With real life being crazy, sometimes things don’t get written on when I would like to. So here are a few Gopher Hockey news and notes from both the men’s and women’s teams and their alums:
Ryan Stoa named to US Olympic Hockey Team
Minnesota kept its streak of having at least one player, coach, or trainer on every United States Olympic Team since 1936 alive when former Gopher Ryan Stoa was named to the 2018 squad. Stoa has been playing for Spartak Moskva in the KHL and was named a 2017 KHL All-Star. He previously played in both the Colorado Avalanche and Washington Capital organizations after graduating from the U. Stoa played in 120 career games for the Gophers from 2005 through 2009 and was named a First Team All-American and a First Team All-WCHA selection during the 2008-09 season when he notched 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists) in 36 games.
Gopher Women Well Represented on US Women’s Olympic Hockey Team
The Gopher women’s hockey team will be will represented in South Korea in 2018. Six current or former Gophers players made the final cut for the Olympic roster. They include 2009 grad Gigi Marvin, 2016 grads Amanda Kessel and Hannah Brandt, 2017 grads Lee Stecklein and Dani Camaranesi, and current Gopher senior Kelly Pannek. Former Gopher Megan Bozak was one of the last cuts for Team USA and will not return to the Olympics.
In addition to the players, the Gophers are well represented on the coaching staff. Former Gopher goalie and Hobey Baker Award Winner Robb Stauber is the head coach for the US team, and his former Gopher teammate Brett Strot is an assistant for the American squad.
The Gophers may also have more representation as alums Mira Jalouso and Noora Raty are still under consideration for the Finnish Olympic Team in PyeongChang.
Amy Potomak Enrolls at the U
According to an update from Gopher Hockey writer Nate Wells, Amy Potomak has enrolled at the U for the spring semester and will use her redshirt season. She will begin to practice with the team but will not play and keep her year of eligibility to become a redshirt freshman next fall. Potomak was slated to enroll as a freshman this fall for the Gophers but was chosen to be centralized with the Canadian National team to attempt to make the Canadian Olympic roster. She was cut from the team in November, and then her sister Sarah was one of the final Canadian cuts in December. Sarah will not return to school this spring and will come back next fall as a redshirt junior. Both Potomak sisters along with the return of Kelly Pannek will make immediate impacts next fall to a Gopher team that has struggled offensively at times this season.
Blake Wheeler named an NHL All-Star
Gopher alum Blake Wheeler was named an NHL-All Star earlier this week. Wheeler is the captain for the Winnipeg Jets and is tied for second in league scoring with 52 points. With 14 goals and 38 assists in 44 games so far, he’s on pace for the best season of his career, his 11th in the NHL. It will be the first All-Star game for the former Gopher.