Gophers coach Don Lucia said on his radio show on Monday that he is trying to recruit players from outside Minnesota.

"Next year we have Erik Haula coming in, who is from Finland played at Shattuck," Lucia said. "Nate Condon is from Wisconsin [Wausau], he is coming in. We've had some good in-state kids but you know we think we have to certainly complement [them with players from] outside the state of Minnesota. There is no question.

"That is something we are looking and trying to do all the time. So it is not like we are just parochial and just recruiting inside the state of Minnesota. That is not what happens."

Haula is an especially exciting recruit. He has nine goals and 16 assists for 25 points in just 16 games with Omaha of the USHL.

Lucia said the Gophers have to get older and more experienced with their incoming recruits. Sounds like the Bemiidji State model. "That's been the challenge," he said. "We would like to have a guy play one or two years of juniors, ideally. But if two or three guys turn pro, all of a sudden you have to bring them in before they are ready. 

"There is no question if you can have a 19- or 20-year-old freshman, you are going to be better off with him having played 100, 120 games of junior hockey. They are that much more experienced, they have had more competitive games. That's the ideal situation and we are looking to try to do that. And we will have one with Nate Condon."

Condon will turn 19 on May 29, so he will be 19-1/2 when he plays his first game as a Gopher. He is 6-1, 190 and is averaging one point per game for the Fargo Force of the USHL. He has eight goals and eight assists in 16 games.

Another veteran who will join the team at midseason is Jacob Cepis. He played 1-1/2 seasons at Bowling Green before transferring to the U. Cepis will be 22 on Dec. 21 before he plays a single game with the Gophers. He is from Parma, Ohio.

His first game will be on Jan. 2 when the Gophers face Bowling Green in the Dodge Holiday Classic. I wonder whom the media, including me, will pick to profile that week if they write or broadcast a feature story.

The Gophers also have a commitment from Sam Warning, who lives in suburban St. Louis, Mo. He will probably arrive in 2011-12 at the earliest.