Erickson granted scholarship release

by David La Vaque

Mike Erickson, who left Minnesota’s men’s hockey program in mid-January for Des Moines of the United States Hockey League, was granted a release of scholarship by Gophers coach Don Lucia.

Erickson said he requested the release three weeks ago and is unsure whether he will return to the Minnesota program. Erickson plans to stay in Des Moines, Iowa, until the 2004-05 season. He would have two years of eligibility remaining if he returned to school.

“It’s way too early to say whether or not I’ll be back,” Erickson said. “I have a lot of respect for the program, but right now I’m trying to re-evaluate my situation and find a good fit for me.”

Lucia, who has not spoken to Erickson in a few months, said he would meet with the Erickson family at some point in May.

“Everything is on good terms,” Lucia said. “We’re going to see what’s best for the future.”

Since his release, Erickson said he has been contacted by Nebraska-Omaha, Boston University and Northern Michigan.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound wing scored 12 goals and 18 assists in 28 regular-season games for the Buccaneers.

Erickson, rated the No. 1 high school prospect in Minnesota by the Red Line Report in 2001, played in nine games as a freshman before breaking his foot. After contributing zero goals and two assists in 16 games as a sophomore, Erickson and Lucia discussed his hockey future.

Erickson went to Des Moines for more ice time, and Lucia said his scholarship would remain intact if he decided to return to Minnesota.

David La Vaque welcomes comments at [email protected]