Welch to leave hockey team for one season

Sophomore forward Dan Welch will not play for the Gophers men’s hockey team in the 2000-2001 season because he is academically ineligible.
Welch will attend a community college in Omaha, Neb., and play for the Omaha Lancers of the USHL before returning to the University for the 2001-2002 season.
Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said Welch wishes to return to Minnesota, and that he has assisted with Welch’s transition to Omaha.
“Everybody has to learn from mistakes, and obviously Dan’s made some mistakes this year in the classroom,” Lucia said. “Hopefully he can go to Omaha and mature, do well academically and get himself in a position to come back.”
Russ Welch, who coached his son Dan at Hastings High School, said if all goes as planned, Dan will come back to the Gophers program with three years of eligibility remaining. Russ has been very pleased with the assistance his son has received form Lucia.
“Coach Lucia has been great,” Russ said. “He’s willing to help Dan and go to bat for him. And Dan is trying to do everything he can now to come back hand play for (Lucia).”
Welch played sparingly for the Gophers last year, netting six goals and eight assists. Welch most recently played in two out of four games with the USA Hockey Under-20 team in Lake Placid, N.Y.
“It’s disappointing for everyone involved,” Lucia said. “But hopefully Dan can take this negative and turn it into a positive a year from now.
“We’d certainly welcome him back with open arms.”
— complied by David La Vaque