Guentzel Joins Minnesota Staff
08/23/2011, 4:05pm CDT
By Minnesota Hockey Journal
University of Minnesota men’s hockey coach Don Lucia announced today the hiring of Mike Guentzel as Associate Head Coach.
Guentzel, who played defense for Minnesota from 1981-85 and served as an assistant coach for the Gophers from 1994-08, rejoins the Maroon and Gold staff after one year as an assistant coach at Nebraska Omaha during the 2010-11 season. From 2009-10 he was the head coach and general manager of the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers and he was an assistant coach at Colorado College from 2008-09.
“I wanted to hire a Minnesota alumnus, someone who could work with the defensemen, and someone familiar with the WCHA,” said Lucia. “Mike has all the qualities I was looking for and it was an easy decision. Mike knows the league, Gopher Hockey, and also has a tremendous relationship with Grant Potulny and Justin Johnson. He is also energized and excited to be a part of the transition to the Big Ten.”
Guentzel, 48, is a Marble, Minn., native and helped lead the Gophers to back-to-back national championships, to five NCAA Frozen Fours and to 11 NCAA tournament appearances during his previous tenure on the Minnesota staff.
Minnesota won more than 350 games, four WCHA playoff championships and three regular season championships with Guentzel on the bench. He coached two Hobey Baker Memorial Award winners, 13 All-Americans and 23 eventual National Hockey League players including defensemen Keith Ballard, Alex Goligoski, Jordan Leopold and Paul Martin.
“I spent 18 years at Minnesota as a player and a coach and am excited about the opportunity to come back and be part of the staff again,” said Guentzel. “This is a great opportunity and I am looking forward to working with Don, Grant and Justin and to competing for league and NCAA titles. I cannot wait to meet the players and to interact with the alumni, fans and university staff.”
Prior to his first stint at Minnesota, Guentzel spent two seasons as head coach and general manager of the Omaha Lancers of the USHL from 1992-94. He led the Lancers to a combined 89-39-2 record, including a 23-11 mark in postseason playoff action. In his first season, Omaha won both the regular season and playoff championships.
Guentzel began his coaching career in 1986 as an assistant coach for the St. Paul Vulcans, being promoted to head coach and general manager in 1989. The Vulcans won the 1990-91 Junior “A” national championship, and the following year he was honored as the USHL Coach of the Year. He also served three years as assistant coach with the U.S. National Junior Team under Dean Blais (’94), Jeff Jackson (’95) and Jack Parker (’96). He has been a member of the coaching staffs of six U.S. national teams including serving as the head coach of the Select-17 Team in 1991.
Guentzel, who captained the 1984-85 Gophers, tallied 87 career points (12 goals, 75 assists) in 143 games at Minnesota. He graduated from the U of M with a bachelor’s degree in business and human relations.
Following his collegiate career, the 1981 draft pick of the New York Rangers, briefly played professional hockey for the Salt Lake City Golden Eagles of the IHL and the New Haven Night Hawks of the AHL.
Guentzel and his wife, Sally, have three sons: Ryan, Gabe and Jake. Ryan played collegiate hockey at Notre Dame and will play professionally in Europe next year. Gabe is a senior defenseman at Colorado College and Jake is a junior on the Hill-Murray School hockey team.