Nick Bjugstad has been named the McNamara Academic Center's student-athlete of the month for June.

I'm sure the timing is just a coincidence with the big decision Bjugstad still has to make: whether to return to the Gophers for his junior season or sign with the Florida Panthers.

He was at Panthers' prospects came in Coral Springs, Fla., last week.

To cynics who think this is another ploy to get Bjugstad to stay, he is really supposed to be a good student. He graduated from high school at Blaine in three years so he play for the Gophers early.

And he is on pace to graduate from the U in three years, too. He is a business and marketing education major like many of his teammates are.

This is what Chris Cords, academic counselor for the men's hockey team, said about Bjugstad's latest award: "Nick has been an extremely hard worker in the classroom. He had a very good spring semester and that has carried over to summer classes. It is obvious that Nick cares about his education, and it is fun to see him work so hard. He is the perfect recipient for this award."

Said Gophers coach Don Lucia, "Nick is very deserving of being named student-athlete of the month. It is rewarding to see that he is not only working hard in the weight room during the summer, but also in the classroom. I would expect nothing less from Nick."

For the full story on Bjugstad's academic award, click here.

Forward Seth Ambroz was the last men's hockey player to be named student-athlete of the month. He received it for September 2011, his first month at the U.

* The female student-athlete of the month for June was Natallia Pintusava, a member of the women's tennis team.


Bjugstad's on-ice honors and achievements last season were numerous. Among them:

* Named to all-WCHA first team at forward

* National player of the month in November when he had nine goals and 13 points

* Picked WCHA offensive player of the week on Nov. 22

* Had 25 goals and 17 assists for 42 points, all those stats were career highs. ... He tied for fifth nationally with his 25 goals.

* He was third on the team with a plus-21 ranking. ... He led the team in scoring proficiency, getting goals on 17.2 percent of his shots. .. He was second in shots with 145, second in unassisted goals with three, tied for second in power-play goal with eight and third in game-winning goals with three.

* He had points in 13 of the Gophers' 16 road games.

To see 11 of Bjugstad's 25 goals, click here. More than 4,000 have viewed this YouTube video.