Jason Gonzalez has covered an array of sports at all levels over the last nine 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 has been with the Star Tribune since 2012.
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Gophers All-American defenseman Mike Reilly will return for his junior season.
Reilly’s decision was announced via the Gophers hockey Twitter account late Wednesday afternoon. He was thought to be the only player seriously considering the option to leave early for professional hockey.
"I'm excited to be coming back to Minnesota next season," Reilly said in a press release. "We've been incredibly successful over the last two years, and I'm looking forward to more of the same next year."
Reilly, a 2011 fourth-round draft pick by the Columbus Blue Jackets, was the Gophers' lone First Team All-American and was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. The offensive-minded defenseman scored nine goals and 24 assists as a sophomore. He will return to play with twin brothers and teammates Connor and Ryan.
The Gophers have yet to lose a player to early departure this offseason and lost only five seniors from its 2014 national runner-up lineup.
Forward Kyle Rau, defenseman Brady Skjei and goaltender Adam Wilcox were also considered possible early departures. Talk among the team is that Wilcox will also return.