Future Gophers Named to U.S. U-18 Squad

Today USA Hockey announced the 22 players that have been selected to the U.S. Women's National Under-18 Team that will take part in the International Ice Hockey Federation Women's Under-18 World Championship, March 23-30, 2014, in Budapest, Hungary. The roster includes future Gophers Sydney Baldwin and Nina Rodgers, who will join Minnesota in fall 2014.

Baldwin and Rodgers are two of nine players on the roster who helped the U.S. Women's National Under-18 Team collect the silver medal at the 2013 IIHF Women's Under-18 World Championship in Heinola, Finland.

The team was selected following the U.S. Women's National Under-18 Team Winter Camp, held Dec. 27-31, at Schwan's Super Rink in Blaine, Minn. The IIHF Women's Under-18 World Championship is being played for the seventh time and will include teams from Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Japan, Russia, Sweden, and the United States. Team USA captured gold in each of the first two years of the tournament (2008, 2009) and again in 2011 and the silver medal in 2010, 2012 and 2013.

Read more:

USA Hockey Release: 2014 U.S. Women's National Under-18 Team Unveiled
U.S. Roster: 2014 U.S. Women's National Under-18 Team
GopherSports.com: Women's Hockey Signs Four 

Gophers in the News: MSU Recap, SCSU Preview

Catch up on recent media coverage of Gopher women's hockey, including more recaps of Minnesota's sweep over Minnesota State and the outdoor Hockey City Classic at TCF Bank Stadium and previews of Minnesota's series with St. Cloud State this weekend.

Minnesota Daily: Minnesota handles Mankato with ease in sweep
Jan. 21, 2014

Minnesota Daily: Hockey City Classic sets attendance mark
Jan. 21, 2014

USCHO: Davis in the middle of Minnesota's outdoor shutout of Minnesota State
Jan. 17, 2014

Gold and Gopher: Hockey City Classic: Outdoor hockey debut a success for U
Jan. 19, 2014

USCHO: Photo Gallery: Hockey City Classic
Jan. 18, 2014

Pioneer Press: Gophers women's hockey: Four-goal second sinks MS Mankato
Jan. 19, 2014

USCHO: WCHA referee wears helmet camera at the Hockey City Classic
Jan. 19, 2014

Minnesota Daily: Brandt finds niche as go-to player
Jan. 23, 2014

True Student-Athletes

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Happy New Year Gopher Fans!

I am hoping this blog finds each of you enjoying a happy and healthy start to 2014. Spending time with family and friends always feels like it is not long enough, but it certainly helps to re-energize myself to push even harder to achieve my short- and long-term goals. Our push this time of the year as a coaching staff is dedicated to recruitment, engaging with alumni/donors of Gopher Golf and the collection of current student-athletes grades' from the fall semester. I enjoy the many varying job responsibilities that come along with being the head coach at the only Division I golf university in Minnesota.

Go Gophers! Grady Meyer
Go Gophers!
Freshman Grady Meyer turned in the top fall GPA.
Go Gophers!
Our golf team's progress in the classroom is one of the things I am most proud of since my arrival at Minnesota as the head coach. Each semester our cumulative GPA has risen since the fall of 2010. I can proudly say that the cumulative GPA of our current roster is 3.37 after the fall of 2013, and we were able to obtain one of the highest single-semester GPAs in the history of Gopher Golf this fall with a 3.42. To give perspective, our cumulative GPA has risen 0.62 over the past seven seasons. Congratulations go out to our 10 team members, especially Grady Meyer for achieving the first 4.0 in the past decade, and to our academic advisor, Chelsie Schafer, for her countless hours spent overseeing the success of our golf team.  In recruitment, talent is obviously a big factor in who we are looking to bring in but the University of Minnesota and our coaching staff values having outstanding student-athletes, first and foremost!

Recruiting has taken me to Miami, Tampa/St. Petersburg and Managua, Nicaragua, in the last three weeks. The Junior Orange Bowl in Miami hosts a field of the top-ranked International players from more than 40 countries. The Orange Bowl was a regular stop on the junior golf circuit for our own freshman Jose Mendez of Costa Rica. The Biltmore Golf Course near the University of Miami never disappoints and this will hopefully turn out to be a very important recruiting trip as I made a scholarship offer after the final round. Then, I boarded my first ever flight to Central America to recruit the Central American InterClub Junior Championship at Nejapa Golf Club in Managua, Nicaragua.  Jose played in his final junior event of his career and wound up taking home the championship by two strokes against the top players from six Central American countries--Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama.

