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Minnesota Hockey: Bob Motzko wins Spencer Penrose National Coach of the Year

He is only the second Gopher coach ever to win the award

COLLEGE HOCKEY: NOV 26 Minnesota at Arizona State Photo by Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Minnesota Gophers have their hearts set on a piece of team hardware that they will bring home from Tampa this weekend, but lots of individual hardware will be handed out as well at the Frozen Four. The first of hopefully many trophies coming back to Minneapolis goes to the Gophers head coach. Bob Motzko was named the 2023 Spencer Penrose Award winner which is given to the National Coach of the Year. In the 73-year history of the award he is only the second Gopher head coach to receive it after some guy named John Mariucci did in 1953. No Brooks, No Woog, no Lucia, just Mariucci and Motzko.

The Austin, Minnesota native had led the Gophers to the #1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament and a 28-9-1 record on the season. Minnesota has been an offensive powerhouse this season ranking second in the NCAA in scoring margin (+1.97) and offense (4.21 GPG).

Motzko is in his fifth season in charge of the Gophers. He has won Big Ten coach of the Year in three of his five seasons. Motzko was on the bench as an assistant coach for Minnesota’s two most recent NCAA titles in 2002 and 2003, and hopefully he will lead Minnesota to NCAA title #6 this weekend.

Also already taking home some hardware this weekend is Gopher forward Colin Schmidt. Schmidt was given the Elite 90 award at the Frozen Four. The NCAA awards the Elite 90 award to the athlete with the highest GPA at an NCAA Championship. Schmidt won the award at last season’s Frozen Four as well and currently has a 4.0 GPA.

Minnesota is expected to earn additional individual hardware on Friday when the 2023 All-American teams are announced, and the 2023 Hobey Baker Award is given out. Minnesota has two of the three finalists for the Hobey Baker in freshman Logan Cooley and sophomore Mathew Knies.

But you can bet every single Gopher would give up all their individual honors to take home the big prize at the end of the night on Saturday.