Men’s hockey gets oral committment from Cretin’s Vannelli

Cretin-Derham Hall defenseman Mike Vannelli has orally committed to Minnesota’s hockey team.

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Vannelli will play his senior season with the Raiders and then temporarily join Sioux Falls of the United States Hockey League, his mother Teri said. Vannelli scored 11 goals and added 25 assists at Cretin last season.

Vannelli might then play with the Stampede for the entire 2002-03 season, depending on his physical development this year. Vannelli said University coaches want him to add an additional 10 pounds. Vannelli is working out five days a week in Burnsville this summer to increase his size and strength.

Vannelli, who called the opportunity to play for the Gophers “a dream come true,” is the son of Minnesota hockey legend Tom Vannelli.

Tom played for the Gophers from 1974-77, and won NCAA Championship MVP honors in 1976 for his hand in five of the six goals scored in the title game with Michigan Tech. Vannelli’s 180 career points ranks 11th all-time in Minnesota annals.

– David La Vaque, Staff Reporter

Two Gophers Earn Preseason
All-America Honors

Football News named senior wide receiver Ron Johnson and junior punter Preston Gruening preseason All-Americans.

Johnson, Minnesota’s all time leader in receiving touchdowns, earned second-team honors. Johnson caught 61 passes last season for 1,125 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was named team co-MVP along with center Ben Hamilton.

Gruening, a finalist last season for the Ray Guy award, earned first-team honors. Last season Gruening led the nation during the regular season with an average of 45.2 yards per punt. He was named first team All-American by the Football News last season and has already earned a preseason All-American selection by Playboy.

Street & Smith also honored Gruening as a preseason All-American.

This is the fourth consecutive season a member of the Minnesota football team has earned preseason national honors.