Minnesota freshman Vannelli leaves school, next destination unknown

Minnesota announced Tuesday that freshman defenseman Tommy Vannelli has decided to leave the program before playing one game with the Gophers.

“After a few weeks of trying to balance academics and athletics, Tommy made the decision this morning that college hockey was not the best route for him at this time,” Minnesota coach Don Lucia said in a statement. “We accept his decision and will move on as a team.”

It is not clear where Vannelli will play this season, though his United States Hockey League rights belong to the Tri-City Storm and his major junior rights are with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League.

Vannelli was drafted in the second round (47th overall) by the St. Louis Blues at the 2013 NHL draft.