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Gophers' ASU trip means Knies goes home while Cooley goes to the office

One of the Knies boys from Phoenix will finally play a game in Arizona after the family hosts the team and dozens of others for Thanksgiving dinner, while a future Coyote visits the place he hopes

Gophers vs Penn State_1603.jpg
Minnesota Gophers forward Matthew Knies (89) makes a pass against Penn State in the second period Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, at 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

PHOENIX – As excited as they are to watch their son play for the Minnesota Gophers in his home state this weekend, there will be something that Miroslav and Michela Knies – Arizonans by way of Slovakia – will be missing: hotel keys.

“I don’t think they’ve come to a game where they didn’t have to stay in a hotel for years,” said Gophers star forward Matthew Knies, who admitted the team’s trip to Arizona State is far from business as usual. “I’m really fired up to get back there, go back home, see my family, go back to my house and have Thanksgiving dinner with all the guys. It’s going to be a special weekend for sure.”

Miro Knies confirmed that in his sixth season as a college hockey parent, he will finally see a son come home for a few games. Matthew’s older brother Phil played four years at Miami (Ohio) and another at Bentley without a trip to the state.

But before the puck drops at Mullett Arena on Friday, perhaps the holiday weekend’s biggest excitement will happen at the Knies house in northwest Phoenix a day earlier. They are planning to host and feed all of the Gophers team members, staff, coaches and any parents who want to join.

Miro joked that it is easier than ordering a clown, a bouncy house and arranging everything needed for a kids birthday party. They will have tables and chairs set up outside in the family’s big backyard where they will serve five turkeys. They are planning for enough to satisfy 50 or 60 guests.

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“We also ordered some pasta, pulled pork, lots of side dishes and sweets, so we should be able to feed everyone,” Miro said.

NHL: NHL Draft
Logan Cooley after being selected as the number three overall pick to the Arizona Coyotes in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft at Bell Centre in Montreal July 7, 2022.
Eric Bolte / USA Today Sports

While Knies spends Thursday at home, his teammate Logan Cooley is headed to the (future) office on Friday and Saturday. Picked third overall by the Arizona Coyotes in the 2022 NHL Draft, Cooley hopes to play professionally at Mullett Arena within a few years. The rink is also the Coyotes’ temporary home while they work to get a new NHL-size facility built in Tempe.

“It’s something I‘ve had circled on my calendar for some time now,” said Cooley, who spent a few days in Arizona at the peak of the summer heat immediately following the draft. “The atmosphere is pretty crazy and I think it’s sold out already so I’m looking forward to being down there.”

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The Knies family is providing the bulk of the food and the venue for Thanksgiving, but other Gophers’ parents are pitching in smaller items and beverages. They look forward to a team and family gathering which wasn’t possible during the pandemic.

“It should be good. To have everyone all together for Thanksgiving is amazing,” said Karri Faber, mother of Gophers captain Brock Faber.

Jess Myers covers college hockey, as well as outdoors, general sports and travel, for The Rink Live and the Forum Communications family of publications. He came to FCC in 2018 after three decades of covering sports as a freelancer for a variety of publications, while working full time in politics and media relations. A native of Warroad, Minn. (the real Hockeytown USA), Myers has a degree in journalism/communications from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He lives in the Twin Cities. Contact Jess via email at jrmyers@forumcomm.com, or find him on Twitter via @JessRMyers. English speaker.
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