Recruiting players to Minnesota is a fascinating science. Coach Tyler Stith and I recruit the entire world but streamline our daily recruiting focus to a mix of six to 10 countries ranging from England to Panama, along with a major focus on Midwestern United States prodigies. Minnesota has so much to sell: the great collection of golf courses we have the privilege to play, indoor facilities that include the Golden Valley Chip and Putt to Braemar Dome, a high level of technology with the recent purchase of a TrackMan launch monitor and finally the superior level of college education at the University of Minnesota. The attraction of playing at a program that has won an NCAA Championship and competes in the Big Ten each week helps to draw the raving reviews of national team coaches from six continents.

Because our season is broken up into two separate seasons (Sept. 4-Nov. 10 and Jan. 21-May 4), I want to use the remainder of this blog to highlight a few of our 10 team members who have helped us in the fall to a national ranking of No. 68 out of 308 Division I teams and will play major roles in the spring season leading into the Big Ten and NCAA Championships.

Go Gophers! Alex Gaugert
Go Gophers!
Alex Gaugert
Go Gophers!
Player Feature: Alex Gaugert (Sr./Lake Geneva, Wis./Lake Geneva HS)

GopherSports: What are your goals for the 2013-14 season?
Alex Gaugert: Make the postseason.

GS: What part of your game is your biggest strength?
AG: Ball striking and putting.

GS: Which course in the Twin Cities area is your favorite and why?
AG: Minikhada CC. The location: close and in the city and by the lake, and the golf course layout is very fair and fun.

GS: Favorite club in your bag?
AG: Putter for sure. Making a putt is the best feeling.

GS: Anything interesting you carry around in your golf bag?
AG: A notebook with notes in it, about my swing and about my golf game in general.

GS: What is your favorite thing about being a Golden Gopher?
AG: It is an honor to be a Gopher, with the amazing athletes and people that have come through here.

Genki Hirayama (Sr./Nagasaki, Japan/Highland Park HS)

GS: What are your goals for the 2013-14 season?
GH: Improve in every part of my game.

GS: What part of your game is your biggest strength?
GH: Driving and chipping.

GS: Which course in the Twin Cities area is your favorite and why?
GH: Interlachen Country Club, because I won a tournament there last summer.

GS: Favorite club in your bag?
GH: Titleist 58 degree wedge.

GS: Anything interesting you carry around in your golf bag?
GH: Alignment stick.

GS: What is your favorite thing about being a Golden Gopher?
GH: I get to play great golf courses and practice at one of the best practice facilities in the nation.

Tyler Lowenstein (Jr./Plymouth, Minn./Wayzata HS)

GS: What are your goals for the 2013-14 season?
TL: My goal for the season is to be named All-Big Ten and to get an individual win.

GS: What part of your game is your biggest strength?
TL: Ball striking is my biggest strength,

GS: Which course in the Twin Cities area is your favorite and why?
TL: Windsong Farm is my favorite course in the area because the greens are always good and the course design is awesome.

GS: Favorite club in your bag?
TL: My driver is my favorite club in my bag

GS: Anything interesting you carry around in your golf bag?
TL: I carry a special ball marker in my bag that I use during tournaments. It is a coin my parents gave me a long time ago.

GS: What is your favorite thing about being a Golden Gopher?
TL: We get to travel around the country representing the state of Minnesota. That's a pretty cool thing.

Stay tuned for my next blog that will serve as a preview to the Big Ten Match Play at Concession GC in February. I want to encourage all of you to get more involved in OUR program at Gopher Golf by reading my blogs, frequenting Gophersports.com, watching my video tournament previews, donating to facility plans or team service fund at goldengopherfund.com, volunteering at the 2014 Gopher Invitational and following our team's live scoring each week at Golfstat.com.

Fairways, Fairways, Fairways!

John Carlson

Gopher Volleyball Set to Host Season Banquet

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The University of Minnesota volleyball and the Point U! Booster Club will hold its annual banquet, Sunday, Feb. 9 at 11 a.m. The event will be held on the U of M campus in TCF Bank Stadium's Indoor Club Room.

Minnesota will announce its letterwinners and team awards at that time as well celebrating a Sweet 16 berth in the 2013 season. Tickets and reservations should be made through the Point U! website, which is located here.

