Gopher Hockey: National Championship or Bust

Gophers Hockey NCAA

Matthew Knies Gophers

A 20-Year Drought

As the Gopher Hockey team kicks off its 102nd season there should be one goal. A National Championship. For a team that has fully bounced back from its woeful years in the 2010s. They finally shook off the stench of Don Lucia and the Powerhouse that is Minnesota Golden Gopher Hockey is back. After another disappointing defeat coming at the hands of Minnesota state, this time in the Frozen Four, Gopher fans are back in the building and begging for last year. For me, I’d be disappointed with another trip to the frozen four without a National Championship appearance and wondering what else Bob Motzko can do.

P.S. scrolling back through and finding this tweet hurt as much as the loss that day. 5-1 still pisses me off.

The Gopher Hockey Newcomers

First of all, Bob Motzko needs more credit for his recruiting. It’s up there with fellow Gopher Coach PJ Fleck and he could be better. In this class alone the Gophers had 2 first-round picks and 1 Second-round pick in the NHL Draft. With Logan Cooley going 3rd overall and Jimmy Snuggerud at 23. With Ryan Chesley going in the early second round at 37th overall. How that doesn’t land a spot in the nation’s best recruiters will never make sense.

For most freshmen, it takes a little while to get used to the speed and physicality of College Hockey. Not for these first-round picks. Logan Cooley sits with 5 points after 4 games and Snuggerud with 4 points (All Goals) in 4 games. It’s not every day a freshman nets a hattrick and it’s even more rare to do it against last year’s national runner-up.

If Not Now, When?

With arguably 6-7 players who will be playing in the NHL next year, how much more ready can you be? On top of that, the Gophers boast a 5th-year goalie who came out red hot after taking over in between the pipes. The time is now and the team/fanbase should set their expectations high. I don’t remember a Gopher team with more high-quality talent along with quality hard-working role players.

While the fanbase raises its expectations this season, the team should raise theirs for the fanbase. Get to Marucci (editor’s note: It will NEVER be 3M Arena) and fill the building like in the golden days of the WCHA. The students have done their part by selling out for the season, now it’s time for the casual and older fans to do the rest. Tickets are cheaper, beer is available…and your team sits at number 2 in the country with its biggest rival coming to town next weekend. There is no better time to be a Minnesota Hockey fan. Ski-U-Mah Gopher fans.