Gophers Still Waiting for Welch

Dan Welch won’t return to school at Minnesota for the start of the 2001-2002 season, but Gophers coach Don Lucia is holding a spot for him — for a while.

Welch, expected to join the Gophers after a year hiatus when he was academically ineligible, has not met the requirements to be reinstated in school and will not be eligible to play in the first semester.

“I signed a contract that I would get certain grades, and it didn’t happen,” Welch told Rachel Blount of the Star Tribune of Minneapolis.

After scoring six goals and eight assists in his freshman season with the Gophers, 1999-2000, Welch played for Omaha of the United States Hockey League last season after learning he was ineligible for college play.

With Omaha, he scored 30 goals and added 27 assists while attending a community college in an attempt to get his grades up.

Welch will attend a community college while living at home in Hastings, Minn., and will work out with the Hastings High School team, of which his father is head coach.

“They told me if I get a 3.0 at community college and have a plan to become a better student, there’s a good chance they will accept me back in the spring,” Welch said. “I’m going to keep working.”

Lucia said he won’t fill Welch’s spot on the roster. But if Welch can’t be readmitted for the spring semester, Lucia will look elsewhere.

“If it doesn’t happen in January, it will never happen,” Lucia told Gregg Wong of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “It will be time for both of us to move on.”

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