NHL: 14 Gophers Earn NHL Roster Spots

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Go Gophers! TopTen
Go Gophers!Nick Bjugstad
Go Gophers!

MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) -- Gopher Hockey will list a total of 14 alums on National Hockey League opening rosters as the NHL regular season begins tonight with four games. 

The Maroon & Gold are represented on 10 different NHL teams including the Minnesota Wild, which leads all league teams with four Gophers on roster. 

Gopher Hockey in the NHL
Erik Johnson - Colorado Avalanche
Alex Goligoski - Dallas Stars
Nick Bjugstad - Florida Panthers
Keith Ballard - Minnesota Wild
Stu Bickel - Minnesota Wild
Erik Haula - Minnesota Wild
Thomas Vanek - Minnesota Wild
Nick Leddy - New York Islanders
Kyle Okposo - New York Islanders
Paul Martin - Pittsburgh Penguins
Jordan Leopold - St. Louis Blues
Phil Kessel - Toronto Maple Leafs
Nate Schmidt - Washington Capitals
Blake Wheeler - Winnipeg Jets

Phil Kessel and the Maple Leafs kick off the season tonight at 7 p.m. ET against Montreal.

MAGIC Blog: Gophers Update (10/6/14)

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Gopher Hold Preseason Media Day

Head coach Brad Frost, senior captain Rachael Bona and sophomore assistant captain Lee Stecklein previewed the 2014-15 season at the annual preseason media day for Gopher women's hockey yesterday.

Gopher Volleyball in the Media

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Gophers Host Resume Workshop

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BTN Women's Report Features Frost

Head coach Brad Frost appeared on the Big Ten Network's Women's Report this week. Watch the clip below.

Gophers Aide in Hearts for Hammers

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The Golden Gophers had 14 student athletes assist with Hearts for Hammers on Saturday, Sept. 20 in Minneapolis.

As a part of Gopher Global, Minnesota student-athletes assisted in a renovation on  a home of a local disable veteran. The Gopher student-athletes painted, landscaped and fixed household items from 8:00 am to 1:30 pm Saturday in the Bryn Mar neighborhood.

Helping on Saturday were members from three teams: Softball's Sydney Fabian, Brandi McGregor, Hannah Melick, Paige Palkovich, Kaitlyn Richardson and Tyler Walker were in attendance. Men's track's Logan Connors volunteered as well as women's cross country's Molly Eastman, Anne Ferguson, Tamara Gorman, Marnie Kinnaird, Paige Peschel, Stacey Swatek and Tess Wasowicz.

"I really enjoyed volunteering for Hearts and Hammers," cross country's Anne Ferguson said. "We accomplished so much in a short time by painting one of our community's disabled veterans' homes. I really enjoyed speaking with Roy, the homeowner and learning about him and his story. It was great working together with some members of the softball team as well." 

MAGIC Blog: Gophers Update (9/22/14)

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MAGIC Blog: Gopher Videos in the Community

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Although it was the summer months, Gopher Athletics was still busy volunteering in the local community. Take a look at these videos as the Gophers volunteered with KidStop, at Evergreen Park and kicked off 2014 with the HopeDay Festival

Gopher Invitational a Success

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Our Big Ten title defense is underway! We have had our first team meeting, first compliance meeting, first practice, first practice round, etc...With four newcomers to the program, there are going to be many firsts this year individually and as a team. But only four days into the start of the spring semester, we had to be ready to tee it up against one of the best 14-team fields in collegiate golf at Windsong Farm GC for the Gopher Invitational.

The Gopher Invitational has had a long history, compared to many tournaments at the Division I level, dating back to Dellwood Hills CC, Hazeltine National GC and Spring Hill GC. The expense of hosting a tournament, memberships giving the golf course up for weekend and volunteer participation are all factors that make hosting a golf tournament a unique experience in college athletic departments. That is why it is paramount to have increased support from our fans and tournament sponsors in our state to make this a memorable experience for college golfers, coaches and spectators. We will all look back at the 2014 Gopher Invitational as the year the event was transformed into a "can't miss" college event for all teams in the NCAA, primarily thanks to the involvement of Keith Rachey, the new co-tournament director of the Gopher Invitational.


