Former Gopher and current Hershey Bears forward Jeff Taffe was named an All-AHL Second Team member on Thursday after leading the American Hockey League scoring race with 64 points this season. The center's 46 assists tie him for the league lead.
Taffe is in his first season with the Bears but is no stranger to AHL competition. He has played part of 12 seasons in the top minor league in the world. During his professional career, Taffe has also appeared in 180 NHL games with six different teams. His most recent stint was with the Minnesota Wild in last season.
Taffe appeared in 120 games for the Gophers over three seasons. In his final season with the Maroon and Gold, he help led Minnesota to the 2002 National Championship. Taffe was the second leading scorer on the team behind John Pohl. Taffe and Pohl led the country in power-play goals that season with 14 apiece. Taffe posted a total of 113 points for the Gophers.
Hershey, the top affiliate for the Washington Capitals, is where five former Gophers now apply their trade. Ryan Potulny, Mike Carman, Ryan Stoa, and Nate Schmidt join Taffe in wearing the Chocolate & White. Schmidt arrived in Hershey last weekend after being named to the All-WCHA First Team and leading the Gophers' blue line in points this season with 26. Three former Gophers combined on a power-play goal in Sunday's game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, when Schmidt and Taffe set up Potulny.
With two weeks left in the regular season, Taffe and the rest of the former Gopher teammates will look to help Hershey back to the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season. The Bears are currently tied for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with two weeks remaining in the regular season. Hershey has won 11 Calder Cup Championships, more than any other league member has.
Three Former Gophers Now in Albany
Seth Helgeson signed an entry-level contract with the American Hockey League's Albany Devils of Friday. The arrival of Helgeson means three former Gophers now play in Albany. Seth joins forward Mike Hoeffel and goaltender Jeff Frazee. The three former Gophers have some important games coming up. Albany, the top affiliate for the New Jersey Devils, sits four points behind the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
-Written by Communications Intern Josh Brennock