Seven Gophers are drafted by NHL teams

When Don Lucia’s Gophers hockey team drops the puck to open the season this October, 15 of the players on Lucia’s roster will have an extra note below their name in the media guide.
That note will include the name of an NHL team that holds the rights to that player.
With eight players already selected in previous entry drafts, another seven were added this weekend at the 2000 NHL Entry Draft in Calgary, Alberta.
Unlike football or basketball, NHL teams can hold the rights to a player until their college career is over, which is why hockey teams can afford to draft players who won’t necessarily jump right to the professional level.
That stipulation should keep the three current and four incoming Gophers who were selected by NHL teams this weekend at Minnesota next season.
The list of seven was led by sophomore center Jeff Taffe, who was a first-round pick of St. Louis.
Other current Gophers drafted were sophomores Matt DeMarchi and Dan Welch. DeMarchi, a defenseman, was a second-round pick of New Jersey. Welch, a wing, went in the eighth round to Los Angeles.
The Gophers also had four players chosen who haven’t even worn the maroon and gold yet.
Paul Martin, Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey this past season, was the first high school player taken in the draft. Like DeMarchi, Martin also went to New Jersey in the second round.
Following Martin were centers Troy Riddle, Matt Koalska and Grant Potulny. Riddle was selected in the fourth round by St. Louis, while Koalska was selected by Nashville in the fifth.
Potulny, the first non-Minnesotan to commit to the Gophers in over 15 years, was also picked in the fifth round by Ottawa.
All-American boys
Two Gophers football players were named last week to Street and Smith’s College Football 2000 preseason All-American First Team.
Center Ben Hamilton, who was a first-team AP All-American last season as a junior, was chosen as one of five players on the offensive line.
On the defensive side of the ball, senior Karon Riley was selected as one of four defensive linemen. Riley, an end, led the Big Ten in sacks last year with 16.
Sear’s Cup standings
It was announced last week that Minnesota’s athletic teams finished 19th in the 1999-2000 Sear’s Directors Cup standings.
The award combines all varsity sports on both the men’s and women’s sides and gives points according to how successful the teams are at NCAA championships.
The Gophers collected 627 points, which was the fifth best total in the Big Ten. This year marked the fifth straight year Minnesota has finished in the top 25 in the nation.
Stanford came in first with 1359.5 points, earning its sixth straight Cup.
Michigan was the top Big Ten team. The Wolverines finished third in the nation, followed by fellow conference foes Penn State (fourth), Ohio State (14th) and Wisconsin (17th).
Coming to America
The Gophers women’s track and field team announced last week they have signed six athletes to join the team for the 2000-2001 season.
And the six, which include two distance runners, two sprinters and two throwers, are from all parts of the globe.
The pair of distance runners are Laine Misch from Dobbinton, Ontario and Darja Vasiljva from Jelgava, Latvia.
Misch was the Ontario provincial champion in the 800 and 1,500-meter runs in 2000.
Tahesia Harrigan of Tallahassee, Fla., and Jessica Mittelstadt of Mankato, are the two sprinters. Harrigan also competes in the long and triple jumps.
The two throwers are Amy Netland of Bagley, Minn., and Megan Johnson of Big Fork, Mont. Both compete in the shot put and discus.
Coach Gary Wilson also announced 18 other athletes have committed to Minnesota as walk-ons as well.

— Compiled by staff reports and area press releases