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.
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.
“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.”
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.