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College Hockey:
Gardiner leaves Gophers to play in USHL

Minnesota freshman forward Max Gardiner will not be back with the Gophers next fall, choosing to leave the program to play junior hockey in the United States Hockey League with the Dubuque Fighting Saints.

Dubuque obtained Gardiner’s rights in this past Monday’s USHL Entry Draft.

“We had a good conversation and he was disappointed in the ice time he received last year and was concerned about playing time in the upcoming season,” Minnesota coach Don Lucia said in a statement. “Leaving assures him of the ice time he is looking for. I am disappointed he is leaving, but I understand his decision and wish him all the best.”

“It’s just what’s best for me,” Gardiner said to KSTP.com.

Drafted last June in the third round by the St. Louis Blues, Gardiner said the Blues would “support it either way if I stayed or not.”

Gardiner posted a goal and two assists last year in 17 games.

Gardiner’s older brother, Jake, left Wisconsin earlier this offseason to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs and give up his senior year with the Badgers.


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  • John John Maclain Now!

    Gotta love that!  The Sioux players leave early for the NHL while the Goofs leave to go back to the development league…… 

    • guest

       yawn…

    • D Man

      I didn’t think going down a league was allowed – kindof like going back to play college hockey after signing a pro contract. 

    • Blinky the Wonder Chimp

       The Sioux leave early for the NHL or for jail.

      Congrats to Frattin on the Hobey!

  • Pcarlson

    Go to UMD after USHL Max…Lucia doesn’t know how to develop hockey players.

    • Anonymous

      shall we compare the number of former Gophers in the NHL versus the number of former Bulldogs? yeah, didn’t think so….

  • Bige11

    No disrespect, but the kid is not good.
    Typical story of parents buying their kids success.
    I feel bad for Max, but sooner or later you realize that ice time is in direct proportion
    to how good you are on the ice. Not how well Daddy knows the coaches.

    • Anonymous

      yep, he clearly wasn’t ready. 

  • Jhuntmaster

    Bige11, sounds like you are jealous? You really don’t know either Max or is father. Time for you to let go of being cut from your HS team. 

    • Anonymous

      he had enough playing time for anyone who knew anything about hockey to know he didn’t deserve much (playing time), wasn’t ready, and that this is probably a good move for him.

  • Dale H.

    No offense, but the gophers are not the team they once were.