ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Former Gopher Garrett Wait's career may be over after suffering serious off-season injury

UMass declared the graduate student forward medically disqualified to compete after an injury suffered during spring workouts. Wait won a NCAA title with the Minutemen after transferring from the Minnesota Gophers following his sophomore season.

2020-21_um_HCKY_uconn_0656.jpg
Garrett Wait, a member of Edina's 2014 state championship team and a former Minnesota Gopher, celebrated one of the nine goals he scored for UMass in the 2020-21 season on the way to the Minutemen's first NCAA hockey title.
Contributed / Thom Kendall for UMass Athletics

AMHERST, Mass. — Garrett Wait’s college hockey career began in a Minnesota Gophers uniform in 2018. After some surprising news this week, it looks as if Wait’s college hockey days ended with a loss to the Gophers in March.

Wait, the 24-year-old from Edina, was medically disqualified to play hockey by the athletic department at UMass, where he has skated the past two seasons. According to a story by Colin McCarthy in the Daily Collegian at UMass, Wait was injured off the ice while training in the spring and the injury is believed to be career-ending.

The Rink Live has learned that Wait suffered a serious knee injury and faces the prospect of multiple reconstructive surgeries.

A standout goal-scorer, first at Edina High School and then with the Waterloo Black Hawks in the USHL for three seasons, Wait came to the U of M for the 2018-19 season, but struggled to find a consistent spot in the Gophers lineup. As a freshman he skated in 19 games with a goal and two assists. After a COVID-shortened sophomore season in which he played in 21 games with two goals and five assists, Wait explored his transfer options.

UMass, coming off a trip to the 2019 NCAA title game, expressed interest in him immediately. Then an assistant coach for the Minutemen, Jared DeMichel had watched Wait in the USHL, and was instrumental in helping him find his next college hockey option.

ADVERTISEMENT

jea-0634-Gophers-vs-Notre-Dame-gm2
Sophomore forward Garrett Wait's first goal of the season gave the Minnesota Gophers a lead in the second period, before Notre Dame rallied to win their Saturday game in Minneapolis. John Autey / The Rink Live

“I’ve seen Garrett for years and had been a fan of his ability to make a play, his ability to think the game,” said DeMichiel, now an assistant coach at Michigan State, in an interview with The Rink Live during the 2021 Frozen Four. “Researching him and talking to other people, I was told he’s a good kid and a good person, and he’s willing to be coached. As soon as he hit the (transfer) portal, I was refreshing that thing every other second, and as soon as he got on that thing, I got his number and gave him a call.”

READ MORE MINNESOTA GOPHERS COVERAGE:
Originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning, the former Mr. Hockey winner known for his speed and scoring prowess became a free agent and is expected to "stay home" signing with the hometown NHL club.
Two decades after his off-ice leadership and on-ice scoring prowess helped the Minnesota Gophers claim the 2002 NCAA title, former Red Wing star John Pohl becomes the second member of his household to be honored by the U of M Athletic Department.
Jess Myers of The Rink Live caught up with Motzko and a couple former players at the Gopher Hockey Alumni Golf Event in Prior Lake, Minn.
16-year-old brother of SCSU defenseman Brady Ziemer commits to play for University of Minnesota
Already taller than 6 feet at just 16, Javon Moore was a Minnesota Gophers fan as a kid and said the hockey program there felt like home on his official visit to the U of M.
Brock Faber, Matthew Knies and Logan Cooley will skate for Team USA when the 2022 World Junior Hockey Championship begins on Aug. 9, as that trio of Minnesota Gophers was named to the Americans' 25-man roster.
Roughly 48 hours after parting ways with Mel Pearson, the University of Michigan picked a former Wolverines player — recruited by Pearson — and assistant coach to lead their program for the coming season.
The American team leadership will have a Big Ten flair, with former Michigan standout Thomas Bordeleau and Notre Dame star Landon Slaggert named alternate captains.
With a pair of commitments this week, the Minnesota Gophers will be adding a familiar name at forward and an adopted Minnesotan on defense in future years. Plus, a Gophers captain will wear the C in international competition.
After five years as their head coach and another 23 as an assistant coach there, Mel Pearson will not return to coach the Michigan Wolverines next season, per a published report. The dismissal comes in the wake of a damning law firm report on transgressions within the hockey program.
A decade ago, I got to know Mel Pearson when he was a college hockey head coach for the first time, and met one of the sport's good guys. As a damning report on his time at Michigan is revealed, it is fair to be disappointed, bewildered and disgusted.
In all, 15 with ties to the Gophers women's hockey program were invited to Buffalo to try out and train for international competition in Denmark and Canada, and 12 will attend.

The Minutemen’s choice to give Wait a new opportunity paid off in a huge way in April 2021. Wait had nine goals and eight assists in 29 games for UMass as a junior. None of those goals was bigger than the overtime winner versus Minnesota Duluth in Pittsburgh that sent the Minutemen to the NCAA title game. Two nights later, they blanked St. Cloud State 5-0 to claim the school’s first national hockey title.

As a senior last season, Wait had 13 goals and 12 assists in 32 games as the Minutemen made it back to the NCAA tournament. They faced the Gophers in a regional semifinal in Worcester, Mass., and saw a 3-1 lead in the third period slip away, as the Gophers rallied to win 4-3 in overtime.

He was a member of Edina’s 2014 state championship team as a sophomore.

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.
What to read next
The 6-foot-1 forward from Woodbury put up 16 points in 29 games for the Pioneers last season as a sophomore and helped lead the team to a third-place finish in Class AA.