Just because the ice gave way to lakes, doesn't mean our State of Hockey minds drifted far from hockey news. As usual, this summer has been full of on-ice action. Check out some of the happenings below.
Kyle Rau Returning
Gopher captain and Eden Prairie native Kyle Rau will stick with wearing the Maroon and Gold for his senior season. Rau, a Florida Panthers prospect, announced in July that he would return to the University of Minnesota.
"I love playing hockey at Minnesota and wearing the Maroon and Gold," Rau told Gopher Sports. "Deep down, I know that we have unfinished business here. With the talent we have coming back and the new guys coming in, I think we can have a really special season next year. I'd also like to thank the Florida Panthers. They are a great organization, and I appreciate their understanding of my decision."
Wild About Vanek
Once again the Minnesota Wild managed to make a splash on Free Agency signing day, July 1. The Wild nabbed one of the biggest free agents on the market with Thomas Vanek.
Though it was a well-known secret that the former Gopher had heavy interest in coming back to the State of Hockey, the official announcement had fans going wild for Vanek jerseys -- and thoughts of the Stanley Cup.
Minnesota at the National Level
The State of Hockey was strongly represented on a national level this offseason. Elite players took to USA Hockey National Camps over the summer, with many making their name onto a roster. Here's a look at the breakdown for three of USA Hockey's top squads:
World Junior Championships Evaluation Camp
Ryan Collins (Bloomington)
Jack Dougherty (Cottage Grove)
Hudson Fasching (Apple Valley)
Head Coach Mark Osiecki (Burnsville)
Full camp roster
U-18 Select Team (Hlinka Memorial Cup)
Brock Boeser (Burnsville)
Nicholas Swaney (Lakeville)
Jacob Olson (Woodbury)
Head Coach Derek Plante (Cloquet)
U-17 Select Team (Five Nations)
Kieffer Bellows (Edina)
Mitchell Mattson (Grand Rapids)
Garrett Wait (Edina)
Mark Senden (Medina)
Riley Tufte (Ham Lake)
Samuel Rossini (Inver Grove Heights)
Matthew Kiersted (Elk River)
Ryan Edquist (Lakeville)
Dayton Rasmussen (Eden Prairie)
Minnesota Hockey caught up with USA Hockey's Ken Rausch, the U.S. U-17 team general manager, to explain why Minnesotans tend to be a national team selection.
Minnesota Hockey teamed up with the Minnesota Wild, CCM and Total Hockey to launch the Little Wild Learn To Play Program earlier this year. A great program to help continue to grow the sport even here in the State of Hockey, registration remains open in select locations.