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-
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-
2002 Hobey Baker Award winner Jordan Leopold
MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) - Welcome home, Jordan Leopold! The 2002 Hobey Baker Award winner and two-time First Team All-American for Gopher Hockey has been acquired at the NHL trade deadline by the Minnesota Wild.
A native of Golden Valley, Minn., Leopold has played in 677 NHL games over a 12-year NHL career, tallying 213 points (67 goals, 146 assists) for seven different organizations (Calgary, Colorado, Florida, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, St. Louis and Columbus). Leopold also represented the U.S. at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games.
In 164 career games at the University of Minnesota, Leopold scored 45 goals (the most ever by a Gophers defensemen) and had 99 assists (fourth-most among Gophers defensemen) for a career total of 144 points (third most among Gophers defensemen and 32nd all-time at Minnesota). The blue-liner's college career culminated with a memorable weekend in St. Paul as Leopold was named the fourth Hobey Baker Award winner in school history and then proceeded to lead the Maroon & Gold to a national championship the following day at Xcel Energy Center.
The Minnesota team captain twice earned First Team All-America accolades as well as WCHA Defensive Player of the Year honors (2001, 2002) and earned All-WCHA distinctions in each of his four seasons with the Maroon & Gold (First Team: 2000-01, 2001-02; Second Team: 1999-2000; Third Team/All-Rookie Team: 1998-99).
One of 16 Gopher Hockey alums to play in the NHL this season, Leopold is now the sixth former Gopher in the Minnesota Wild organization - joining Thomas Vanek, Erik Haula, Jordan Schroeder, Stu Bickel and Keith Ballard. Ballard and Leopold were teammates on Minnesota's national championship squad in 2002.
MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) - In the midst of a six-game unbeaten streak and tied for first in the Big Ten for the first time this season, Gopher Hockey's senior class has come on strong as Minnesota looks to defend its inaugural Big Ten regular-season title.
Since starting the six-game unbeaten streak on Jan. 30, no class in college hockey has totaled more goals than Minnesota's seniors with 16 as the group has scored more than half of the team's 29 goals during the stretch.
"Our seniors are playing great hockey right now," Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said. "That's what you have to have this time of year during the stretch run. Your seniors have to lead, and they are playing their best hockey right now."
All six seniors have recorded points over the unbeaten streak with the class totaling 37 points during the run including the top three scorers on the team in Boyd (4-6--10), Ambroz (6-3--9)and Rau (5-3--8). Meanwhile, Sam Warning isn't far behind with six assists over the span while Ben Marshall and Christian Isackson have both tallied two points each.
The Gopher Hockey senior class has helped Minnesota to a program-record three-straight regular-season conference titles and two trips to the NCAA Frozen Four in their three years with the squad. The quest for a fourth-straight conference crown continues this weekend at Penn State.
-Pride On Ice-
Three Gophers are among the nominees for this year's Hobey Baker Award, and fans can help them earn college hockey's top honor by voting online through March 8.
All-Americans Mike Reilly, Adam Wilcox and Kyle Rau represent the Gophers on the nomination form.
Awarded annually to college hockey's top player, the Hobey Baker's highly popular fan-voting opened on Wednesday, January 7. Visit the Hobey Baker website: www.hobeybakeraward.com. Click on the Vote for Hobey icon and follow the prompts to make your selection from this year's outstanding crop of college hockey players. Please spend some additional time to check out the detailed bios on each candidate.
This first phase of fan balloting will run now through March 8, 2015. Phase two of fan balloting will begin onfrom the list of Top Ten Hobey Baker finalists. The fans' vote accounts for a full 1 percent of the total ballot in each phase in selecting this year's award recipient.
Award criteria include candidates emulating the exceptional character traits exhibited by the award's namesake, Hobey Baker. A legendary American hero, Baker was a World War I fighter pilot and was known as America's greatest amateur athlete in his day, excelling at hockey and football at Princeton University. Award candidates must demonstrate strength of character both on and off the ice, contribute to the integrity of his team and display outstanding skills in all phases of the game. Consideration should be given to scholastic achievement and sportsmanship.
Key Hobey Baker announcement dates for 2015 include:
- Top Ten list of candidates:
- Hobey Hat Trick of three finalists: April 2
- Hobey Baker Award announcement:
The 2015 Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced from a field of three Hobey Hat Trick finalists on www.hobeybakeraward.com.during the NCAA Frozen Four Championships in Boston, MA. For more info on the Hobey Baker Award or to access the Hobey logo, please visit