Louie Nanne wants to create his own identity. He began the process by decommitting to play college hockey for the Gophers, he confirmed Saturday.
The grandson of legendary hockey personality Lou Nanne wants to avoid a constant connection as much as possible and believes it will only happen far away from Minnesota. He spent the 2012-13 hockey season in the British Columbia Hockey League and said, "I was myself more away from home than in Edina, let alone Minnesota, [because] of my name."
"I guess I found the real Lou Nanne," he said.
He hasn't spent much time thinking about where he might play college hockey, but said education is important to him and he plans to go to school next year. For now, he will play with Sioux Falls Stampede after rehabbing from double shoulder surgery done in May and July. He expects a December return.
Since committing to Gophers in 2011, Nanne said he couldn't help but notice negative comments made on social media about his ability on the ice. He tried to ignore them and even proved that he was one of the country's best players by earning a spot on the 2011 USA U-18 select team and being drafted by the Wild in the seventh round of the 2012 NHL draft.
"I wouldn't be telling the truth if I didn't say [negative comments] hindered my confidence,” Nanne said. “High school was hard for me [because] I felt like I had to live up to the name. When I got to Canada, I could play without the ‘filling in those shoes’ dilemma.
"I loved getting away [because] I felt I didn't have to play up to anything besides my potential."
In 2011, Nanne said he, "couldn't see leaving Minnesota," though he was considering schools such as Boston College or Harvard. However, at the time his grandfather from his mom's side and an uncle were ill. He hoped they would be able to watch him play college hockey for the Gophers, he said, but both have since passed away. Since then, Nanne said he's grown a lot and determined Minnesota was no longer the place for him.
He would have been a third generation Gopher, following in the path of his grandfather Lou Nanne and his father Marty Nanne.
Louie Nanne said the Gophers coaching staff was understanding of his decision and wished him luck. He said his grandfather had the same response and encouraged his grandson to figure out what is the best for him.
"I want to prove to others, along with myself, that I am capable and worthy of playing D1 hockey," Nanne said in a Twitter statement. "... Also, I want to make a name for myself rather than living in my grandfather’s shadow."