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.

Follow Jason on Twitter @JGonStrib

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Gophers hockey adds walk-on Mitch Rogge; four Gophers women on U-22 Select Team

Posted by: Jason Gonzalez Updated: August 18, 2014 - 5:30 PM

The Gophers made a late addition to their roster on Monday. Coach Don Lucia announced that Eden Prairie product Mitch Rogge will walk-on and add a 15th forward to the team.

Rogge appeared in two games for Sacred Heart last season as a freshman, but is expected to be eligible to play for the Gophers this year pending a transfer compliance review. He should help fill the hole left from the departure of forward Gabe Guertler.

The 5-10, 190-pound forward played three years in the NAHL and compiled 23 goals and 32 assists prior to enrolling at Sacred Heart. He was a four-year letter winner at Eden Prairie and was part of the 2009 state championship team with Gpohers senior Kyle Rau.

Guertler, who played regularly on the Gophers’ fourth line as a freshman, was granted his release from the team last month. He has since signed with the Soo Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League.

• Four members of the Gophers women’s hockey team will represent the U.S. women’s U-22 Select Team in a three-game series against Canada, Aug. 21-24 at the Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.

Forwards Hannah Brandt and Dani Cameranesi, and defensemen Milica McMillen and Lee Stecklein were among the 22 selected from the women’s national festival held Aug. 12-16 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Stecklein is one of three players on the U-22 roster that won a silver medal at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

• Two Minnesotans were the top scorers at the 18-U Ivan Hlinka tournament last week in the Czech Republic. Gophers recruit commit Tommy Novak (St. Thomas Academy) led all skaters and Team USA in scoring with five goals and six assists in five games. Brock Boeser, a Wisconsin recruit from Burnsville, was second in scoring with six goals and two assists in five games.

The USA placed third in the tournament with a 5-4 win over Sweden. Canada, who beat the USA in the semifinals, won the tournament with a 6-2 victory over the Czech Republic. 

Lakeville North hockey standout Jack Sadek commits to Gophers

Posted by: Jason Gonzalez Updated: August 13, 2014 - 1:35 PM

The Gophers picked up another local commitment late Tuesday night when Lakeville North incoming senior Jack Sadek announced his decision via Twitter.

The defenseman likely impressed the Gophers coaching staff during the MSHSL state tournament and at the Minnesota Hockey High Performance Model Camp at Mariucci Arena, two weeks ago. Sadek is 6-3, 186 pounds and is listed as one of five Minnesota high-schoolers on the NHL Central Scouting's 2015 Futures List. 

Sadek helped guide Lakeville North to the Class 2A state championship game in March and contributed two goals and two assists during the Panthers' second-place postseason run. He totaled 17 points on the season (six goals, 11 assists) and helpd lead one of the best defenses in the state.
 


Here’s SBNation's breakdown of the incoming recruit from the Model Camp at Mariucci Arena:

Jack Sadek, '97, Lakeville North- For my money, Sadek was the best player at the camp, though as a '97 he was also towards the older end of players there. Sadek didn't really stand out to me during the high school season, and didn't go through the High Performance camps this spring, but he did make the NHL Central Scouting preliminary watch list for next year's draft, and definitely looked like he'll be in the conversation for next season. Listed at 6'1", he's got decent size, moves very fluidly and has heavy shot from the point with a smooth quick release. He really controlled the game when he was on the ice.

Gophers hockey, basketball extend partnership with 1500 ESPN

Posted by: Jason Gonzalez Updated: August 7, 2014 - 11:19 AM

The Minnesota athletics department and Learfield Sports announced a new three-year agreement with 1500 ESPN to broadcast Gophers men’s hockey and men’s and women’s basketball.

The agreement extends the current broadcast relationship through the 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 athletic seasons. All of the men’s hockey and basketball games, and 15 women’s basketball games, will be broadcast live throughout the three-year period, including post-season programming based on broadcast rights availability.

“This extension of our agreement confirms how we have enjoyed our relationship with 1500 ESPN and the platform they provide for our men’s hockey and basketball programs,” Director of Athletics Norwood Teague said in a statement. “We believe that working with 1500 ESPN provides our programs an outstanding multimedia platform to reach our fans and alumni. Beyond the games themselves, 1500 ESPN will continue to provide showcase programming for these teams, including coaches’ shows and other content to engage Gopher fans all year long.”

Each sport will also continue to have a weekly in-season coaches’ radio show and other original programming. 

Gophers' Fasching, Collins among 27 remaining at U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp

Posted by: Jason Gonzalez Updated: August 5, 2014 - 9:25 AM

Two of the five Gophers invited to skate at the 2014 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp will extend their stay in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Sophomore forward Hudson Fasching and incoming freshman defenseman Ryan Collins were among the 27 players asked to remain at camp for three more games against the Czech Republic, Finland and Sweden. The players are auditioning for a spot on the U.S. National Junior Team and a trip to the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Canada.

Gophers sophomore forwards Taylor Cammarata and Vinni Lettieri, and defenseman Michael Brodzinski were among the 15 players sent home.

Minnesotan Jack Dougherty (Cottage Grove/University of Wisconsin) was also asked to stay, while local standouts Connor Hurley (Eagan/Notre Dame), Tommy Vannelli (Minnetonka/Medicine Hat), Keegan Iverson (St. Louis Park/Portland Winterhawks), Clint Lewis (Burnsville/Cornell University) and Austin Poganski (St. Cloud/University of North Dakota) were released.

"As a staff, we have been very pleased with the effort and competitiveness of the 42 players in camp," said Jim Johannson, USA Hockey's assistant executive director of hockey operations and the general manager of the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team, in a statement. " The three remaining games this week provide an opportunity for additional assessment of the players that are staying. We will continue to evaluate the players released today throughout the fall.”

Fasching is one of five players from last year’s roster still remaining. The big forward and Gophers junior defenseman Brady Skjei played under Gophers coach Don Lucia on the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team.

Gophers’ incoming international recruit Leon Bristedt scored a goal in one of Sweden's two wins through the opening weekend of competition. 

Full U.S. roster. Complete schedule.

Gophers Frozen Four hero Justin Holl signs one-year contract with Chicago Blackhawks affiliate

Posted by: Jason Gonzalez Updated: August 4, 2014 - 1:03 PM

Seth Ambroz, left, and Justin Holl celebrated Holl's game-winning goal in the national semifinal against North Dakota, last April in Philadelphia. ELIZABETH FLORES/Star Tribune
 

Justin Holl and the Rockford IceHogs (Ill.) agreed to a one-year contract, the AHL member and Chicago Blackhawks’ affiliate announced on Monday morning.

The defenseman anchored one of the best defenses in college hockey, last year, and helped guide the Gophers to the Frozen Four and national championship game. He compiled 13 points (one goal, 12 assists) as a senior and 38 points (eight goals, 30 assists) throughout 142 career games. 

Holl will be remembered most for the game-winning goal he scored in the final second of last April’s national semifinal against rival North Dakota. The 22-year-old from Tonka Bay scored shorthanded with .6 seconds remaining in the third period to advance to the Gophers to their 12th national championship appearance.

Holl was one of five seniors on last year’s squad labeled the “FabFive.” The self-given title was in reference to the group’s four-year commitment to reviving the Gophers hockey program after a brief dry spell from 2007-2011. The seniors were part of three straight regular-season conference championships, a first-time feat for the storied program.

Holl was a second-round draft pick (54th overall) by the Blackhawks in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Read more about Holl in the above links.
 

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