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College Hockey:
Sharks sign UMD’s Mike Connolly

Just days after its first national title, Minnesota-Duluth will look to retain that championship next season without junior forward Mike Connolly, who from a report in the Duluth News Tribune, will sign with the San Jose Sharks.

“Any player just wants an opportunity to play, and the coaching staff here gave me a chance. The rest is up to you,” said Connolly in the report. “I was pretty fortunate to play here with such good teams. I talked with my parents and the coaching staff about my future, and I’m excited about the next challenge.”

Connolly said the final details of the contract have yet to be worked out and he’d officially sign within a few days.

Connolly led the Bulldogs in goals this season with 28 and had 54 points in 42 games. He will leave UMD with 55 goals and 81 assists for 136 points in 123 games.

“Mike has been a heck of a player for us for three years and I’m happy for him,” added Minnesota-Duluth coach Scott Sandelin. “We would’ve loved to have had him for another season, but there’s more of a chance for players his size now in the NHL and this is a great opportunity.

“He was as good as anyone on our team this season and is a gritty player with a great intelligence for the game.”

UPDATE: The Sharks made the signing official on Friday with a press release.

“Mike has proven his ability at the collegiate level and we are excited to help him take the next step in his hockey career,” said San Jose GM Doug Wilson. “Head coach Scott Sandelin and assistant coaches Brett Larson and Derek Plante at Minnesota-Duluth have created a terrific, winning environment for young players to succeed and Mike will benefit from that experience moving forward.”


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  • Wchafan

    Good luck to him in the Sharks’ organization. He had a terrific career at Duluth. As a WCHA fan I’ll miss seeing him in the college game, but wish him well as he tries to reach the NHL.

  • Blldgshockey11

    No one was more exciting to watch than Mike Connolly! I will miss him and wish him luck. cant wait to see him in the NHL

  • Bfryberger

    Mike is a very crafty player, a pleasure to watch
    to watch and a real credit to the game

  • Kroger

    If UMD loses Jack Connolly too, I could honestly imagine them finishing bottom half of the WCHA next year. JT Brown will be phenomenal regardless.

  • Sueh8ter

    they are going to lose faulk too. not sure about jack and with graduation, they will be lucky to be .500 next year. that is how it goes when you recruit the best, they WILL leave early. welcome to reality.

    • GoDawgs!!

      Jack and JT are staying. Dogs will be fine next year. Claiming a sub .500 season due to loss of Mike and Justin is off base but its hockey and these are still kids. UMD did have a slide after the ’04 FF but they lost a lot of leadership in that senior class and there were “issues” and “distractions” with the returning players. The kids at UMD returning are solid characters. UMD’s question marks will be D since they’ve lost 2 to early signings and 2 to graduation. They only have 3 returning D that played this year. But look for Luke McManus (redshirt freshamn) to step in and make an immediate impact as well as Andy Welinski to step right in. Also they have Kenny Reiter returning who just won a national championship and Matt McNeely coming in as a freshman (US National U-18 team and a Central Scouting rated top 5 goalie for North America) so goaltending should be solid. Forwards will be very good still despite losing Mike and Fontaine. Watch for Caleb Herbert to step in as a freshman on the #1 line with JT and Jack. 2nd and 3rd lines line will be more than solid with Oleksuk, Seidel, Basaraba, Tardy, Hendrickson, Grun, Flaherty and Delisle all returning. Returning forwards on 3rd and 4th lines will be fighting for ice time – a good problem to have.

  • Oil Drum

    They’ll be fine as long as Jack Connolly stays. WIth a line of Jack Connolly, JT Brown and someone else along with a second line centered by Oleksuk they’ll be just fine. Besides I dont see anyone running away with the WCHA next year. It should be very even

    • Jdorf40

      I’m a Sioux fan that lives out in Michigan. I had only gotten to see Duluth play on tv against the Sioux this year. Both the Connolly’s were a lot of fun to watch, but at the Frozen Four I thought the person who surprised me the most was Brown. That guy has some flat out explosiveness. He’s super fast. I think the most important play of the entire weekend for Duluth was when they drew a penalty and were taking a face off in their end with around 10 minutes to go in the 3rd vs. Michigan. Brown took the puck up the left hand side of the ice and turned on the burners drawing a holding penalty to even it up at 4 a piece. Absolutely awesome effort on his part. He sort of reminds me of Darren Helm of the Red Wings. He’s pretty average when it comes to the hockey skills, but his insane effort every time he’s on the ice coupled with his crazy speed make him deadly. I’m looking forward to watching that guy play more.

  • GoDawgs!!

    Jack and JT are staying. Dogs will be fine next year. Claiming a sub .500 season due to loss of Mike and Justin is off base but its hockey and these are still kids. UMD did have a slide after the ’04 FF but they lost a lot of leadership in that senior class and there were “issues” and “distractions” with the returning players. The kids at UMD returning are solid characters. UMD’s question marks will be D since they’ve lost 2 to early signings and 2 to graduation. They only have 3 returning D that played this year. But look for Luke McManus (redshirt freshamn) to step in and make an immediate impact as well as Andy Welinski to step right in. Also they have Kenny Reiter returning who just won a national championship and Matt McNeely coming in as a freshman (US National U-18 team and a Central Scouting rated top 5 goalie for North America) so goaltending should be solid. Forwards will be very good still despite losing Mike and Fontaine. Watch for Caleb Herbert to step in as a freshman on the #1 line with JT and Jack. 2nd and 3rd lines line will be more than solid with Oleksuk, Seidel, Basaraba, Tardy, Hendrickson, Grun, Flaherty and Delisle all returning. Returning forwards on 3rd and 4th lines will be fighting for ice time – a good problem to have.