Nov. 27, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS – The top-ranked Minnesota men’s hockey program signed five student-athletes to National Letters of Intent (NLI) during the early signing period with four in-state products as well as the third-ever non-North American player in program history set to join the Gophers next year.
Minnesota welcomes Leon Bristedt, Ryan Collins, Jack Glover, Steven Johnson and Jack Ramsey as the newest members of Gopher Hockey.
“We are excited to announce our new signing class. It’s a talented class and one that fills a lot of our needs,” Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said. “All five guys are good hockey players, and more importantly, they are good people that will fit well with our team as well as our program philosophy.”
A native of Vaxholm, Sweden, Bristedt is set to become just the third player from outside of North America to skate for the Gophers, joining current New York Islander Thomas Vanek (2003-04; Graz, Austria) and current Minnesota Wild prospect Erik Haula (2011-13; Pori, Finland). The forward has spent the last two seasons skating with the Linkoping organization in Sweden including a 2013-14 campaign that has seen Bristedt lead the Sweden J-20 league with 32 points (17 goals, 15 assists) in 22 games. The signee helped Sweden to a quarterfinal appearance at the 2013 IIHF World U-18 Championships in Sochi, Russia with four points (three goals, one assist) in five games.
The Gophers also welcome teammates Ryan Collins and Jack Glover, who both currently skate for the U.S. National Development Team Program (USNDTP) in Ann Arbor, Mich., and who were also teammates on Benilde-St. Margaret’s 2012 MSHSL Class AA state championship squad.
A Bloomington, Minn., native, Collins has skated the last two seasons with the USNDTP after helping the Red Knights claim a state title in 2012 with a goal and four assists in 29 games. Last year with the U.S. U-17 team, the defenseman skated in all 56 games with two goals and seven assists and has one assist in 11 games this season with the USNDTP. Collins has represented the U.S. at the 2012 Four Nations Tournament in Switzerland (gold medal), the 2013 Five Nations Tournament in Finland (bronze medal) and the 2013 World Under-17 Challenge in Canada (bronze medal). The signee participated in the 2013 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in Pittsburgh last September and is eligible for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. The defenseman was included on NHL Central Scouting’s watch list in November. Collins’ father, Dan, played hockey at Connecticut College while his uncle, Jim Warner, played hockey for Colorado College and had stints in the AHL, the WHA and the NHL.
A Golden Valley, Minn., native, Glover is also in his second year with the USNDTP, having skated in all 56 games for the U.S. Under-17 Team last season with 20 points (six goals, 14 assists). The defenseman has seven points (one goal, six assists) through 11 games this season and was invited to the 2013 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in Pittsburgh last September. On the international level, Glover helped USA Hockey win gold at the 2012 Four Nations Tournament in Switzerland and was also on bronze-medal teams at the 2013 Five Nations Tournament in Finland and the 2013 World Under-17 Challenge in Canada. Prior to joining the USNDTP, Glover skated in 27 games during Benilde-St. Margaret’s state title run, notching two goals and 16 assists. Glover is eligible for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and was included on NHL Central Scouting’s watch list in November.
A native of Excelsior, Minn., Johnson will join the Gophers after skating with the Omaha Lancers in the USHL in 2013-14. The defenseman has 11 assists through 15 games with the Lancers after scoring 23 points (six goals, 17 assists) in 59 games for the Aberdeen Wings of the NAHL in 2012-13. Johnson continues a notable line of Omaha defensemen to play for the Gophers including current defensemen Justin Holl and Ben Marshall. Prior to his juniors career, Johnson skated at Minnetonka High School with fellow signee Jack Ramsey and current Gopher Vinni Lettieri. On the international level, Johnson has represented the U.S. at the 2013 World Junior A Challenge, helping USA Hockey to its second-straight gold medal and fifth overall.
A native of Chanhassen, Minn., Ramsey is currently skating for the Penticton Vees in the British Columbia Hockey League. Through 25 games this season, the forward has seven points (two goals, five assists). Prior to joining the Vees, Ramsey spent the 2012-13 with Minnetonka High School, scoring 27 points (nine goals, 18 assists) in 24 games. The signee skated at Minnetonka with fellow signee Steven Johnson and current Gopher Vinni Lettieri. Ramsey’s father, Mike, played for the Gophers and was part of the USA’s gold medal team at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y., before a lengthy NHL playing and coaching career. Ramsey’s sister, Rachel, is a captain on the Minnesota women’s hockey team. Ramsey is eligible for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and was included on NHL Central Scouting’s watch list in November.
Minnesota returns to action this weekend with its first Big Ten Conference games against Wisconsin on Friday at Saturday. Friday’s opener is set for 4 p.m. CT (ESPNU, BTN2Go.com, 1500 ESPN) while Saturday is slated for a 5 p.m. puck drop (FOX Sports North, BTN2Go.com, 1500 ESPN).
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