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Minnesota Wilderness captain Cole Gordon commits to dream school Arizona State

Gordon, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound forward, is a big, physical presence for the Wilderness who plays a key role on the penalty kill

A hockey player wearing a red, beige, green, and black uniform lifts up his arms to celebrate after scoring a goal.
Cole Gordon of the Minnesota Wilderness celebrates to the crowd after scoring a goal.
Contributed / Minnesota Wilderness

CLOQUET, Minn. — When Arizona State called Cole Gordon on a Monday in late February, it only took about 24 hours for the 20-year-old forward to receive an official offer from the school — an offer that he immediately accepted on the spot.

"It was just like a random Monday and ASU called me out of the blue, and I actually missed the first call because we were about to go on the ice," said Gordon, who then called them back after practice. He then talked to head coach Greg Powers the very next day and accepted the offer they shot his way.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound forward previously thought of ASU as his dream school, since he grew up mainly in Colorado and would be fairly close to his family there, and he even has grandparents that live in Arizona. It also helps that his uncle, Boyd Gordon, spent three seasons playing in the NHL for the Coyotes (2011-12, 2012-13, 2015-16) and Cole had watched a good amount of his games down in Phoenix.

"I watched him [his uncle, Boyd] play a game at Gila River, and I was like 'Oh my God, I need to be down here,'" he said on how he grew found of the state of Arizona.

Two hockey players stand next two each other during a game. They are in front of the goalie and ice is spraying up in the air.
Cole Gordon skates for the Minnesota Wilderness in a game against the Anchorage Wolverines.

With family living in Colorado, going home to visit them or having them come out to Phoenix to visit Cole in the future is an easy, less than two-hour flight. He'll be much closer to home than he is now, playing junior hockey in Cloquet.


Although Gordon may tell you that he's from Colorado, he actually grew up in many different places all over the world. His father, Rhett Gordon, played professional hockey all over Europe, and Cole was actually born in Sheffield, England, when his dad was playing for the Sheffield Steelers of the British Ice Hockey Superleague (BISL).

After being born in England, Cole and his family moved all over Europe, including stints in Denmark, Italy, Germany and then eventually back to the USA. Out of all the countries where Rhett played, the Gordon's spent the most time in Germany (four seasons), which is where Cole started to play hockey and where his younger sister was born.

When arriving back in America, Cole played peewee up through bantams in Colorado, and spent a few seasons playing in Boulder for the Rocky Mountain RoughRidgers. But then his own hockey career took him out of the country, as he competed in one season for the Regina Pat Canadians U18 team of the Saskatchewan Male AAA Hockey League (SMAAAHL).

Gordon originally became connected with the Minnesota Wilderness of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) during a draft camp in Colorado. He then was drafted by the team, went to main camp and training camp, and officially made the team his first season in 2020-21.

"My first year in juniors I was in and out of the lineup, I only played about 28 games," he said. "But towards the end I got a lot more playing time."

That first year in the NAHL ended up being a wild ride for Gordon since the COVID-19 pandemic ended up affecting the schedule and lifestyle of many junior hockey players.

The forward has been staying with a billet family during his time in Cloquet, and ended up finishing high school online since he went from Colorado, to Saskatchewan, to Minnesota, during his junior and senior years of high school.

Now, in his third season for the Wilderness, Gordon is a captain on the team and has posted eight goals and 13 assists over 50 games in 2022-23. He is a player that Arizona State will likely utilize as a big, physical forward on the third or fourth line who can win faceoffs, block shots, and can kill penalties at critical points of a game.


The Wilderness are currently having a very strong season with a winning record and sit at second place in the NAHL Midwest Division, just two points back of the first place position. The squad will definitely be a team to watch as playoffs start over the next few months.

Gordon, 20, will join the Sun Devils this upcoming fall after he finishes his season with Minnesota.

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Sydney Wolf is a reporter for The Rink Live, primarily covering youth and high school hockey. She joined the team in November of 2021 and graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in Mass Communications and a minor in Writing and Rhetoric Studies.
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