Gophers Women's Hockey 2024-25 Season

GopherMarroon

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The talent-packed Gophers season starts with a bang. The Gophers open the season at the defending Hockey East champions UConn.

That is followed by a series hosting Boston University.

Then the Gophers hit the road to play the defending NCAA champs Ohio State. Boom!

If that weren't enough, boom, the Gophers host Wisconsin loaded with snipers.

Not to be missed!



The Gophers are loaded with talent, including intenationally famous (infamous) Abbey Murphy.






The incoming Gophers recruiting class is exceptional.


 
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Tickets at:



Social media:



 



2025 NCAA Women's Hockey Frozen Four

The University of Minnesota will host its seventh NCAA Women's Frozen Four in school history and its fifth at Ridder Arena.

Previous years include the inaugural 2001 and 2006 championships at Mariucci, followed by the 2010, 2013, 2015, and 2018 championships at Ridder Arena. No other city has hosted the event more than three times.


“We are excited to welcome fans, visitors, student-athletes and coaches back to our wonderful region to celebrate collegiate sports,” said Melvin Tennant, Chief Executive Officer of Meet Minneapolis and Executive Board member of Minnesota Sports and Events. “The NCAA has complete confidence in the University of Minnesota as the host institution for these collegiate championships, and the procurement of these events further cements the region’s national status as a proven championship-caliber host community."

 

Women's hockey has been around a long time at University of Minnesota.


25+ Years of Minnesota Golden Gophers WCHA Women's Hockey

1997 was the first season for University of Minnesota Women's Hockey, the current team.








Over 100 Years Since the First Gophers Women's Hockey



"In 1918, according to University of Minnesota “Gopher” yearbooks, some 30 women tried out for the first-ever Gopher Women’s hockey team. Oftentimes playing to large crowds, the women played through the 1920’s at the skating rink on Northrop Field (near the Armory on the UofM campus)."



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The Abbey Murphy Effect

The American Hockey Player the Rest of the World Loves to Hate


The increased physicality of women's hockey can be traced back to trendsetter Abbey Murphy, I can't say exactly how much. As someone who's seen her play many times, teams definitely respond to her with increased trash talk, shoves, knock downs, and trips that never get called. The refs let it go because it seems the agitator is getting ice justice back.

Catch the action this season. Friday nights or Saturday afternoons are times for Gophers Women's Hockey, so tune in.

Murphy led the NCAA in goals last season (33 tied with Kirsten Simms of Wisconsin). Murphy for awhile was leading in goals-per-game until #1 overall draft pick Sarah Fillier passed Murphy in goals per game. Congrats to Fillier to achieve that! She's a star.




Murphy was a Patty Kazmeier top-10 finalist. Will she make it to the top 3? Kristen Simms of Wisconsin won the WCHA Forward of the Year award and should have won the Patty Kaz except the final 3 candidates included two Badgers who split the vote and gave the award to an East Coast player who wasn't drafted until the last pick of the 3rd round, Izzy Daniel.

You do not want to miss Wisconsin when they come to town. Get your tickets to Gophers-Badgers.


Gophers Team Hockey

The Gophers play team hockey. Stay tuned this season as players reach for dreams, the story unfolds.







The incoming rookie class is amazing. i will post about them in a future post.

Many young talented returning players too.


Tickets are cheap. You can turn back tickets you don't use for a credit towards next season. (That was the policy last season and assume the same this next season). Attend some games and roll the credits forward to next season.


Game audio streams free online. The free audio/radio broadcast is really good.

Access that at the schedule link.



BIG+ for live game video is low in cost compared to others sports packages.

When the season approaches, watch for the WCHA, school, or hockey pass subscriptions, typically $40-$60.



Get into the habit of tuning in. I use all three: live games, live video, and live audio. Tune in


Tickets at:

 
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The American Hockey Player the Rest of the World Loves to Hate




If Abbey Murphy is the player others love to hate....

