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 coach Don Lucia announced Thursday afternoon that sophomore forward Gabe Guertler had been granted a release from the hockey program.
No other details were given.
The Florida native, who’s dad grew up in the Twin Cities and played high school hockey, skated in 24 games for the Gophers last season and scored five points (two goals, three assists). He anchored the fourth line at center during the Gophers’ late-season run to the Frozen Four and national championship game.
An announcement that Guertler committed to play for the Soo Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League dropped within an hour of the Gophers’ press release.
“Im really excited to be a part of the Soo Program. I think it's a great opportunity for me to get better as a player,” Guertler said in the Greyhounds' statement. “The Soo is a great program and are a top-tier team in OHL. I look forward to getting started.”
Though Guertler showed promise late in the season, he started out his career on the wrong foot. He was arrested last September and charged with drunk driving on a moped near campus. Lucia suspended the freshman indefinitely.
Guertler eventually made his collegiate debut in early November against Notre Dame and would go on to earn a regular role in the Gophers’ lineup. A tumultuous first year likely didn’t help in determining how Guertler fit into the Gophers’ future plans and he was given the option to take a release.
After the annoucement of Guertler's departure, the 2014-2015 roster went live with 19 players listed and no mention of incoming freshmen.