College Hockey:
Ness bolts Minnesota for Islanders deal

Minnesota junior defenseman Aaron Ness has given up his senior season with the Gophers to sign a three-year entry-level contract with the New York Islanders.

Ness will report to the Islanders’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and play out the remainder of the 2010-11 season.

“Aaron made tremendous strides this year physically and in the defensive part of his game,” Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said in a statement. “He was a terrific leader and you could count on him to be the hardest worker in practice and he competed hard in every game. At 20, he has a bright future ahead of him. We will miss Aaron, but appreciate all he did for Gopher hockey.”

Ness, drafted by the Islanders in the second round (40th overall) of the 2008 NHL draft, played in 35 games this season, recording 14 points (two goals, 12 assists). He concludes his collegiate career with 111 games played and 43 points on six goals and 37 assists.

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  • Anonymous

    Talk about the love of tradition and hockey in Minnesota and all you see is guys jumping ship the first chance they get…. thank God Frattin has enough respect for his teammates/coaches/school to stick around and take every award he can get his hands on.

    • Guest

      what about parise, toews, stafford, all those guys you had who left?

      • Anonymous

        All much more qualified to enter the NHL and didn’t continue to cripple their team. What is minnesota at now? 13-14 guys leaving early? Ness left HS a year early to play for the gophers… great player with a lot of talent but nowhere near ready for the NHL imo.

      • Goalie Fan

        They all left because they knew they would make an immediate impact on their respective NHL teams… They didnt leave to go play in the AHL or even ECHL like many goofs do! Oshie left early too

      • achybreaky

        Are you really comparing Ness to Parise, Toews, and Stafford?

      • soSIOUXme

        Can’t blame Ness for leaving a sinking (sunk) ship. Toews did leave, but to the NHL, a team he would captain in his second year. A team that would soon go on to the Stanley Cup … and win it. I wish Ness tons of success, love watching any familiar kid do well, yes even the Gophers. But not the same story …

    • chickenstrip6

      what about blake wheeler? he stayed all four years.

      • collegehockeyfan

        he did! And there are a lot of people who respect that! It’s fun to watch talented players at the college level… even if it’s a rodent!

  • GeauxSioux

    IMO if Minne had made a strong run through the WCHA regular season/tourney and thus been in contention for a national championship, Ness would’ve hung around for another shot at the big trophy. Sure, some of the big names from past UND teams did no such thing even with promising collegiate seasons ahead, but this has been an issue with all of college hockey for many years. Just think how good some teams would be every big name played out his college years.

  • Mjoster33

    You all have very good points. Minnesota is not a sinking ship!! Never will be!! It is hard to rebound when you have key guys leave for the pro’s every year. It is hard to find incoming freshman that can make that kind of impact that will keep you on top of the standings in college hockey now days. Minnesota has had key players “jump ship” for the last six years…Klye Okposo started the train. It is hard to build around something that isn’t there. North Dakota, a great hockey program, doesn’t have the number of kids leaving for the pro’s as Minnesota. Until the NHL changes how things are done with college players, we will see more of this to come.

  • Mnman78

    Why wouldn’t he leave? He stands to make millions in the NHL compared to what he would make in the Business and Marketing world. He is young and has a chance to follow his dreams of being a pro hockey player. His academic and professional career in business can wait a couple years, this coming from a SIOUX fan. Good luck Aaron, make the gophers proud! It was your decision to make and you should go through with it with your head held high! Oh and GO SIOUX!!!!

  • DaveTheSlave

    Sad to see Aaron leave because as a junior this season, he brought his game up to the level of a team leader and a mentor to freshment Mark Alt. Best wishes at the next level. In the larger context of the NHL signing underclassmen, I regret the damage to the college game that this trend causes. Not to mention the poor choice that many young men make to leave a good college career behind, languish in the minors, and never see the NHL. Some of the stops in minor league hockey will bring on a bad case of nostalgia for the WCHA.

  • lubdubs

    as much as i hate the gophers, they arent a sinking ship

    • collegehockeyfan

      If you take a look at the history of that program, It’s sinking at an incredible rate… not even making the final five, missing the tournament for a few years in a row now… I would jump ship too

  • Ab5infam

    UNH fan here, however I do respect all college hockey for what it is. Good teams are good for a few reasons 1, talented coaches..2 talented players. Unfortunately for most of the top teams players seem to be leaving school for the pros before they are skilled enouph to make it to the NHL. They tend to skate around the ahl for long periods of time before they get to the bigs, The extra year honing your skills at the college level creates more confidence to go to that level. This is my opinian of course but trust me with all the players from UNH and Mich and many of the other top teams I have forgotten who they are before I see them in the pros, with few exceptions. Very difficult to keep a winning team on the college level when your top players are bouncing to the bigs…

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