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For Clairo, “the third time’s the Charm.”
Review: “Charm” by Clairo
Published July 21, 2024

Q&A with men’s hockey newcomers Oliver Moore and Sam Rinzel

The two recent draftees are set to play for the Chicago Blackhawks after their careers with the Gophers are over.
Image by CJ Bonk
The team celebrates their first goal of the tournament in the semi-final game against Boston University on Thursday, April 6, 2023.

Oliver Moore and Sam Rinzel are two of Gophers men’s hockey’s newcomers who not only both play for the Gophers but were also drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League (NHL). 

Moore was drafted 19th overall in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft this past summer, while Rinzel was selected 25th overall a year prior.

Minnesota Daily: What were your general thoughts and reactions on getting drafted?

Sam Rinzel: “For me, it was an unbelievable experience, especially when you’re able to go to it and be in that experience. I think for me, COVID was kind of in the way a little bit, but thankfully, I was able to go … It’s a whirlwind and it goes by really fast, but it was a pretty cool experience.”

Oliver Moore: “Just being able to talk to general managers and talk to teams was a really cool experience. I think just being at the draft with my family, my friends, my coaches, everyone who’s helped me get to that point … Something that was just as exciting for them as it was for me. Also, speaking of Sam and I being both drafted, I remember it was like probably 10-15 minutes after, I was scrolling on my phone a little bit and I remembered that [Rinzel] was also drafted.”

Daily: Was there anyone in particular during the draft process that stood out to you?

Rinzel: “I’ll just say, friends and family. It’s pretty cool to see the support that I’m able to get. I cherish my family a lot, so I think being able to see all those texts and all that support and love that I’m able to get is pretty special for me.”

Moore: “I’ll say the same thing. Obviously, my friends and family, coaches. Some players that I played with along the way reached out as well. Some players in the NHL reached out, too. The whole process was cool.”

Daily: Why did you choose to come to the University of Minnesota?

Rinzel: “It was always my dream school when I was younger. Ever since I was going to games when I was younger with my family, being able to watch Casey Mittelstadt and all those guys coming through. You look at other schools and then you come here and you see the culture, you see the facilities, all the coaches and how it’s run. It’s pretty hard to say no when you see it all for yourself.”

Moore: “Being in Minnesota growing up watching the University of Minnesota. But just the culture that they have here, the culture that they are building, the entire University and being a student here is something that intrigued me. These first couple weeks have reassured me why I picked here. It’s a great spot.”

Daily: Did you ever play against each other in juniors?

Moore: “We did one time. I remember [Rinzel] danced me a couple of times as well … I think we were both committed — I was recently committed to the ‘U.’”

Rinzel: “We lost, so…”

Their teams met back in Sept. 2022 when Moore and the U.S. National Team Development Program (USNTDP) took on Rinzel’s Waterloo Black Hawks. The USNTDP came out on top, winning 3-2. 

Daily: Do you talk with [Jimmy] “Snuggy” Snuggerud, since he’s a St. Louis Blues draft pick?

Rinzel: “Yeah, for sure. Growing up with Snuggy and playing with him when I was younger — I’ve known him for a long time. I think being able to come here and you know a bunch of guys, a bunch of Minnesota guys, you create friends and best buddies pretty quickly. So, it can be a pretty special bond that you’re able to get.”

Moore: “I got to know him a little on the national program team as well. He’s a great guy and he’s definitely someone that I think all of the freshmen can come to.”

Daily: Did you have anyone that you played with in juniors or growing up that you’re now going to face in the Big Ten or NCAA?

Rinzel: “Yeah, obviously a lot of guys that I played on my junior team with Waterloo. Some guys are in the Big Ten and other schools like Michigan State and Ohio State. So you know you’re going to see those guys again and you’re going to do your best to get those wins over them.”

Moore: “These last two years, I met a lot of really good friends and created a special bond with the people at the national team development program … We got a couple of guys at Michigan State and Wisconsin … I’m really looking forward to that.”

Daily: Did you guys try any of the food staples in Chicago?

Rinzel: “I got good Chipotle.”

Moore: “When I was younger, I’d go there and try [deep dish pizza].”

Daily: Who do you think is going to be the team leader in goals this year?

Communications Director of Gophers Hockey Scott Slarks sarcastically chimed in with his vote, goalie Justen Close.

Rinzel: “Closer? I don’t know.”

Moore: “Snuggs?”

Rinzel: “Snuggs can rip the pill, Brodzy [Bryce Brodzinski] can rip the pill.”

Moore: “We’ve got a lot of guys that can score goals.”

Daily: Where do you see yourself in the near future?

Moore: “Having a great couple of years here in Minnesota, trying to win the national championship. Every day, just putting in the work to try to do that first and then hopefully move on to the NHL one day.”

Rinzel: “I think getting one percent better every day and trying to focus on what we’re doing now here. Like [Moore] said, trying to win a national championship here.”

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