten: 63) while Martin ranks fourth
all-time among Gopher alums with 38 career playoff points (Broten: 98, Paul
Holmgren: 51, Mike Antonovich: 42).
Thomas Vanek - 53 career NHL playoff games...has made six career
playoff appearances with three different teams...30 points (20 goals, 10 assists)...Vanek's
20 playoff goals are third most all-time among Gopher Hockey alums (Broten: 35,
Mike Antonovich: 22) while his 30 points are fifth all-time among Gopher alums.
Jordan Schroeder - NHL playoff debut.
Jordan Leopold - Minnesota is the sixth team that Leopold has
helped reach the playoffs...ninth overall playoff appearance with 17 assists in
Erik Haula - Tallied seven points (four goals, three assists)
in 13 playoff games last year for the Wild.
Blake Wheeler - First playoff appearance with Winnipeg and his third overall (helped
Boston reach the playoffs in 2009 and 2010 - his first two NHL seasons)...has six
points (one goal, five assists) in 21 career playoff games.
New York Islanders
Nick Leddy - Fifith-straight playoff appearance and first
with the Islanders (four with Chicago including a Stanley Cup championship in
2013)...one of nine Gophers on the Stanley Cup (Mike Polich, Frank Pietrangelo,
Bob Johnson, Tom Chorske, Neal Broten, Chris McAlpine, Ben Clymer, Alex
Goligoski, Nick Leddy)...10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 54 career
Kyle Okposo - Second playoff appearance...tallied four points
(three goals, one assist) in six games for the Islanders during the 2013
-Pride On Ice-