Then Ohio State coach Nadine Muzerall is the coach I love to hate. With humor, nothing mean-spirited intended.

She is the best coach in college hockey.

But I really dislike Ohio State.

That machine -- by that women.

Ohio State repeatedly cheats with rough, cheap physical hockey. They get away with it. Refs don't call it.

I was at a Gophers game against another team not Ohio State. I sat next to a parent of a player for the other team. I started talking about how bad Ohio State was with their cheating trash. That triggered an animated retelling by the parent about all the cheap, thug penalties Ohio State gets away with. Not called. Not called. Not called.

They are mean in a sneaky way. But it's even worse.

It's the way they skate.

The way they pass.

A machine.

The Muzerall machine.

She won two NCAA Frozen Four championships in the last three years. The third was a loss to a loaded underdog Wisconsin team.

Wisconsin has an amazing collection of snipers. Just look at the roster. Simms, O'Brien, Harvey, Edwards, Murphy...

With Ohio State it's a machine, the Muzerall machine.

Like a swarm of killer bees taking formation.

I dislike Ohio State! Even if I agree the coach is the best.


Nadine Muzerall is a former Gophers great player. She's a former Gophers assistant coach.


So now it makes complete sense.





Minnesota Gophers play at Ohio State October 11 and 12.


Ohio State plays at Minnesota January 31 and February 1.


If you're around, you probably should get tickets to the game.
 

Gophers land defender Sydney Bailey from Rogers.



She scored 18 points last season, third on her team, including 7 goals (26 games). (Gathered from MNGirlsHockeyHub)
 

With compliments out of the way to the Coach of the Year (forced to play in a shabby ice arena not up to OSU's standards), Minnesota Gophers coach Brad Frost is one of the best too.




Frost twice was named national coach of the year. He was a finalist for AHCA Coach of the Year nine times. He was WCHA Coach of the Year four times.

Astoundingly, Brad Frost even coached the Gophers to a perfect 41-0 season.


Frost has won four NCAA championships. Recently he built a title-caliber team in 2022-23 that by far led the NCAA in scoring, with players like Taylor Heise and Grace Zumwinkle, but upset in OT by a Wisconsin team that would also upset Ohio State. Minnesota convincingly beat both those Ohio State and Wisconsin teams in the WCHA tournament that season, I was there, before heading to the NCAA tournament.

It's a Minnesota curse, being upset in the postseason. Just ask the Minnesota Wild and North Stars (no Stanley Cups), Vikings (four Super Bowl losses), and now the T-wolves too (argh). We will take the many national titles won by Gophers hockey women and men.

WCHA competition is INTENSE.




Right now Wisconsin's coach Mark Johnson owns the most wins of any coach (629). Brad Frost at Minnesota should eventually surpass Johnson.

Frost ended the 2023-24 season with a career record of 499-109-41 (.805).

There is a little heat on Frost because expectations at Minnesota are high. Last season he "only" advanced to the NCAA tournament. Frost will come through, 100% certain.

The incoming recruiting class is astounding. More about them in a future post.

 
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I don't think people fully realize the incredible load of talent in the WCHA this upcoming season.

Do not sleep on Wisconsin. If there are a few things you have to know about college hockey, one is the astounding talent on the Wisconsin roster, a slaughter roster.

Ohio State just had the most top players drafted into the pro draft. A domination.


Less obvious are those younger Wisconsin players too young to go pro. Some don't realize they could beat an all-star team of ECAC and HockeyEast combined, no joke. Look at the Wisconsin roster. Look. It's a slaughter roster. (provocative hook)

And now Minnesota just reloaded again with a roster that includes a phenom from Canada (a high-scoring defender), Minnesota Ms Hockey, multiple star Minnesota players defense and offense, the best Canadian U18 defender not the phenom, and the U18 goaltender from Canada, the best.

That is adding to a Gophers team that already made the NCAA tournament including Abbey Murphy.


