Olympian Darwitz to sign today

Aaron Blake

U.S. Olympian Natalie Darwitz is expected to sign a National Letter of Intent with Minnesota’s women’s hockey team today according to a source close to the process.

Darwitz, an incoming freshman, will join Olympic linemate Krissy Wendell on the Gophers next season after helping the U.S. to a silver medal. Darwitz led the women’s national team with seven goals in Salt Lake City.

The 18-year old forward has been on the U.S. national team for three years and began as the youngest ever to make the squad at 15. Beginning in seventh grade, she played for four years at Eagan High School, scoring 170 goals before even enrolling in classes there.

“Obviously, adding two Olympians to the mix will be huge on top of what the team has already accomplished in recruiting,” the source said Saturday. “Natalie showed what she can do by leading the Olympic team in scoring while still technically in high school.”

Darwitz joins Wendell, South St. Paul’s Ashley Albrecht, Roseville’s Chelsey Brodt, Blaine’s Krista Johnson, and St. Paul Johnson’s Allison Sanchez in the Gophers 2002-03 recruiting class.

Also helping the team next year will be 2001 Ms. Hockey winner Renee Curtin and Chelsey’s sister, senior Winny Brodt. Curtin was redshirted this season and the elder Brodt returns after a year away from the team.

The class should bolster a Minnesota team that finished first in the WCHA regular season and Final Five tournament, and tied for third in the NCAA Frozen Four.