Gophers forward Matthew Knies discusses playing hockey in Arizona, Nebraska, Minneapolis and around the world

The sophomore-to-be is a Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick and he talks about his whirlwind freshman season on The Rink Live podcast with Jess Myers and Mick Hatten.

Matthew Knies Draft Media Day
Minnesota Gophers forward Matthew Knies was selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
Contributed / University of Minnesota Athletics photo

"What would a kid from the desert know about hockey?" If you are a Minnesota Gophers fan who asked that question a year ago, you received an emphatic answer from Matthew Knies on the ice last season. The good-sized forward who is a draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs burst onto the college hockey scene and was an offensive catalyst with his size and skill, playing a vital role in their Big Ten title and their run to the Frozen Four. He also skated for Team USA at the World Junior Championships and the Winter Olympics in his "spare time." Back in his native Arizona for the summer, where it was 111 F when he talked to The Rink Live, Knies is preparing to host a summer hockey camp and looking forward to another college hockey season in maroon and gold.


2:00 Freshman year with the Gophers

4:00 Skating in the Olympics

5:00 Being a first-generation American


6:00 Youth hockey in Arizona

8:00 Other youth sports and roller hockey

9:00 Starting his first summer hockey academy

11:00 Advice from Sammy Walker on running a hockey camp

12:00 Playing USHL hockey with Tri-City

14:00 Hitting his growth spurt

15:00 What brought him to the U of M

17:00 The playoff win vs. UMass


20:00 Playing for Bob Motzko

22:00 Looking ahead to next season

24:00 Playing at Arizona State next season

26:00 Decision to return for soph season

28:00 Auston Matthews

30:00 Surviving his first Minnesota winter

31:00 Details on the hockey academy

Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage, a website dedicated to hockey. He began working for Forum Communications in November 2018 and has covered St. Cloud State University hockey since 2010. A graduate of St. Cloud State, he has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist and has been a youth hockey coach since 2014.
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