Before that, Minnesota had Taylor Heise (playoffs MVP as a rookie) and Grace Zumwinkle (Rookie of the Year)


MVP Natalie Spooner came from the WCHA too, Ohio State.




The WCHA is a tough league of the best. Gophers will compete for #1.


WCHA just celebrated 25 years with 25 top players.





 
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Speaking of WCHA coaches, salutations to coach Maura Crowell of UMD. She has accepted the coaching job at Dartmouth closer to family. She leaves behind a very good record at UMD.

She took the Bulldogs to the NCAA championship game but lost 2-3 to Ohio State. Numerous top players played for her.

The WCHA is brutally competitive. UMD over the years has been able to hang with a four-team power group including Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio State -- although lately #4.

UMD hasn't won the WCHA championship or WCHA tournament championship since 2009-10 despite nationally ranked top-10 year after year. The WCHA is tough.
 

UMD will host the WCHA Final Faceoff tournament for the 2024-25 season.



"The Western Collegiate Hockey Association officially announced Saturday that the 2025 Kwik Trip Final Faceoff will be hosted by the University of Minnesota Duluth and held at Amsoil Arena in Duluth, Minn. on March 7-8, 2025.


The WCHA's final four team postseason tournament returns to AMSOIL for the first time since 2012, and follows the 2023 NCAA Women's Hockey Frozen Four, which was held at AMSOIL just last season.


"The WCHA Final Faceoff is an annual showcase for women's hockey," said UMD Director of Athletics Forrest Karr. "We look forward to hosting and intend to ensure that participating teams and fans have a quality experience in every way during their time in Duluth."


2025 will mark the third time in WCHA history the postseason tournament has been in Duluth – in addition to the 2012 tournament, UMD hosted its first WCHA's Final Faceoff in 2008 at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center. Annually pitting the nation's top programs and players, the WCHA Postseason Tournament is capped by the four-team, two-day Kwik Trip WCHA Final Faceoff, the premier conference tournament in women's collegiate ice hockey.


The winner of the WCHA Final Faceoff receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Championship."
 

Minnesota Gophers will contend for #1.


Canada MVP Chloe Primerano – phenom scoring leader from the blue line. The first female drafted by the men's CHL pro league:




Minnesota Ms Hockey Ayla Puppe leads a stellar group of Minnesota players:




Center Ella Huber is Abbey Murphy's line partner. They grew up playing hockey together in Chicago:




The one and only Abbey Murphy:





Last season, the top four scorers in the NCAA came from the WCHA.





The WCHA on Instagram at this link:




Gophers will contend for #1!
 
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Peyton Hemp is captain for the Minnesota Gophers. She played high school hockey at Andover. She won a U18 gold medal and Minnesota Ms Hockey.

This last season she contributed in many ways. Her teammates overwhelmingly voted her captain. She was fourth on the team for points (30), good but not among the high scoring players in the WCHA.

Her first season with the Gophers she was named National and WCHA Rookie of the Year. The next season she was WCHA All Tournament team.

 



Returning freshmen include:


-Forward Emma Kreisz. She has a terrific shot. She scored 25 points last season. She has good size at 5' 9". She made Rookie of the Year watch list. She played in Canada for Stanstead College as her High School and the Hungary national team. To me she "looks the part" of a top line top scorer.




-Ava Lindsay. She scored 23 points last season. She can really move. She made Rookie of the Year watch list. She played for Minnetonka and Team USA before coming to the Gophers. Lindsay was Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year.




Also:

-Lauren O'Hara. She was Pioneer Press East Metro Player of the Year for Centennial. She's 5' 11". She scored 5 points last season.




Sophomores returning include Madison Kaiser. She was 9th on the team for points. She was a Minnesota Ms Hockey Finalist. She earned a couple Rookie of the Week awards her first season.




In the NCAA Tournament last season, #5 Minnesota Gophers and #4 Clarkson Knights skated to 4 overtimes. Clarkson won that thriller.

