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A few tidbits around the Gopher world to kick off your holiday weekend

Welcome back to 'MERICA Phil....
Welcome back to 'MERICA Phil....
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Just a few things for you to read as you either count down the hours until your Holiday weekend starts, or for you to read in between runs on the tube, water skis, or in between brats and beer this weekend.

Gopher Hockey:

Its exactly 100 days until the Gophers will kick off the regular season against Vermont in the US Hockey Hall of Fame Game on October 10th at Mariucci Arena.  Get excited!

Yesterday was the beginning of free agency in the NHL and several former Gophers were on the move.  Former Pittsburgh Penguin Defenseman Paul Martin signed a four year deal with the San  Jose Sharks.

Pittsburgh picked up a Gopher almost immediately after Martin left as Phil Kessel was traded from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Penguins for a slew of propsects.

Jim O'Brien signed a two-way deal with the New Jersey Devils, and Aaron Ness signed a two-way deal to leave the New York Islanders and join the Washington Capitals.  Hopefully we can see a Ness and Nate Schmidt defensive pairing with the Caps in the near future.

Of course, the Minnesota Wild made it official yesterday in signing defenseman Mike Reilly.

In schadenfreude news, The Wisconsin Badgers found out earlier this week that incoming goalie recruit Luke Opilka who played for the US-Under 18 team last season will not play for the Badgers but will join a team in the OHL instead.  With both Badger goalies from last season graduating in Joel Rumpel and Landon Peterson this leaves the Badgers with  redshirt senior Adam Miller and redshirt sophomore Gabe Grunwald in net short of bringing in another goalie. Neither goalie played last season and only Miller, who gave up 3 goals on 27 shots to Boston College in 2013, has played a college game.  Ouch.  This could be an ugly year in Madison.

Gopher Basketball:

The Gophers are getting a visit this week from St. Johns transfer center Chris Obekpa.

Obekpa was the leading shot blocker for the Red Storm last year and would be a big addition to the middle of the Gopher defense if he decided to come.

Several Gopher alums are joining new teams in Europe for the Upcoming season.  Andre Hollins signed a contract to play with Leuven Bears in the German league for next season.  Supposedly Elliot Elliason is also getting interest from the same team.

Trevor Mbakwe signed a three year deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv, one of the best clubs in the European League.  Mbakwe is coming off a season with the Brose Baskets in the German league where he averaged 10.3 points and 13.4 rebounds a game en route to the German league Championship.

Mo Walker will be on one of two Orlando Magic Summer League teams in the Orlando Summer League this summer.

Richard Pitino wrote a new blog entry this week where he talks about the new freshmen and transfers into the program, along with some schedule info and practice information.

As GoAUpher reminded you earlier, tickets are now on sale for the Gophers game against Oklahoma State in Sioux Falls in December.

Gopher Football:

In case you missed it, the Gophers will play a home and home against Fresno State in 2018 and 2019.

The Big Summer recruiting BBQ is Saturday July 18th.  A reminder that the Gophers got several key commitments last season at and just after the BBQ as Matt recapped last summer.

The Las Vegas Sun had an article on which team should be #1 ranked coming into the Year, Ohio State or TCU.  Of course only one team in the Nation gets to play both teams this fall......your Golden Gophers.

So that should be enough to keep you slightly occupied while you nurse a beer or 13...Have a great Fourth of July celebrating 'MERICA!