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Gophers' jersey numbers hit by additional inflation

In nearly a century of Gophers men’s hockey, only four players ever had worn a sweater number higher than 50 prior to Sampo Ranta arriving from Finland in 2018 and donning number 58. That has

Wisconsin vs Minnesota
Minnesota captain Ben Meyers (left) was congratulated by teammates Matt Staudacher (center) and Matthew Knies after a first period goal in the Gophers' win over Wisconsin on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022 at 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis.
Matt Krohn / University of Minnesota Athletics

MINNEAPOLIS — In nearly a century of Minnesota Gophers men’s hockey, only four players ever had worn a sweater number higher than 50 prior to Sampo Ranta arriving from Finland in 2018 and donning number 58. Since then, like the prices at the meat counter of your local grocery store, the numbers on the Gophers’ backs just seem to be going up.

Defenseman Matt Staudacher will again wear 55 for his senior season, while sophomores Rhett Pitlick (77) and Matthew Knies (89) will wear inflated digits once again. Among the sizable incoming freshman class, defenseman Ryan Chesley (71), forward Jimmy Snuggerud (81) and forward Logan Cooley (92) will all join the “over 50” crowd.

Knies, who is from Arizona, picked 89 as a freshman because his favorite Coyote from childhood, Mikkel Bodker, wore that number in the NHL. Cooley – who will likely play for the Coyotes someday – picking the largest number in Gophers hockey history was more a matter of math.

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“There’s no big reason for it, other than 18 was always my number and obviously (Mason) Nevers has it already,” Cooley said. “I just went with a bigger number, and nine times two is 18, so I went with 92. I thought it looked pretty cool too.”

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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