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UMD women's hockey: Bulldogs' Norton transfers to Gophers for fifth year

The veteran blue liner had left the door open for a return to UMD, but instead is heading to their biggest rival.

Minnesota Duluth faces Harvard in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Hockey Tournament at Ridder Arena
Minnesota Duluth defenseman Lizi Norton (6) skates with the puck against Harvard forward Gabi Davidson Adams (26) on Thursday, March 10, 2022, at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune
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When Minnesota Duluth senior defenseman Lizi Norton surprisingly entered the NCAA transfer portal late in the spring, the Bulldogs said Norton could still return for a fifth season in 2022-23.

She will indeed be returning to Amsoil Arena in 2022-23 in maroon and gold, but only for one weekend Jan. 27-28 … and as a Golden Gopher.

Minnesota announced the addition of Norton as a graduate transfer on Friday. The product of Orono High School in the Twin Cities graduated from UMD with a bachelor’s degree in special education (integrated elementary and special education) this spring.

Norton, 22, has been a regular on the Bulldogs’ blue line the last four seasons, including back-to-back NCAA Frozen Four runs in 2021 and 2022. She played in 126 career games at UMD, totaling six career goals and 25 assists.

She’ll be one of nine fifth-year seniors on the Gophers in 2022-23 having previously played with current Gophers Taylor Heise, Abbey Murphy, Maggie Nicholson, Gracie Ostertag, Makayla Pahl and Madeline Wethington on Team USA at the 2017 and 2018 Under-18 Women’s World Championships, winning gold both years.

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Norton was a surprise entrant into the transfer portal this offseason for UMD because she had originally indicated she would return in 2022-23 for a fifth season to pursue a masters degree in education. She did not take part in UMD’s Senior Day ceremony.

Four Bulldogs have transferred out of the Bulldogs’ women’s hockey program this offseason. In addition to Norton, sophomore goaltender Jojo Chobak (St. Cloud State), freshman goaltender Holly Gruber (Clarkson) and junior forward Kassy Betinol (Colgate) are the others.

UMD is returning 17 from the team that beat Minnesota in an NCAA quarterfinal at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis. They topped Northeastern in overtime at the Frozen Four before falling to Ohio State in the 2022 national championship game.

Of those 17 returnees, seven are fifth-year seniors. An eighth fifth-year senior, defenseman Ashton Bell, returns from winning gold with Canada at the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.

MORE BULLDOGS HOCKEY COVERAGE:

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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