Can Lucia win another title?
Lucia spent the past week fielding questions about his future, and the administration answered for him Thursday by announcing a two-year contract extension.
He is entering his 18th season leading one of the nation’s premier programs and looking to win a third national championship with the Gophers. The 58-year-old won back-to-back titles in 2002 and 2003. The long drought has led some fans to grow weary of Lucia, but he continues to win conference championships — five in a row, dating to the WCHA days — and produce NCAA tournament-caliber teams.
The team has missed the NCAAs five times during Lucia’s 17 seasons, and three were during a stretch in which he battled health issues.
The Gophers were picked to win the Big Ten for the fourth year in a row and are No. 13 in the USCHO poll.
“I love our speed. I love, so far, how our chemistry off the ice right now is awesome,” senior captain and forward Justin Kloos said. “Everyone is really getting along, and I think it’s going to be a team that plays for one goal. There is not going to be a lot of outside influence.
“This will be a really focused group because, obviously, last year was really unacceptable. I’m really pumped for the whole thing.”