This morning, the Minnesota Golden Gophers landed a new hockey prospect with the promise to make an immediate on-ice impact. He didn't disappoint.
BREAKING: The #Gophers will be adding a new player to the roster. More details to follow at 10:30am— Minnesota M Hockey (@GopherHockey) February 25, 2015
Head Coach Don Lucia and the players on the team were thrilled to find out that freshman Gabe Bartlett would join the team, and they flew into action to make him feel welcome.
Locker all set up for #wishkid Gabe, the new addition to the #Gophers! @MakeAWishMN #Race4Wishes pic.twitter.com/mdveM8eOEp— Minnesota M Hockey (@GopherHockey) February 25, 2015
Gabe also got a hero's welcome from the Minnesota band, cheerleaders, and of course, Goldy Gopher. Expectations were running high in the building.
Gabe and @Matt_Brickman in the house! #Race4Wishes pic.twitter.com/xiG5gcu3AG— Minnesota M Hockey (@GopherHockey) February 25, 2015
Welcome to @GopherHockey, #wishkid Gabe! #Race4Wishes pic.twitter.com/MPXUNDFgMg— Minnesota Gophers (@GopherSports) February 25, 2015
Just minutes after arriving on campus, the freshman was on the ice and preparing for his first action wearing maroon and gold. By this time, the news of Gabe's arrival was spreading like wildfire, and fans couldn't contain their excitement.
Amazing morning at Mariucci Arena being a part of Gabe's Make-A-Wish day! #Race4Wishes #PrideOnIce pic.twitter.com/tbRXSTrsN8— Devin Pacheco (@TheReal_Devin) February 25, 2015
And Gabe takes the ice with @GopherHockey @MakeAWishMN pic.twitter.com/pFfo8zAHLU— M.A.G.I.C. (@umnMAGIC) February 25, 2015
Ok this is getting ridiculous. #Race4Wishes pic.twitter.com/yeiv59cJny— Matt Brickman (@Matt_Brickman) February 25, 2015
A little pre-challenge warmup and some fans. #Race4Wishes pic.twitter.com/fsB5gm1hKd— Minnesota M Hockey (@GopherHockey) February 25, 2015
Bartlett didn't disappoint. He potted a natural hat trick, including a breakaway goal. On the play, goaltender Christian Isackson was helpless against Bartlett's puck-handling skill. All that remained was a stick-salute to the Mariucci faithful.
#GOPHERS GOAL! Bartlett scores on the breakway and gets it past goalie Isackson and wins the #Race4Wishes challenge! pic.twitter.com/owIjLFhYR2— Minnesota M Hockey (@GopherHockey) February 25, 2015
Great start to the day for the #Gophers, skating w/ @MakeAWishMN's #wishkid Gabe on the #race4wishes. pic.twitter.com/0curEBKPJv— Brian Deutsch (@badeutsch) February 25, 2015
After being with the team for less than 45 minutes, Gabe had so impressed his teammates and coaches that they awarded him the Golden Hard Hat for his fantastic effort in the game. Gabe obviously understands the Minnesota Way to play hockey.
With the natural hat trick! Gabe gets the Golden Hard Hat for his hard work in the ice! #Race4Wishes pic.twitter.com/Lkh875azTu— Minnesota M Hockey (@GopherHockey) February 25, 2015
Gabe's effort also has a created some buzz with the scouts from the Minnesota Wild. Next door, the Wild were practicing and they brought Gabe over to try and woo the un-drafted free agent. Gopher Justin Kloos did not merit the same invitation on this day.
Oh, the @mnwild stopped practice to meet Gabe, NBD. #Race4Wishes lets get to 20M miles!! http://t.co/jUtS9GmrPG pic.twitter.com/s3U4cl4JNS— Matt Brickman (@Matt_Brickman) February 25, 2015
HATS OFF to Gabe on his big day! We're all lucky to have him on the team for stretch run, because he's obviously a difference-maker. SKI-U-MAH!
#MakeAWishMN kid Gabe is half way through the #Race4Wishes. @mallofamerica is next! http://t.co/oDznXvQMJM pic.twitter.com/YTZhBT9aDv— Tracy Perlman (@Partray) February 25, 2015