The University of Minnesota, in a highly unusual move, issued a news release denying rumors that sophomore center Jordan Schroeder is leaving. Here is the release sent at 6:27 p.m.
If I was a conspiracy buff, I might suspect that somone was trying to sabotage the U's recruiting efforts with this gossip.
Here is the U of M statement:
With rumors surrounding the future of Jordan Schroeder, the Gophers’ sophomore forward has stated he has no intention to leave the University of Minnesota men’s hockey program.
“I am fully committed to this team and university,” said Schroeder, who serves an assistant captain this season for the Gophers. “I have no intention of leaving college early to play pro hockey.”
“It is unfortunate that these rumors continue to come out and I have no idea where they begin. I think it’s important for me to publicly state that I am going nowhere. I am dedicated to this team and plan to help us reach our goals for the remainder of this season and future years.”
Schroeder was a first-round draft choice last summer by the Vancouver Canucks and has been the center of several internet rumors over recent months regarding his future in college and professional hockey.
Then there was the Aaron Ness rumor. I got several e-mails on it. Ness is looking into transferring to North Dakota, where his father went to school.
I had talked to Ness, a sophomore defenseman, for a few minutes earlier in the day. Obviously, I didn't ask him if he was thinking of leaving. I had not heard the rumor yet. He seemed his normal self.
To check out the rumor, I called his father Jay in Roseau.
"He loves it there," Jay Ness said, referring to the U of M. "Obviously he wants to win, but it's early in the season."
No hint of family discontent with the U program.
But the hockey situation at the U has been a little chaotic lately. First defenseman Nick Leddy suffers a broken jaw. Then four days later, forward Jay Barriball suffers a season ending knee injury and has surgery last Friday.
And, Monday, sophomore defenseman Sam Lofquist tells coach Don Lucia he is leaving the team.
LOFQUIST JOINS GUELPH
On Wednesday, Lofquist was in Guelph, Ontario, practicing with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League. He declined talking to a sports reporter there and the club was mum on him, too.
The paperwork on him had not been completed yet. He has to sign with Guelph, the contract has signed by his parents, too, and the league has to review it.
It is expected all that will be done by Friday so he can play for the Storm at Plymouth.
The Storm is 9-9-0 with one shootout loss. It is tied for eighth place with two other teams in the 10-team Western Conference. Rotten considering the Storm was picked to be a top three team.
But four top forwards missed Guelph's last game with injuries and one of the team's seven defensemen is out for a month with a dislocated shoulder. So the Storm is down to six defenseman -- as are the Gophers without Lofquist, but I stray.
Seems like Lofquist knew where he was going on Monday when he left the U of M. Guelph is a city of 130,000 about 45 miles west of Toronto.
Lofquist went to a training camp with the London Knights of the OHL and knows several players in the league from his days with the national development program in Ann Arbor, Mich.