Jason Gonzalez has covered an array of sports at all levels over the last six years. He learned ice hockey, however, long before — during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah (his hometown). He got a close up look of legendary Gophers alum Herb Brooks and other Minnesota hockey greats. Jason is nearing two years with the Star Tribune.
While high school teams go outdoors for Hockey Day Minnesota, the Gophers return indoors.
The annual event of 12-plus hours of hockey will showcase the Gophers and Ohio State at 5 p.m. on FSN.
It’s a quick turnaround from Friday night’s Hockey City Classic at TCF Bank Stadium. Both coaches were concerned on how their teams would respond after the late night of hockey outdoors.
“We’re already packing up our gear and trying to get it to Mariucci Arena tonight,” Ohio State coach Steve Rohlik said after Friday's 1-0 loss to the Gophers. “We haven’t played on big ice this year and we have the ice at 8:45 [Saturday] morning.”
Both teams didn’t get out of TCF Bank Stadium until nearly midnight.
The best conditioned team could have an edge on Saturday with the team’s still recovering from the late-night outdoor experience.
• Gophers coach Don Lucia advocated for the Wild to be the next team to play outdoors in Minnesota.
After a successful Hockey City Classic, Lucia said the Gophers will likely take a break from outdoors hockey after back-to-back seasons playing in open air.
“I think we’ll wait for a while now. It’s special to be a part of it, but I think you can do it too much,” Lucia said. “I think the next team that deserves to play in this game is the Wild. Hopefully the NHL will come here. I hope TCF will host it.”
• The Gophers had a special visitor after Friday night’s game. Jack Jablonski hung out in the locker room with players and coaches.
The paralyzed hockey player from Benilde-St. Margaret’s dropped the puck before the Hockey City Classic and then warmed up with the team after their 1-0 victory.
The Gophers Tweeted a great photo of coach Don Lucia interacting with Jablonski.
Forwards (left wing, center, right wing)
Taylor Cammarata, Kyle Rau, Hudson Fasching
Sam Warning, Justin Kloos, Nate Condon
Tom Serratore, Travis Boyd, Seth Ambroz
Connor Reilly, Vinni Lettieri, Christian Isackson
Defensemen (left, right)
Brady Skjei, Justin Holl
Mike Reilly, Michael Brodzinski
Jake Bischoff, Ben Marshall
Twin Cities products in the opposing lineup (Ohio State) Forwards: Matt Johnson, Stillwater, Minn. Defenseman: Drew Brevig, Lakeville, Minn.