The University of Minnesota, through men's hockey head coach Don Lucia, announced today that Nate Condon and Kyle Rau would serve as co-captains for the upcoming season.
“I’m excited for both Nate and Kyle to serve as captains this season,” Lucia said. “They’re both deserving of this honor, and they are both the kind of player you want in this role. They’re good students, they’re hard workers on and off the ice, and they are great representatives of our hockey program and the University of Minnesota.”
Condon, a senior forward from Wausau, Wis., enters the season as Minnesota’s most experienced player, having suited up for 118 career games with 78 points and 31 goals in his three seasons with the Maroon and Gold. Only the third Gopher in program history to hail from the state of Wisconsin, Condon has also proven to be one of Minnesota’s most durable student-athletes, having played in 117-straight games heading into the season (the senior has only missed one game in his college career). Drafted in the seventh round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Colorado Avalanche, Condon posted career bests as a junior last season with 31 points, 12 goals and plus-15 rating.
“Being named a captain at the University of Minnesota is a dream come true for me, and I’m very grateful to my teammates and the staff for this honor,” Condon said. “It’s going to be kind of different year for us all with a lot of new players and a new conference, but we are getting excited for the season to start, and hopefully the fans are too.”
Rau will start his junior season as the Gophers’ top returner after recording 40 points (15 goals) in 40 games last season. The Eden Prairie, Minn., native tallied seven game-winning goals (tied for most in the nation) as a sophomore while Minnesota was 23-2-1 when Rau scored a point. In 80 career games, the forward has 83 points (33 goals and 50 assists). All three statistics rank first among active Gophers. Rau was drafted 91st overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by the Florida Panthers.
“When you look back at the captains who have come through this program, there are so many great players and leaders, and to be included in that group means a lot to me,” Rau said. “It’s exciting to say the least especially for a kid who grew up in Minnesota, and it’s a huge honor coming from our team and coaching staff.”
Condon and Rau carry on a Gopher tradition of captains that dates to the first season of Gopher hockey in 1921-22. They will be the 157th and 158th players to assume the role of either captain or alternate captain for Minnesota. The duo succeeds 2012-13 captain Zach Budish as well as alternate captains Seth Helgeson, Nick Bjugstad and Erik Haula.
Minnesota opens the 2013-14 regular season with the Ice Breaker Tournament on Oct. 11-12 at Mariucci Arena.