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gopher7

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Due to my limited time to follow sports as I grow older, I have watched next to no Gopher hockey the past five years. I hope this changes with a new coach and new energy.

I'm curious though, why weren't we better? We obviously have talent. Is it as simple as Lucia not doing a good enough job maxing out that talent? Are we recruiting the wrong type of players? Are too many players going pro early, preventing cohesion? Do the players just get complacent and stop trying once they get here? Thanks in advance.
 

UncleSam'sMisguidedChild

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My $0.02......the Gophers were consistently inconsistent, lacked effort for a full 60 minutes, and player development stalled once they became upperclassmen. To me, it doesn't appear that recruiting was the problem. Plenty of talent mixed with "role" types.
 

Taji34

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The team never consistently played at a level that matched their talent. Some days they played like a top 5 team, others they played like a team I wouldn't rank in the top 25. Sometimes it happened during the same series. It all comes down to coaching. Lucia and his staff weren't doing what they needed to make the players play to the best of their ability every game. It was really hit or miss.

While it's not the biggest reason, I think that inconsistency has contributed to the decline in attendance at the hockey games.
 

GopherLady

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Here is the press release from the U:

Lucia Steps Down, Leaves Legacy of Success at Minnesota

University of Minnesota Athletics Director Mark Coyle and Head Coach Don Lucia today announced that Lucia will step down as Minnesota’s head men’s hockey coach, pending the approval of the University’s Board of Regents later this week. Coyle and Lucia have agreed that he will remain with Gopher Athletics as special assistant to the athletics director through June 30, 2019.

“Gopher Hockey is not just a college hockey program, it’s a cultural institution in the state of Minnesota, built on more than 90 years of success and tradition. Few have contributed as much to that legacy as Don,” said Coyle. “He knows how much I appreciate everything he has accomplished in his 19 years as head coach, but he and I also agree that it’s time for someone else to lead our program. From his program’s commitment to academic excellence to the banners his teams raised into in our rafters, I can’t thank him enough for what he’s contributed to the success of Gopher Hockey.”

“I want to thank Mark Dienhart for giving me a tremendous opportunity 19 years ago. I came to Minnesota because of the tradition, and I hoped to add to the tradition when I left. I am proud of the 14 banners that have been added to the rafters of 3M Arena at Mariucci. I am forever grateful to all the coaches, staff and most importantly the players who have worked so hard to accomplish this over the years,” said Lucia. “Most importantly to me, we did it the right way. Our players all graduate and have always represented themselves to the high standards of Gopher Hockey on and off the ice. It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to be the head hockey coach at the University of Minnesota.”

Lucia steps down after 19 years leading one of most decorated programs in college hockey history.

His 457 wins are the most in program history, an average of more than 24 wins per season over his tenure at Minnesota. Since taking over as head coach in 1999, Lucia’s teams have raised 14 championship banners. His Gophers teams claimed eight regular-season conference crowns, as well as four conference tournament titles. Lucia guided five Gopher teams to the Frozen Four and won back-to-back national championships in 2002 and 2003.

During his 31-year career as a Division I head coach, Lucia won 736 career games – ranking eighth all-time in NCAA history. He holds a 736-403-102 career coaching record, including a 457-247-73 mark at the University of Minnesota.

In the classroom, his Gopher teams delivered results as well. The team’s collective, cumulative GPA was 3.15 following this year’s fall semester, and has been above 3.0 for more than six straight years. The team GPA for the fall semester alone was 3.31, the highest mark on record for the program. The NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate score for the program has been a perfect 1,000 for several years. Throughout his head coaching career, Lucia had 206 all-conference academic honorees.
 

PMWinSTP

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The team never consistently played at a level that matched their talent. Some days they played like a top 5 team, others they played like a team I wouldn't rank in the top 25. Sometimes it happened during the same series. It all comes down to coaching. Lucia and his staff weren't doing what they needed to make the players play to the best of their ability every game. It was really hit or miss.

While it's not the biggest reason, I think that inconsistency has contributed to the decline in attendance at the hockey games.
Bingo. Lucia did always seem to find great goaltenders...which helped and hurt...you could see players coast at times on defense because of the excellent goalies. All in all, it was an extremely successful run for Lucia and the Gophs...I just think he may have lost some of that fire/drive needed to stay on top.
 

Donovan

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no message, couldn’t get my gif to work!
 

hungan1

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I think the Gophers being in the B1G is a game changer.

I miss the WCHA rivalries. Other rising D1 Hockey programs in the State like Saint Cloud and UMD increased competition for in state hockey players. Furthermore, the Gophers have to be open to recruiting more Canadians and other international players.

It is bad for the program when you don't fill up Mariucci Arena like in the WCHA days. Fan interest have to be invigorated.
 

bfast

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When you are one of the most prestigious hockey programs in the country, it might be tougher to assemble a squad from a standpoint of "sum of their parts" and "good piece of the puzzle" versus a pure stacking of talented individuals on a roster.

Not an excuse at all, but there are challenges to being spoiled for choice and also having guys who have one eye on the pros (not as much of a chip on shoulder).

I've heard a lot of talk about Lucia not doing enough legwork in the position - I can definitely see how coasting through a job like this (instead of going Fleck mode) could lead to surprising mediocrity. His mentality and effort was probably good enough 15 years ago, but college hockey has become a lot more competitive at this point. He never really seemed determined to hold on to that top dog spot.

Herbie or Mariucci would be pissed at this point - Lucia has always seemed lukewarm about this dip in form for the entire program.

THIS is the difference between PRIDE on ICE and just a pretty decent hockey program.
 

hungan1

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IMHO, they need a young and upcoming hockey coach who can recruit and cast a wider net, and who can relate to the youngsters better. A new hockey coach that has a good system that maximizes team play. Like someone said, a collection of talent does not necessarily bring championships if they cannot play cohesively. And the new coach doesn't necessarily need to have a Gophers pedigree.
 
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