That's a symbolic measurement of the Gophers last season. They were about as good as the best Eastern hockey team but below Ohio State and Wisconsin. The season before that, the Gophers beat both Ohio State and Wisconsin in the WCHA Final Faceoff tournament to win the tournament and then in the Frozen Four was upset in OT by underdog Wisconsin.





Gophers will contend for #1 in the NCAA against Ohio State and Wisconsin.
 
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Speaking of Layla Hemp and Team USA, Kendra Distad plays with Hemp for Team USA (and for Minnetonka). Kendra Distad is coming to the Gophers this 2024-25 season. She was a Ms. Hockey finalist.













More posts later... I can't write on everything at once.
 



Ella Huber and Abbey Murphy, hosted by Parker Fox of Gophers men's basketball. Terrific interview, worth your time.
 

Transfer Portal



The Gophers added 2024 Hockey East Player of the Year forward Natálie Mlýnková. "In 104 career games with the Catamounts she posted 48 goals, 49 assists for 97 points. She also scored 10 game-winning goals." (UV Athletics) 32 points last season. (% .147). On faceoffs she was 328 won and 241 lost last season.


Gophers added All-Hockey East defender Krista Parkkonen via the transfer portal. As a defender she finished with 21 points on 33 games (% .105).





 
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Let's talk defense. Gophers are a bigger and taller than most. They were pretty good at keeping the pressure up last season. I give coach Brad Frost credit for winning with sound fundaments instead of a whole bunch of top gunslingers they didn't have. Now the reload has arrived.


Defense Losses

On defense, the Gophers lost two of their top defenders to graduation, Madeline Wethington (LD) and Taylor Stewart (RD). Wethington was WCHA Third-team honors.

Defenders Nelli Laitinen (LD) and Maggie Nicholson (RD) will both be back, two of their top four defenders.

Laitinen is emerging as a top player in the WCHA. She is entering her junior season. She was a finalist for WCHA Defender of the Year.




Defense Adds -- Transfer Portal

I assume that Krista Parkkonen from the transfer portal will fill one of the two open defender spots. (See previous post). She shoots left.



Defense Adds -- Freshmen Recruits

Defender Gracie Graham comes to the Gophers this season. She was named CSSHL top defenseman. Two years ago she won top freshman honors.





One defenseman was actually better than Graham, Chloe Primerano named MVP, so the defender award went to Graham. The phenom Primerano is coming to the Gophers this season too.





Defender Kate Kosobud of Moorhead is coming to the Gophers. She was a Minnesota Ms. Hockey finalist.





Defender Carly Humphrey of Elk River is coming to the Gophers as a freshman.





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Rising star Josefin Bouveng enters her junior season. A forward, she was #2 in points for the Gophers.

 
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There are other players contributing and coming up that I don't have information/stats to share. Players break out and progress. We'll watch.

Here is the full roster.



And stats.





Follow news.


Link to Star Tribune Women's Hockey Articles, Click


























 
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"In the future, incoming prospects will likely consider a program's draft success when considering their school.....

Leading the way early is Ohio State who saw 12 players drafted from their program selected in the inaugural two drafts. But it doesn't tell the full story either as half of those players transferred to Ohio State after developing in other programs. This season that included first round draft picks Cayla Barnes and Hannah Bilka, and Hadley Hartmetz who all transferred to Ohio State from Boston College, Lauren Bernard and Stephanie Markowski who transferred from Clarkson, and Raygan Kirk who came from Robert Morris."
 

Transfer Portal for Ohio State and Wisconsin - Key Competitors

How are the neighbors doing? Are we keeping up with the Jones's? Let's see...

First backing up
Gophers signed the HockeyEast Player of the Year Natálie Mlýnková who led her conference in points, one year of eligibility left. Gophers signed a sophomore defender Krista Parkkonen who was 2nd team HockeyEast honors, put up some points from the blueline.



Ohio State
tOSU signed two defenders. They don't stand out much except they played with Team Canada U18 and were only sophomores this last season, now coming into their upper classmen years with OSU.

