Eden Prairie standout forward Teddy Townsend follows his heart and picks the Gophers
After watching other stars from Eden Prairie make their way from the Eagles to the Minnesota Gophers and eventually to the NHL, standout forward Teddy Townsend's college choice was an easy one.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – Sometimes you just know you’ve found the one. You can go on dates and look around and explore your options, but in your heart, you already know where you want to be. That applies in the dating world, and for Teddy Townsend, it definitely applied when colleges came calling about his on-ice skills.
Townsend, who is 17 as of Sept. 2, had a breakout season as a sophomore at Eden Prairie High School in 2021-22, and will be the Eagles captain this year under new head coach Mike Terwilliger. So when college coaches expectedly started showing interest in him, Teddy was polite and respectful. He listened to the pitches, and made a few college visits. But his heart had already made a decision long ago.
On Tuesday, Aug. 30, Townsend took to social media and announced that he will be a Minnesota Gopher in a few years.
“It was a long process, but I think in my mind I knew I always wanted to be a Gopher, so that helped me quite a bit,” said Townsend, who had 17 goals and 21 assists in 27 games for the Eagles last season.
Like many Eden Prairie kids, Townsend grew up watching other Eagles who had made the cross-town journey to 3M Arena at Mariucci, and hoped someday to get the chance to emulate the feats of Kyle Rau and Casey Mittelstadt, to name a few. His former coach sees some similarities there.
“If you look at Casey and Kyle, he’s a lot like both of them in that he can score, but he distributes,” said Lee Smith, who retired in late February after 29 seasons as the Eagles’ head coach. “He’d rather get a good assist than a goal probably, but he can do both.”
Townsend was the Eagles’ top-scoring forward on a team that fell to eventual state tournament qualifier Prior Lake in the section playoffs. But even as a sophomore, he earned his team’s trust and played in key situations.
“He’s very dynamic and he was the one everyone tried to defend when they played us,” Smith said. “He wasn’t in awe of it though. We gave him a lot of roles and he ran the power play as a sophomore, which is a big thing. He went toe-to-toe with the top lines, which is great for his development. I think Bob (Motzko) got not only a great hockey player but a great person.”
Townsend said he will play his junior season for the Eagles and is leaning toward playing high school hockey as a senior as well, but said that he will certainly listen if there are USA Hockey and/or USHL offers. Although, if his college choice is any indication, his heart seems to already be set.