2002 National Championship Team Teammate of the Year Grady Meyer
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-
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 71 games.
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 playoff games.
Kyle Okposo - Second playoff appearance...tallied four points (three goals, one assist) in six games for the Islanders during the 2013 playoffs.
-Pride On Ice-
Teams ready to go for today's scrimmage pic.twitter.com/ECRqGbWuoX-- Minnesota Volleyball (@GopherVBall) April 4, 2015
One more practice before heading out for our first spring scrimmage. pic.twitter.com/ncmiIN4Nxc-- Minnesota Volleyball (@GopherVBall) April 3, 2015
MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) - Gopher Hockey alum Mark Alt is set to make his NHL debut this afternoon after being called up by the Phildelphia Flyers, making the defenseman the 17th Gopher Hockey alum to play in the NHL this season.
Alt will wear No. 39 as the Flyers host the San Jose Sharks at the Wells Fargo Center.
A three-year letter winner for the Gophers (2011-13), Alt tallied 39 points (seven goals, 32 assists) in 117 career games.
-Pride On Ice-
Good afternooon Gopher Fans! After a few days of reflection of the past season I thought it would be good to give my thoughts on year two. First off, I thought our crowds were terrific again all season long. Our staff and players truly appreciate the support. The fans and Williams Arena are what make this job special. Our loyal fans deserve a great team and we are doing our best to give that to you! Aside from wins and losses (yes, I do know that's how we are judged) I thought our offense, pace of play, steal percentage, and assists all improved from year one. The defense and rebounding still has to get significantly better. Free throw shooting was a bit of an issue early but got better as the season went on.
Non-Conference - Obviously we started off with a very tough test vs. Louisville in Puerto Rico on national TV. We learned that game that Nate Mason wasn't scared of the bright lights. Unfortunately, Harrell and Rozier were too much for us to handle. Aside from the game, I thought the experience was very valuable for our whole program. We constantly talk about sacrifice and commitment to our guys and there is no greater sacrifice then the men and women in the armed forces.
We went on to split at Madison Square Garden a couple of games later. I was very disappointed with the way we finished the St. John's game. With the game in hand we had too many inexplicable turnovers and fouls that were too hard to overcome. I liked the way we rebounded the next day to beat a very good Georgia team. Our guys then went on to beat Wake Forest handily on the road. Andre Hollins and Carlos Morris were very good that game. Our December was certainly successful overall but I would have liked to have been tested a little bit more to prepare us for Big Ten season. That is my fault and we are looking to add a quality opponent next season during December. The question our staff is asking is if we want to start at home or on the road. We are looking at all options.
Conference - The first five games certainly took a lot out of everyone. To start 0-and-5 was difficult but also to have it done in the fashion it was tested everyone. My biggest regret was not having our guys mentally tough enough to handle that. Throughout the Big Ten slate I was proud of how positive our guys remained regardless of the fact that we were swimming upstream for most of conference play. They did a good job of blocking out the noise. Certainly winning at Michigan State and Iowa were bright spots. We obviously have to do a better job of protecting our home court in the future. We lost a bunch of close ones that could have gone either way. Were we unlucky? I'll never use that excuse.
Big Ten Tournament - I loved our competitive spirit against Rutgers. Obviously Joey King provided a huge lift for us. We battled vs. Ohio State but unfortunately Mo getting in foul trouble was too tough for us to overcome. Russell was spectacular for them again.
Seniors - I thank them for all they gave to our basketball program on and off the court. They will all graduate and do great things. It's never easy to have a new coach in the middle of their college careers. They all embraced me and my staff from day one. Elliott, Mo, DeAndre, and Andre have all expressed their desire to keep playing professionally at some capacity. They will spend the next few months finishing up classes as well as preparing for whatever their future holds. Kendal will be entering the real world and will be successful at whatever he does because of his character and work ethic.
The Future - We are excited about next season and beyond. We will likely have at least eight freshman and sophomores. We will be one of the youngest teams in the Big Ten but that excites me! Joey King will need to provide great leadership for everyone in the program. He has everyone's respect and has worked hard to earn that. If Carlos Morris and Charles Buggs dedicate their offseason to putting on weight they will make a great impact next season. Carlos has to improve his defense and shot selection. Buggs just needs to continue to grow in all facets as a player. Huge offseason for both of them.
Nate Mason has the ability to be one of the better guards in this league when it's all said and done. He has to work hard to not fall into the trap of the sophomore slump. He will be the number-one guy on everyone's scouting report. I'm confident he can handle it.
Bakary Konate has the potential to be special. He has the size and the athleticism. The biggest thing is getting him game experience as much as possible. Gaston continues to improve. The little playing time he did get second semester after coming in behind the 8-ball certainly helped a little bit.
Schedule - We are currently in the process of planning a foreign trip in August. We will be able to get ten days of practice as well some games versus good competition. The timing is perfect for such a young team. Incoming freshmen will be allowed to play on this trip. As I stated earlier we are looking to add another game against a high major opponent in December. We are still not sure if it will start at our place or on the road. We believe our Big Ten/ACC Challenge game will be home but we don't know that for sure yet. We have a bunch of good options on the board. We hope to complete that soon.
Recruiting - We have three scholarships still available and we are currently involved with several prospects for next season. Having three open doesn't mean we have to use them all, obviously. We believe we will have a top-25 recruiting class when it's all said and done. Dorsey, Dupree, Jarvis, and Jonathan all excite me. They will need to be ready to contribute right away! We hit the road again in April to watch prospects on their AAU teams for two weekends in what is called the evaluation period. Closing down the borders in Minnesota is vital! Thanks again to everyone again for their support!