OSU also signed one of UMD's very good rotating goaltenders. The other goalie is a rookie who is receiving a lot of attention as super good.


Ohio State lost a hemorrhage of players to graduation. We'll look into the recruits later.







Wisconsin
The transfer portal has been negligible for Wisconsin. They lost a few players who are good but replaceable. They didn't pick up much.


Wisconsin lost Britta Curl to graduation. But the rest of their players move up one year in experience.

Wisconsin's 2022-23 recruiting class was off the charts, including Simms (best player in NCAA hockey), Harvey (WCHA defender of the Year), Edwards (made a big splash Internationally this spring too)... Jungels, Etc

Previously in an older post I mentioned top Wisconsin players and failed to mention Lacy Eden, 2nd team WCHA, so doing so now.


Gophers will compete for #1.

In another post, incoming recruits.
 


University of Michigan launches study to explore adding D1 women's hockey. The entire state of Michigan has no D1 women's hockey team. None. By comparison, Minnesota has six.

Michigan produces some of the best players.

--All Rookie WCHA Cassie Hall plays for Wisconsin Badgers, from Michigan.

--Kristen Simms, best player in hockey for Wisconsin Badgers, from Michigan.

--Morgan Nietzke, #4 in NCAA for goals per game (#9 for points per game).

--Elle Hartje of Yale was #16 in NCAA for points per game.

The state of Michigan does have D3 women's hockey teams.
 




I can't wait until game times when Gophers clash with other top players.

Abbey Murphy and all the Minnesota Gophers versus Kristen Simms and all the Wisconsin Badgers, one example. Nobody knows who will win.
 



"Meanwhile the [PWHL] league held silent when Darwitz was announced as a member of the 2024 Hockey Hall of Fame induction class, choosing not to acknowledge the former staff member."



According to the statement made by PWHL, Darwitz was offered the option to stay as GM except to give up draft control to Ken Klee.

Darwitz was given the option to "sit at Minnesota’s table for Monday’s PWHL draft but with no authority," according to this The Hockey News article:



Jess Myers of the Rink Live wrote, "Darwitz, rightly, refused to play along."



The result? Ken Klee delivered the worst in the PWHL draft. Worst in the PWHL. Do the research. Go back and read the GopherHole posts into last 2023-24 season for my view at this link:


Read all articles in this post.

Ken Klee delivered the worst PWHL draft. Worst in the PWHL. Go back and read my GopherHole posts into last 2023-24 season for my view.

Natalie Darwitz is an historic women in the history of women's hockey and women's rights in Minnesota going back over 100 years -- long before the PWHL came to town. Not ok what the PWHL did. Historic.

One of the annual awards should be named after Natalie Darwitz as a symbol of women struggling still against this kind of thing still.

Look at the results of her efforts as GM to build PWHL into the first champion Minnesota, a team effort as women are known to facilitate. Several people get credit. Oops, we've seen again and again.

I do have sympathy for her critics, she made some missteps. Replaced by worst in the PWHL. Should have continued to give her control of the draft still. She was told she had to be silent at the draft table and she declined.

Historic.

She's our icon of Minnesota women's rights and women's hockey history going back over 100 years, despite her shortcomings.


More reading below:














PUSH THE LADDER OVER ON THE WOMEN -- AGAIN -- WHO LED A CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON, REPLACE WITH WORST IN THE PWHL PERFORMANCE


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WOMEN'S HOCKEY AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS ICON KICKED DOWN BY PWHL



#NatalieDarwitz
#PWHL
#MinnesotaPWHL
#WomenRights
#EqualRights
#GlassCeiling
 

Ella Huber is a smart center for the Gophers.

She played with Abbey Murphy in Chicago growing up. They usually play on the same line for the Gophers.

Huber was third on the Gophers in points, a higher producer. I think she will have a great season.

 

The Hockey News: Wethington Dreams Of Pro Hockey and Medical School, In A Story That Starts And Ends In Ottawa​





 

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