Minnesota, which suffered considerable losses during the offseason as players departed early for the pro ranks, lost another player Tuesday, this time to injury.
Defenseman Nate Hagemo, a promising element of the Gophers’ blueline, will not return to the ice in the wake of a shoulder injury he suffered in 2004-05.
Hagemo, a native of Edina, Minn., decided to cut short his hockey career due to ongoing issues with the injury. He played in three games last season before taking a medical redshirt, and would have been eligible as a sophomore this season.
“I’m definitely disappointed to hang up the skates, but I felt this was the right decision, both for myself and for Gopher hockey,” Hagemo said. “We did everything we could to get back to 100 percent, but my shoulder just wasn’t getting any better. I can’t thank the entire team and staff enough for the support they have given me the last two years.”
Despite the end of his hockey career, Hagemo will stay on scholarship at Minnesota.
“Although his hockey career is over, the most important thing for Nate is his health,” Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said. “I know this was a tough decision for him to make. We will continue to support him as he finishes school and gets his degree from the University of Minnesota.”
A 5-11, 180-pound blueliner, Hagemo played in 30 games during his freshman season, compiling totals of 2-8–10, and played for the U.S. at the 2005 IIHF World Junior Championship in Grand Forks, N.D.
He was selected 58th overall, in the second round of the NHL Entry Draft, by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2005. Prior to joining the Golden Gophers, Hagemo played two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., and one season of prep hockey at the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield, Minn., helping the Stars to a 2002 Minnesota state high school championship.
Hagemo’s decision leaves the Golden Gophers with seven defensemen in senior captain Mike Vannelli, juniors Alex Goligoski and Derek Peltier, sophomore R.J. Anderson and freshmen David Fischer, Erik Johnson and Brian Schack.