HDM Video: Reilly Family Feature

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In case you missed it, FOX Sports North told the unique story of the Reilly family as part of Hockey Day Minnesota 2014 last Saturday. Not only does the family have three brothers (Mike, Ryan and Connor) on the top-ranked Gopher men's hockey team, but all five Reilly children are slated to have played or to play Division I hockey with older sister, Shannon, at Ohio State and younger sister, Caitlin, signed to play for Penn State starting next season. Furthermore, the family patriarch, also Mike Reilly, is a Gopher Hockey alum. 

Check it out: 

Gold Out the Barn

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Following a two-game road swing, the University of Minnesota women's basketball team returns to Williams Arena Thursday to host Wisconsin in a Big Ten border battle at 8:00 p.m. on BTN, and the Gophers need your help to GOLD OUT the Barn. Fans are encouraged to wear gold to the contest and will receive a gold pom pom upon entry to the game.

Don't have any gold apparel? Check out some of these options at Goldy's Locker Room or pick something up at one of the merchandise booths at the game.

Go Gophers! Gold Out

Warning's Hat Trick Featured in NCAA Top Plays

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Big Ten Second Star of the Week Sam Warning tallied the first natural hat trick in Big Ten Conference history on Saturday in a 4-2 win over Ohio State, and the performance landed him on the NCAA's Top Plays of the Week. 

Check it out. 

Hageman Turning Heads At Senior Bowl

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Minnesota fans have long known about the dominance and confidence of defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman, but now the rest of the football world is taking notice as well.

Hageman is in Mobile, Ala., this week prepping for Saturday's Senior Bowl and by all accounts turned in a strong first practice. The Senior Bowl is at 3 p.m. on Saturday and will air on the NFL Network.

Here are some of the observations of Hageman after the first day of practice.

Don Lucia Radio Show Airs Tonight

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Go Gophers! TopTen
Go Gophers!Don Lucia
Go Gophers!

Listen to tonight's show: 1500ESPN.com Archived Radio Broadcasts

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Don Lucia Radio Show returns to the airwaves of 1500 ESPN for the 2013-14 season, airing live on Mondays during the year from the Beacon Public House inside the Commons Hotel on campus. 

Join Lucia co-host Wally Shaver on Mondays throughout the season with each show airing live from 6:00-6:30 p.m. CT on 1500 ESPN. 

This week, the Don Lucia Radio Show looks back at a historic weekend in Gopher Hockey history -- Minnesota beat Ohio State 1-0 on Friday night as part of the Hockey City Classic at TCF Bank Stadium. The game was Minnesota's first outdoor hockey game in the state in over 80 years while 45,021 fans packed TCF Bank Stadium for the largest hockey crowd in the state's history. The Gophers closed out the weekend with a sweep over the Buckeyes in a 4-2 win on Saturday as part of Hockey Day Minnesota including Sam Warning's natural hat trick -- the first in Big Ten Conference history and Minnesota's first since 2010. 

The Gophers return to action this weekend with the inaugural North Star College Cup at Xcel Energy Center, putting the program's 10-game unbeaten streak (longest active in the nation) on the line. 

For the second-season in a row, Beacon Public House will host a live viewing of the Don Lucia Radio Show with food and drink specials every Monday night for Gopher Hockey fans. Learn more about Beacon Public House here

NHL: Haula Nets First NHL Goal

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A belated congrats to Gophers alum Erik Haula, who scored his first NHL goal on Saturday night in a 3-2 overtime win for the Minnesota Wild over Alex Goligoski and the Dallas Stars. 

The native of Pori, Finland has taken a liking to Hockey Day Minnesota -- the forward has five points (two goals, three assists) in four career appearances in the event. Haula tallied the game-winning goal and two assists in his first appearance as a freshman for the Gophers (a 7-3 Minnesota win over Denver) before picking up an assist in last year's 4-4 overtime tie with North Dakota as a junior in his final collegiate appearance for HDM. 

In 17 games with the Wild this season, Haula has three points and two assists to go along with his first NHL goal -- he's also played 24 games with the organization's AHL affiliate in Iowa with 17 points (nine goals, eight games). 

Haula is one of 15 former Gophers to play in the NHL this season including four program alums (Thomas Vanek, Paul Martin, Blake Wheeler, Phil Kessel) who will compete in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games next month in Sochi, Russia.