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One NHL game, one NHL goal for Colorado Avalanche rookie Ben Meyers

It took the former Minnesota Gophers captain barely 22 minutes in the NHL to make a mark on the Colorado Avalanche scoring ledger.

Ben Meyers of Colorado Avalanche skates
Colorado Avalanche center Ben Meyers (59) during the first period against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, April 16, 2022 at Ball Arena in Denver.
Ron Chenoy / USA TODAY Sports

DENVER – In his NHL debut, former Minnesota Gophers captain Ben Meyers wasted no time making sure fans of the Colorado Avalanche will remember his name.

Just 2:21 into the second period of his initial game in burgundy and blue, Meyers took a pass from right winger Logan O’Connor and with a loose puck sitting at the top of the Carolina Hurricanes’ crease, Meyers flipped a rising backhander past goalie Frederik Andersen, giving Colorado a 4-0 lead.

In doing so, the Hobey Baker finalist became just the eighth player in Avalanche franchise history to score in his first NHL game. The most recent to do so was almost exactly three years ago, when 2019 Hobey winner Cale Makar scored his his first NHL game after signing a contract following two seasons at UMass.

Meyers, 23, signed a two-year, free-agent contract with Colorado on Wednesday, just six days after his junior season of college had concluded in the Gophers’ 5-1 loss to Minnesota State Mankato in the NCAA Frozen Four semifinals in Boston.

Ben Meyers 0194.JPG
Minnesota Gophers junior forward and co-captain Ben Meyers.
Contributed / University of Minnesota Athletics photo.

He participated in one of the standard rookie traditions on Saturday at Ball Arena in Denver, taking a solo lap around the rink before warmups. Wearing sweater number 59, Meyers skated the majority of his shifts at left wing with O’Connor on the other wing and former Michigan standout Andrew Cogliano at center.


The forward from Somerset, Wis., finished among the top 10 Gophers all time in games played and will join former/future teammate Catie Skaja on the Whitecaps roster for 2023-24.
The duo coached together at Hamline for six seasons and under Brad Frost with the Minnesota Gophers for a season. They take over a Pioneers program that was among Minnesota's best in 2022-23.
The New Prague native is a two-time U18 gold medalist and was a prep standout before producing 146 points in 160 games over five seasons in maroon and gold.
In an unexpected move, the two-time national champion player will not be back with the U of M after two seasons working for head coach Brad Frost and helping her alma mater to the Frozen Four.
With much of his offense returning, we expect coach Bob Motzko will add three forwards, three defensemen and a goalie to a roster that was within a few minutes of winning the NCAA title in April.
After leading the Gophers offensively in his final college season, some thought NHL success was inevitable for the Finnish forward. After battling injuries in the AHL, he is back in Europe.
Larson has international experience from his stint as an Olympic assistant coach in 2022, while Miller will be working his seventh World Juniors for Team USA, and looking for his third gold medal.
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.

He came to Colorado after leading the Gophers offensively, and that was despite missing five games while he skated for Team USA at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.

Meyers is ineligible to skate in the playoffs for Colorado, which is leading the Western Conference as the regular season winds down.

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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