With Kangas out, Gophers bring in Fons

John Hageman

With senior Alex Kangas out for the season after undergoing surgery on a torn labrum, the Minnesota men’s hockey team was in need of another goaltender for some added depth. 

Enter freshman Alex Fons.

Fons, who played between the pipes at Hopkins last year, contacted the program about joining after Kangas’ season-ending surgery was announced last week. Fons actually applied to be on the team in the fall, but with three goalie positions filled, the Gophers didn’t need another. 

Instead of going to school elsewhere, Fons spent the fall playing for the Alexandria Blizzard of the North American Hockey League, going 1-2-0 in five games. He also played two games for the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League last season.

Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said Fons has been admitted to school and moved into a dorm, but still needed to fill out some paperwork before joining the team as of Wednesday, and wasn’t at practice. 

Barring injury, Lucia still plans to have Kent Patterson start, but the addition of Fons gives the Gophers some much-needed depth in case such an injury were to occur. The Gophers’ other goalie, Jake Kremer, has only seen action in exhibition games this season.

“In case something were to happen to one of our two, I mean you have to have two available,” Lucia said. “And for practice purposes, Kent doesn’t have to be in the net every second of every practice. He can get some relief and we’ll still have two goalies.” 

Meanwhile, Kangas was seen walking on crutches Wednesday before practice, something he’ll be doing for a couple weeks. Lucia said his road to recovery has already begun.

“I saw him in the training room [Tuesday], and he was doing really well. I mean, better than I even thought,” Lucia said. “He’s already got on the bike a little bit already.”

Kangas said last week he hopes to be fully recovered in four months, in time for the Atlanta Thrashers’ training camp.