Hirsch practices, status unknown

by Ben Goessling

Forward Tyler Hirsch returned to practice for Minnesota’s men’s hockey team Wednesday, but his availability for this weekend’s NCAA West Regional is still in doubt.

Hirsch missed Saturday’s loss to North Dakota and Tuesday’s practice after an emotional outburst following Friday’s loss to Colorado College in the WCHA Final Five semifinals.

He skated on a line with Brent Borgen and Tom Pohl – who have a combined two appearances in the last nine games – helped the team’s freshmen pick up pucks after practice and was one of the last players to leave the ice.

“In partnership with the University of Minnesota, we are currently determining Tyler’s playing status for the remainder of the season,” Hirsch’s family said in a statement. “Tyler skated with the team today and awaits the University’s decision to clear him for this weekend.”

The team’s leading scorer, Hirsch was not in the Xcel Energy Center for Saturday’s game after firing a slap shot at an open net and crashing into it Friday night.

Coach Don Lucia has remained quiet about Hirsch’s status and kept players off limits to the media for the first time all year Wednesday.

“Tyler has been cleared to practice with the team as of Wednesday,” Lucia said in the statement. “His playing status for the rest of the season is yet to be determined. We’re happy to have Tyler back with his teammates.”

Defenseman Alex Goligoski also practiced with a cast on his left hand and could play Saturday against Maine.