Men’s hockey receives verbal commitment from prep star Gordon

Adam Fink

The phone calls had been going back and forth between a dozen coaches for nearly two months, but now Ben Gordon was ready to dial the number that would change his life.

Gordon, a senior hockey player at International Falls, looked at his smiling father before calling Gophers men’s hockey coach Don Lucia on Aug. 25 and verbally committing to the program. He will join the team in 2004-05.

The 5-foot-10, 155-pound forward picked Minnesota over almost every other WCHA school, listing the Gophers, Denver and North Dakota as front-runners for his services.

“I told my dad I was ready to make a decision,” the left-handed shooter said. “Every time I talked to (Lucia), he seemed to convince me a little more to join the team. He sounded very excited when I told him I wanted to become a Gopher.”

NCAA rules prohibit Lucia from talking about recruits until they have signed a national letter of intent.

Gordon led the state in scoring as a junior last season with 30 goals and 59 assists. In addition, he skated for the U.S. Under-18 Select Team this summer.

After this year, Gordon will head to the Lincoln Stars in the USHL for one season before joining the Gophers — a decision which didn’t come easily.

“I talked it over with my family and we realized it was best for me,” Gordon said. “It’s not going to hurt me and I will get faster, stronger and more mature.

Hopefully, when I get to Minnesota I will be ready to contribute right away.”

Adam Fink covers men’s hockey and welcomes comments at [email protected]