To the delight of Dinkytown, Logan Cooley is coming back to Gophers
After leading the Minnesota Gophers in all offensive categories as a freshman, the talented center from Pittsburgh will hold off on signing a pro contract and make another run at a NCAA title.
MINNEAPOLIS — With their sights set on nothing less than a third consecutive Frozen Four, and the program’s sixth NCAA title in 2024, the Minnesota Gophers got perhaps the most important piece needed to solve that puzzle on Friday.
Logan Cooley, who dazzled the college hockey world as a freshman and was one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award in his rookie season, announced he will return to the U of M for the 2023-24 campaign.
One of the most highly-touted prospects coming out of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program a year ago, Cooley led the Gophers in all offensive categories last season with 22 goals and 38 assists for 60 points in 39 games.
Picked third overall by the Arizona Coyotes in the 2022 NHL Draft, Cooley could have signed a pro contract at the conclusion of the Gophers’ season, but took some time to think things over before announcing his return for a second college campaign. Originally from suburban Pittsburgh, Cooley turned 19 in early May.
He spent much of his freshman season centering fellow rookie Jimmy Snuggerud and sophomore Matthew Knies on one of the most dynamic lines in Gophers hockey history. Knies, who signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs at the conclusion of the college season and played an important role in their first round playoff series win versus Tampa Bay, was also a top three Hobey finalist. Snuggerud announced his return to the U of M for a second season shortly after the team returned from the Frozen Four, where they fell to Quinnipiac in overtime of the NCAA title game.
9️⃣2️⃣ IS BACK‼️— Minnesota Men’s Hockey (@GopherHockey) May 19, 2023
Hobey Baker finalist Logan Cooley will return for his sophomore season with the #Gophers!#PrideOnIce pic.twitter.com/sjUaidi4QW
Cooley was also an All-Big Ten first team selection after he and Snuggerud tied for the season scoring title in conference games.
Recent news out of Arizona , where a vote to secure a new arena for the Coyotes failed on Tuesday, may have played a role in Cooley’s decision to hold off on signing a pro contract for another year. The Coyotes are currently playing in Mullett Arena — with fewer than 5,000 seats — on the Arizona State campus, and they face an uncertain future. Although team officials announced this week that they will play the 2023-24 season in Arizona while they consider different options for their future.
Cooley's announcement comes in a week where the Gophers' roster for next season is coming together rapidly, with center Jaxon Nelson and top goalie Justen Close recently announcing their intent to return for their fifth seasons in maroon and gold.