Gophers sign hockey coach Bob Motzko to 3-year extension

Gophers hockey coach Bob Motzko spoke with reporters on Tuesday as Minnesota opens its season Nov. 19 against Penn State.

The University of Minnesota men’s hockey team opens the 2021-22 season on Saturday against Alaska, and the Gophers announced Thursday morning they’ve agreed to a three-year extension with coach Bob Motzko.

The move, pending approval from the Board of Regents, would put Motzko under contract with Minnesota through the 2025-26 season.

"It’s an honor to lead this program and to follow in the footsteps of some truly legendary coaches here at the University of Minnesota over the last 100 years," Motzko said in a statement. "As a coaching staff, this is always an exciting time of year. You feel the anticipation in the locker room, you feel it on campus, and you feel it throughout the state. This is a special place to coach because of that passion, and I’m very thankful for everyone at the University of Minnesota for continuing to believe in what we are doing here."

Motzko is entering his fourth season with the Gophers, and has a 58-37-11 mark since taking over the program. The Gophers finished last season one win short of the NCAA Frozen Four. Motzko has been a head coach for 16 years and was last year’s Big Ten Coach of the Year after Minnesota won the Big Ten Tournament. The Gophers got back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017, and won their first tournament game since 2014.

The Gophers won 24 games last year, and for the first time since 2014, were ranked No. 1 in the national polls during the season. Minnesota enters the 2021-22 season ranked No. 4 nationally.

"Coach Motzko has done a tremendous job with our men’s hockey program," Athletic Director Mark Coyle said in a statement. "He leads with integrity, coaches with passion and cares deeply about his student-athletes. His teams consistently compete at a championship level on and off the ice, and I am excited for him to lead the Gophers for years to come."

You can watch Saturday’s season-opener, slated for 2:30 p.m. at 3M at Mariucci Arena, on Fox 9 Plus. Motzko will be coaching with a heavy heart this season after his 20-year-old son, Mack, died in a car crash in late July.