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Gopher Hockey Tabs Nanne, Walker as Team Captains


MINNEAPOLIS – The Gopher Hockey program and head coach Bob Motzko have announced that senior defenseman Tyler Nanne and sophomore forward Sammy Walker will serve as team captains for Pride on Ice during the 2019-20 season.


The duo are the 171st and 172nd Gophers to wear a letter in the program’s 98-year history, dating back to the team’s first season of play in 1921-22 when Chet Bros led the Maroon & Gold as team captain.


“Wearing a letter at the University of Minnesota is really one of the greatest honors a player can earn when you look back at our program’s rich history and see all of the legends who have done it,” Motzko said. “There’s a lot of responsibility in having that “C” on your chest, and it means even more to have that distinction come as a decision by the other guys in the locker room. I think our guys picked two excellent captains in Tyler Nanne and Sammy Walker – two guys who bleed Maroon & Gold. As a coaching staff, we have a lot of confidence in Tyler and Sammy and their ability to lead the team on and off the ice.”


A defenseman from Edina, Minn., Nanne is coming off his best season with the Gophers – recording new career highs for points (13), goals (five), assists (eight) and blocks (70) during the 2018-19 season. In 75 career games with Minnesota, Nanne has totaled 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists). The senior, who was honored with the team’s John Mayasich Outstanding Student-Athlete Award last year, is the first third-generation player in program history following his father, Marty Nanne, and grandfather, Lou Nanne (Lou Nanne also served as team captain during the 1962-63 season). Nanne was selected in the fifth round (142nd overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers.


“Anytime you walk into the locker room, you walk right by the board of captains, and there are some pretty important names out there,” Nanne said. “It’s an honor to a part of that, and I’m going to do my best to lead this team.”


A forward from Edina, Minn., Walker was the 2018-19 Big Ten Freshman of the Year – the first Gopher to earn the honor — and a unanimous Big Ten All-Freshman Team selection after leading all conference newcomers with 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) in 37 games. The forrward was also honored as Minnesota’s Frank Pond Rookie of the Year. Walker was selected in the seventh round (200th overall) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning.


“It’s a huge honor to be named a captain for this program…especially looking back at all the past captains who have played here over the years,” Walker said. “We have a ton of leaders on this team, it’s not all about wearing a letter, but obviously I’m really honored and excited to get the season going.


All tickets for the 2019-20 Gopher Hockey season – the 99th campaign in program history – are now on sale through GopherSports.com. Season tickets start at $500 – the lowest price point for season tickets at the University of Minnesota since 1999-2000. Highlighting the 2019-20 slate is one of the strongest home schedules in program history with Minnesota hosting all six Big Ten opponents (Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin) along with nonconference foes in North Dakota, Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State, Bemidji State, St. Cloud State and Niagara.