CULVER CITY, CALIF. -- We just returned to the hotel after a great meal at BJ's Brewhouse & Restaurant. The team walked the three or four blocks to dinner and enjoyed being able to sit in an open-air room with the garage doors open to let in a California breeze on a beautiful day here in Los Angeles.
I contemplated a pizza, which a couple others tried, but went with the Balsamic Glazed Chicken and don't regret the decision one bit. A big thumb's up to the staff at BJ's for a fantastic dinner!
It's nice to be able to walk to where we need to go, although the some members of the team might need to review the safety rules they learned about crossing the street in elementary school. Just sayin'.
After the walk back to the hotel, the team gathered to meet with the coaches to go over the agenda for tomorrow.
Highlights of Thursday's Schedule 10:15 a.m. to 12:01 p.m. -- Practice Session I at Pauley Pavilion
12:15 p.m. -- Lunch
6:30 p.m. -- NCAA Championships Banquet at Sony Pictures Studioit
It's hard to believe it's now less than two days until the Gophers will compete in Semifinal #1, but this team is so focused and driven to achieve its goals, and it's ready to lay it all on the line in an attempt to advance to Saturday's "Super Six."
Tomorrow will be an important day, as the Gophers will have a chance to familiarize themselves with the setup and equipment at Pauley Pavilion. Lights are out at 10:30 p.m. tonight, and I have a feeling the gymnasts will have no trouble getting some sleep after a long day of travel.
CULVER CITY, CALIF. -- Minnesota's women's gymnastics team has safely arrived in the Los Angeles area for the 2013 NCAA Championships, and I hate to rub it in, but let's just say the weather is very Southern California-like.
The team loaded the bus outside Bierman Field Athletic Building this morning at 9:15 a.m., and caught a flight to LAX at 11:40 a.m. One of the funniest sights of the day was assistant coach Louie Johnson, Janell Campbell and Shannon Golich "speed walking" to be the first through the security lines shortly after receiving our boarding passes.
It was a full flight to Los Angeles aboard a 757, and the captain wished the Gophers good luck over the intercom upon arrival. So did countless Minnesotans aboard the flight, and numerous people who stopped to ask what sport the team took part in, and why the Gophers are in LA.
At 4:45 p.m. PT, the team will meet in the lobby of the hotel and walk about three blocks to have dinner together, and the Gophers will then have a team meeting with head coach Meg Stephenson and the coaching staff later this evening.
It's just the start of an exciting weekend ahead for No. 8 Minnesota, as it makes a return to the NCAA Championships as a team for the first time since finishing ninth during 2002. I'll continue to update this blog as the weekend goes on, sharing some of the fun moments that take place here in Tinseltown.
Former Gophers forward Blake Wheeler factored into all three of Winnipeg's goals in regulation last night in a 4-3 shootout win over Tampa Bay. Wheeler pocketed a pair of assists in the win and scored his 90th career goal in the second period with this slick score.
-Phil Kessel's next game will be the former Gopher's 500th NHL contest. In 499 career games, Kessel has 181-189--370.
Here are the very best of the best! Don't miss some of the top plays and highlights from the 2012-13 Gopher hockey season. From incredible individual performances to big wins over No. 1 Boston College and No. 2/3 Notre Dame, it's all available right here on Gophersports.com.
Former Gophers All-American Ryan Stoa signed a one-year contract extension with the Washington Capitals, the organization announced on Monday through the team's American Hockey League affiliate -- the Hershey Bears.
Stoa, 26, has registered a total of 19 points (11 goals, eight assists) in 43 games in his first season with the Chocolate and White. After missing nearly two months of the regular season due to injury, Stoa's most productive month came when he racked up five goals in February, which included his second multiple-goal game of the campaign.
The 6-3, 228-pound native of Bloomington, MN came to the Bears as an off-season signing during the summer of 2012. Prior to joining Hershey, Stoa spent three seasons with the AHL's Lake Erie Monsters, racking up 55 goals and 54 assists in 177 games. Stoa also has 37 NHL games to his credit, all with the Colorado Avalanche, where he recorded seven points (four goals, three assists).
Prior to turning pro, Stoa played four years of collegiate hockey at the University of Minnesota (WCHA), putting up 97 points (47 goals, 50 assists) in 120 career games and picking up WCHA First Team All-Star honors in 2009. He also won the bronze medal in 2007 with the United States at the Under-20 World Junior Championships, and took the gold in 2005 with the Under-18 Team.
