Guentzel rehired as hockey assistant

by Andrew Baker

Former University of Minnesota hockey player and assistant coach Mike Guentzel has been rehired after three years away from the program, head coach Don Lucia announced Wednesday.

A Gophers defenseman from 1981-1985, Guentzel resigned in 2008, having served since 1994 as an assistant; first under Doug Woog and later Lucia.

Since 2008, Guentzel has served as an assistant at Colorado College, as head coach of the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers and most recently as an assistant at Nebraska-Omaha.

Wednesday’s announement did not come as a suprise in Gophers hockey circles.

When assistant John Hill, who was in charge of the defense, left the program last month, multiple sources reported that Lucia planned to replace him with Guentzel, a venerable figure in the program.

Hill’s departure, likewise, had been rumored before it occurred, as some team supporters blamed him for the Gopehrs’ recent woes.

Last year Minnesota lost two consecutive games at home to Alaska-Anchorage in the first round of the WCHA playoffs, missing the Final Five for the second straight year and the NCAA tournament for the third straight year.