Mueller passes on Gophers for pro style of Western league

Aaron Blake

Peter Mueller verbally committed to play hockey at Minnesota when he was 15. Since then, he’s done much thinking, and at 17, he’s decided that maybe the Gophers aren’t the best fit for his future after all.

Mueller signed a contract with the Everett (Wash.) Silvertips of the Western Hockey League, passing on college hockey for the pro-style game of the Canadian junior league.

“It was one of my dreams to play (at Minnesota),” Mueller said. “I just want to do whatever will be best for me, and right now what’s best for me is going to the Western Hockey League.”

Mueller, who just completed his sophomore year of high school and would’ve joined the Gophers in 2006, scored 30 goals and 29 assists in 46 games for the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-18 Team last season. He had four goals and three assists in the team’s gold-medal campaign at the IIHF World Under-18 Championships in the Czech Republic.

Mueller said he informed Gophers coach Don Lucia of his decision July 5 and the conversation went well. He said he lost much sleep weighing his options, and he hopes for people’s support despite going back on the commitment.

“I can’t take back what I’ve done,” Mueller said. “At the time, I loved that I did it. But when I was getting older, I started to realize maybe it was too early.

“But I don’t regret anything that I’ve done.”