Stoa was originally selected by Colorado in the second round (34th overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
In a Gophers-centric contest, Stoa and Hershey (which also features former Gophers Ryan Potulny, Jeff Taffe, Mike Carman and Nate Schmidt) return to action this Friday against former Gophers defenseman Mark Alt and the Adirondack Phantoms. Taffe is tied for the AHL scoring lead with 70 points this season while Schmidt tallied his first professional goal over the weekend. Alt unofficially tallied for the Phantoms on Sunday, notching the game-winning goal in the 15th round of a shootout.
Kessel Named NHL's Second Star of the Week
Former Gopher forward Phil Kessel was named the NHL's Second Star of the Week after tallying five goals in three games last week as the Maple Leafs look to earn their first playoff berth since 2004.
Kessel leads Toronto with 27 assists and 42 points in 41 games this season.
The Gophers ended a 23-year title drought in 2002 and added their second-straight national championship in 2003. Minnesota posted a 28-8-9 overall record in 2002-03 and for the second-straight season, the Gophers went the entire season without suffering consecutive losses. In addition to the national championship, Minnesota also captured the Broadmoor Trophy as the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five champions. Paul Martin captured Second Team All-America honors while Thomas Vanek was the nation's leading rookie scorer and finished one goal shy of John Mayasich's freshman goal record.
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.
University of Minnesota women's basketball head coach Pam Borton is scheduled to speak at the TeamWomenMN Leadership Conference on Friday, April 12 at Golden Valley Country Club. The theme of the conference is "Empowering Leadership" and will feature a keynote address from Martha Nevanen, VP of the Pohlad Companies.
Borton, who is the President and co-founder of TeamWomenMN, will open the event at 10:00 a.m. with a "pregame talk", before participating in the remainder of the event schedule.
Also scheduled to participate in the event are Grayce Belvedere Young, Margaret Murphy, Cheryl Reeve, Joy Frestedt, Hannah Ubl, Tammie Follett, Colleen Needles Steward, Sara Beatty Ratner, Lindsey Bruber, Roshini Rajkumar and Janee Harteau.
Complete Schedule of Events 9:00 AM Registration 10:00 AM"Pre-Game Talk" Pam Borton & Keynote Speaker Martha
Nevanen, Vice President of Corporate Marketing & Communications, Pohlad
Companies 10:45 AM Networking "Time-Out" 11:00 AM "Charting Your Career Path" Grayce Belvedere Young, President
of the Prouty Project & Margaret Murphy, President and COO of Olson 12:30 PM "Half-Time Talk" Lunch with Cheryl Reeve, Head
Coach, Minnesota Lynx 1:30 PM TeamWomenMN Mentoring and Teaching Programs Moderated by Joy Frestedt,
President, Alimentix 2:15 PM Networking "Time-Out" 2:30 PM "Leading Across Generations" Workshop by Hannah Ubl,
Generations Expert & Millenial Speaker, BridgeWorks 3:20 PM Leadership Panel Moderated by Tammie Follett, Sr. Account
Manager & Business Development Specialist, Thomson Reuters Panelists: Colleen Needles Steward,
President & CEO, Tremendous Entertainment; Former WCCO Anchor Sara Beatty Ratner, President,
NeoPath Lindsey Bruber, President &
Owner, Simek's Roshini Rajkumar, Communication
Coach & Radio Host
4:00 PM "Post-Game Talk" Networking Happy Hour, Kickoff
remarks by Janeé Harteau, Chief of Police, Minneapolis
On March 23, 2013, Minnesota head coach Don Lucia was named the head coach of the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team by USA Hockey. With Lucia behind the bench, the Red, White and Blue will compete at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship Dec. 26, 2013 - Jan. 5, 2014, in Malmo, Sweden. Next year, the U.S. program will seek its fourth medal in five years including a gold-medal performance in 2013 with Gophers defenseman Mike Reilly on the roster and assistant coach Grant Potulny on staff. As the tournament approaches, Gophersports.com will provide updates under using "Eyes on Sweden."
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- USA Hockey announced today the schedule for the 2013 U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y. Approximately 45 U.S. players will convene at the Olympic Training Center Aug. 3-10 to audition for spots on the U.S. National Junior Team that will compete at the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014, in Malmo, Sweden.
The camp includes daily practices and international games against Canada, Finland and Sweden. A full schedule is below.
USA Hockey expects to announce the list of invited players to its U.S. National Junior Team Evaluation Camp in June.
Ticket information for the event will be announced in the coming weeks.
2013 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp Schedule Aug. 3-10 | Lake Placid, N.Y. | Olympic Training Center | Olympic Rink