Bob Motzko was introduced as the new Gopher Men’s hockey head coach on Thursday but can he bring them back to the promised land?
As Don Lucia exits stage left and fades off into retirement, the University of Minnesota Men’s Hockey team is left with a number of loose ends to tie up. Including but not limited to; a conference that can’t seem to broadcast them on their own network, an ever emptying arena, a state full of teams that have caught up to them in recruiting and talent, and a fan base that is angry about all of it.
Enter Bob Motzko. An assistant to Lucia in the early 2000’s, Motzko was plucked from St. Cloud State, his salary increased to nearly double what he made last year and on Thursday was introduced to the assembled media in Dinkytown.
Motzko seems comfortable in his skin and unintimidated by the pressure and gravity of the situation. He seems confident in his ability to lead this program back to a national championship level and maybe most importantly, seems to understand that there is a rift between the fans and the program.
The issues that most fans are having with the team, have little to do with the team itself. The Gophers leaving the WCHA for the Big Ten Conference has had an impact with the fans and arguably, the recruiting. At the beginning of Lucia’s tenure, the Gophers basically had their pick of the top recruits in the state, now kids are choosing between Mankato, Duluth, St. Cloud, Bemidji and the Gophers.
Winning cures all and if Bob Motzko can bring home a national championship in his first five years, the arena will fill back up and the whispers about the old WCHA will fade.