The University of Minnesota enters this year’s tournament having boasted representatives at 39 of 41 IIHF World Junior Championships.
A University of Minnesota alum, Potulny spent the last eight seasons on the Gophers coaching staff.
Vinni Lettieri leads all active Gophers in scoring against Michigan with 13 points (six goals, seven assists) including his first career hat trick earlier this year as Minnesota swept the Wolverines at Mariucci Arena.
The United States went unbeaten at the tournament to claim its fourth gold medal at the event and 10th overall medal.
The University of Minnesota has now sent representatives to 39 of 41 World Junior Championships since the inaugural event in 1977.
In the third episode of Gopher Hockey: Pride on Ice the Gopher men's hockey team reflects on the 2013 Hockey City Classic outdoor game vs. Wisconsin and ahead to the WCHA Final Five and NCAA Tournament.
Pride on Ice: Webisode 2 takes you on the road with the Gophers for their showdown with Wisconsin.
Go behind the scenes with the storied Minnesota Gopher men's hockey team in GopherSports.com's exclusive three-part web series, Pride On Ice!
The Grand Forks, N.D., native has taken naturally to the college coaching profession after serving as a three-year captain for the Gophers program as a player. Potulny, who works primarily with the Minnesota forwards, serves as guiding voice during practice and games but is also a relatable presence on the recruiting trail.
Under Potulny's tutelage, the Minnesota offense been one of the nation’s top scoring groups over the last five seasons while the team has won five-straight regular-season conference titles and made two trips to the NCAA Frozen Four in the last five years.
The 2013-14 season marked a new era for Potulny and Gopher Hockey as the team began competing in the new Big Ten Conference. The Maroon & Gold went on to win three-straight Big Ten regular-season titles in the first three years of league play and added the 2015 Big Ten Tournament Title. At the same time, Minnesota reached the national championship game in 2014 and played in the NCAA Frozen Four for the second time in three years. The Big Ten era has featured Potulny coaching Kyle Rau to Second Team All-America honors as one of the top scorers in modern Gophers history while Mike Reilly became just the seventh Gopher to earn multiple First Team All-America nods as a member of the Minnesota power play.
In 2012-13, Minnesota ranked first in college hockey with an average of 3.48 goals per game offensively. The Gophers captured a share of their second-straight Western Collegiate Hockey Association MacNaughton Cup as regular-season co-champions in 2012-13 while the Minnesota power play also ranked first nationally. The Gophers celebrated a pair of All-WCHA forwards in 2012-13 with Nick Bjugstad earning Second Team honors and Erik Haula following suit on the league's Third Team.
The 2011-12 season marked a resurgence in the Gophers program. Not only did the Gophers lead the nation in scoring -- averaging 3.60 goals-per-game -- but the Gophers also finished first in the WCHA for the first time since 2006-07. More importantly, the Gophers returned to the NCAA Frozen Four with Bjugstad earning Third Team All-WCHA honors along the way.
The resurgence of the Gophers program has also seen 11 Potulny-coached players play in the National Hockey League while seven skaters have earned All-America honors.
In addition to his duties with the Gophers, Potulny has also helped develop the sport of hockey at the youth and international levels. In 2013, Potulny served as an assistant coach for the U.S. National Junior Team at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia. The U.S. team, which included Minnesota's Mike Reilly, captured gold at the tournament -- giving the U.S. its third medal in four years. Potulny will serve in the same capacity at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championships.
The Gophers assistant coach also runs Potulny Camps each year with a focus on skill instruction and fun for youth hockey players. During his coaching career, Potulny has worked as a clinician at coach Lucia's model camp and has coached at the Under-17 Select Festival in Rochester, N.Y.
Potulny was a three-year captain at Minnesota during his career from 2000-04. He was an assistant captain as a sophomore for Minnesota's 2002 national championship team and then captained the team the following two years, including the Gophers' 2003 national title squad.
Potulny is Minnesota's only three-year captain since 1947. Potulny played in 146 games for the Gophers, totaling 68 goals and 48 assists for 116 points. He is best-known for scoring the overtime game-winning goal in Minnesota's 4-3 win against Maine in the 2002 national championship game at Xcel Energy Center.
He played three full seasons with the Ottawa Senators' AHL affiliate in Binghamton (N.Y.) from 2004-07 before spending one season each with the Washington Capitals' affiliate in Hershey (Pa.) and the Edmonton Oilers' affiliate in Springfield (Mass.).He spent the 2008-09 season with the Tampa Bay Lightning's AHL affiliate in Norfolk, Va.
Potulny attended Red River High School and led his team to three North Dakota state championships from 1996-98.
Potulny was selected in the fifth round, 157th overall, in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by Ottawa. He played two seasons in the USHL with the Lincoln Stars and helped his squad claim an Anderson Cup regular season championship as the team's MVP in 1999-2000.
Potulny and his wife, Melissa, have three children.
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