Men’s hockey signs five to letters of intent

Max Sanders

The Gophers men’s hockey team announced it has signed five student-athletes to national letters of intent. Among the signees, three currently play in the United States Hockey League, while the other two are playing for Minnesota high school teams. Three of the signees are forwards and the other two are defensemen.

Eric Haula, Seth Ambroz, Max Gardiner, Justin Holl and Nate Schmidt all committed to Minnesota during the early signing period.

Eric Haula hails from Finland and is the only player of the five currently drafted by a National Hockey League team.  A forward, Haula was a seventh-round draft pick of the Minnesota Wild last year, taken in the same draft as current Gophers freshman and Minnesota Wild first-round selection defenseman Nick Leddy.

Seth Ambroz currently plays for the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League. The 6-3, 205 pound forward is just 16 years old and has amassed ten points on seven goals and three assists in 12 games for the Lancers this season.

Max Gardiner is also a forward, and attends Minnetonka high school. At Minnetonka Gardiner tallied 45 points on 15 goals and 30 assists last season, earning all-conference honors for his performance. Gardiner’s brother Jake is a sophomore defenseman at Wisconsin.

Joining Gardiner from Minnetonka is Justin Holl. The defenseman had 10 points coming by way of nine assists and one goal last season for Minnetonka. Holl also played four games for the Omaha Lancers and announced plans to rejoin the team following his senior season at Minnetonka.

The second defenseman to committ to the Gophers is Nate Schmidt. Playing for St. Cloud Cathedral high school, Schmidt was the second-highest scoring defensemen in the state last season after tallying 53 points on 25 goals and 28 assists in 31 games for St. Cloud. Now playing for the Fargo Force of the USHL, Schmidt has four goals and six assists in 13 games played.