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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.

Minnesota's Logan Cooley celebrates his second period goal against St. Cloud State'during the NCAA Fargo Regional championship game on Thursday, March 23, 2023, at Scheels Arena.
David Samson/The Forum

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.

Logan Cooley
Contributed / USA Hockey

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.


Cooley was also an All-Big Ten first team selection after he and Snuggerud tied for the season scoring title in conference games.

A prep state champion as a sophomore, Begley spent parts of the last two seasons in the NAHL, most recently with the Wisconsin Windigo where he was the team's top-scoring defenseman.
Starting next season, men's and women's season-ticket holders for the Minnesota Gophers will be able to return seats they cannot use and get credit for future season ticket purchases.
The defenseman originally from southern California was a four-year regular on the U of M blue line, and a first-round pick of Buffalo in 2019.
Transfers from St. Lawrence, Princeton and UMD will help bolster the Gophers on the back end next season as they try to find a way back to the Frozen Four and repeat as WCHA tourney champs.
The Minnesota Gophers center led the team in scoring on the way to a Big Ten title and a trip to the NCAA title game, and recently announced he will return for a sophomore college hockey season.
Fargo native Trent Wiemken has gone 8-1-1 in the Robertson Cup playoffs as the mainstay goalie for the Austin Bruins playoffs while working with former Minnesota Gophers goalie Nick Lehr's coaching.
The former Minnesota Mr. Hockey winner is coming off a senior campaign where he notched career highs in goals and points while playing right wing on the Gophers' second line much of the season.
When the vote to build a new Arizona Coyotes rink in Tempe failed, a big piece of their future decided that NHL hockey can wait another year, and Logan Cooley announced his return to the U of M.
After coming to the U of M as a walk-on in 2019, Justen Close became the team's mainstay in goal in January 2022 and has backstopped two Big Ten titles and two Frozen Four trips.
The Minnesota Gophers' biggest body and top faceoff man scored his career-best 10th goal of the 2022-23 season in the second period of the NCAA title game in Tampa,
Murphy grew up in an Illinois family with two brothers who have played college sports, a mother who played college softball and a dad who was a Marine. She won gold last month with Team USA
The former Ms. Hockey winner has been a defensive mainstay for the past four years, and is on track to attend medical school when she is done playing in March 2024.

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.

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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