Volunteer participation tripled from the previous year to 121 volunteers over two days of competition.  Eight top-50 teams competed in the event, as well as five of the top 50 amateur golfers in the world. On Sunday, one featured group of three players, including defending Big Ten Champion Jose Mendez, had 300-500 spectators walking down the fairway with them.  Not only did we have more than 1,000 spectators throughout the day (free admission always), but there were plenty of notable members of our great golf state in attendance such as Patrick Hunt (2016 Ryder Cup chairman for Hazeltine National GC), Tim Herron (four-time PGA Tour winner and current PGA Tour member), Norwood Teague (Gopher Athletics AD), Reed Mackenzie (former president of the USGA) and many of our generous donors that show so much passion for Gopher Golf!  I want to publicly thank all the volunteers, fans, Windsong Farm staff and owners, Gopher Athletics department, coaches, players and my family for carrying out my vision for the event.

The golf was at a high level...a very high level!  Multiple rounds of 67-70 were shot during the three rounds in very difficult, windy conditions on the par-71, 7,200-yard layout designed by Lehman and Fought. On Day 1, our Gopher golf team chipped and putted the ball very solidly throughout both rounds only to have a few wayward tee shots result in a few scores higher than bogey. Our sophomore All-American and defending Big Ten Champion, Jose Mendez, once again led the way with an opening day 144 (+2), which had him in eighth place. Also playing well on Day 1 were two veterans in the program, Tyler Lowenstein and Jon DuToit.  Tyler, having played in more than 20 collegiate events over three years, started strong with a two-round total of 147 (+5) and Jon was able to score slightly better coming in at 3-over, 145. Our first team was firmly supplanted in third place heading into Day 2. Our team's home event is unique as we have the option of playing as many players as we would like as a coaching staff. I took full advantage of this, playing a second team that would also compete in the team and individual competitions. Runar Arnorsson, Riley Johnson, William Leaf, Daniel Luftspring and Charlie Duensing all competed in one of their first major college events at the 2014 Gopher.

I arrived on Monday at the course to overcast and windy conditions, already knowing that we moved some of the tees and pins around in pre-tournament course preparation to provide a challenge to all teams in the final round. It was going to be a battle and, rest assured, my teams are always prepared for all weather conditions and the grind. Chipping and putting would take center stage on Day 2 as the greens were more firm and the 15-20 MPH winds would make hitting greens and fairways even more difficult.  

I was so excited to look at the leaderboard after nine holes to see four of our players posting nine-hole scores of 33-36.  The teams at the top of leaderboard were all playing well so the back nine would be filled with drama for all teams. Baylor, California, Charlotte, New Mexico, Kent State and UAB all were in the hunt for top-five finishes, along with our team. We have come a long way in four years to be mentioned in the same sentence with perennial top-30 teams. While I covet the fact we have made huge progress in recruiting and player development, I have always held this program to high expectations knowing the strong tradition of alumni and former coaches associated with Gopher golf. 

Jose Mendez (fifth) and Tyler Lowenstein (tied for ninth) played great all day to notch top-10 finishes.  This marks the eighth top-10 finish in 14 collegiate starts for Jose Mendez. Matt Rachey played hard in the final round and birdied the 18th to post a 3-over-par score of 74. Jon DuToit and Grady Meyer both shot 77 in the final round helping our team finish fourth place out of the 15 teams competing. Our second team was led in the final round by two-time North Dakota State Class A Champion Riley Johnson.  He shot 70 in the final round conditions, which proved to be the low score by any Gopher in the 2014 Gopher Invitational. Rounding out the scoring on this squad were Runar Arnorsson and Riley Johnson (228), William Leaf (233), Daniel Luftspring (241) and Charlie Duensing (246). The second team finished 14th in the event, beating St. John's (Minn.), but more importantly they were all able to experience a golf course setup and feel the nerves of competing at the highest level in amateur golf. This experience will undoubtedly help in the preparation through repetition leading into the Windon Classic at Evanston GC, hosted by Northwestern University, played on Sept. 21-22.

I also have a few very important program announcements. First, after the Gopher Invitational, Jose Mendez boarded a flight to Japan to compete for his home country, Costa Rica, in the Eisenhower Trophy.  The Eisenhower Trophy has been tabbed as the "Olympics of Amateur Golf" and it showcases 67 countries with each country sending its three top players. Jose tied for 60th and Costa Rica finished 44th. What an honor for Jose, his family, his country and our program to be invited to compete. Also, I have named my new assistant coach. Justin Smith will be my second assistant coach in four years as Coach Tyler Stith was recently named the head coach at the University of Iowa. It is great to see our coaching tree grow and I am also excited to welcome Justin and his wife, Trish, back into the Gopher golf program. As a three-time All American and member of the 2002 National Championship team for the Gophers, Justin will be a valuable asset for many years to come. Read more about him here.

Lastly, thanks to all who came to the Second Annual Gopher Men's Golf/Gopher Women's Hockey Outing at North Oaks GC on Monday!

Fairways, Fairways, Fairways!

John Carlson