Frozen Four notebook: Mavericks' Reggie Lutz has his hockey hero at home

Long before Reggie Lutz was born, his father Danny faced a medical challenge that he has stared down and never let affect what he does as a hockey dad. Also: Gophers forward Schmidt honored for classroom work, and Denver is a surprisingly good seafood town.

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MSU Mankato forward Reggie Lutz (left) with his parents, Mary and Danny.
Contributed / Lutz family photo

BOSTON – For the Lutz family of Elk River, Minnesota, hockey has brought incredible joy over a few generations now. The most recent case in point came Thursday night when Reggie Lutz, a senior left winger for Minnesota State Mankato, scored a wraparound goal that gave the Mavericks a lead they would not relinquish, sending them to the Division I NCAA title game for the first time in school history.

In 1988, hockey also brought the Lutz family a challenge that persists even today. Danny Lutz, the family patriarch, was playing a pickup game at a rink with friends when a freak collision led to permanent partial paralysis that affects his ability to walk even today. The injury in no way limited what Danny Lutz did in support of his three hockey playing sons.

“Even with his condition he still made a hockey rink outside for me to enjoy,” Reggie Lutz said prior to the Mavericks practice on Friday at TD Garden. “He’s obviously a huge hockey fan and wants me to succeed. He’s definitely one of my heroes and one of my idols.”

Minnesota State Mankato forward Reggie Lutz waits for a pass in front of Notre Dame defenseman Zach Pluchinski and Irish goalie Matthew Galajda during their regional final game at MVP Arena in Albany, N.Y. on Saturday, March 26, 2022.
Matt Dewkett / Minnesota State Athletics

Danny has a career in sports of his own, as a video freelancer working primarily for ESPN and Bally Sports North in the Twin Cities, producing replays and graphics for their broadcasts. In a bit of cruel irony, when BSN produced the coverage of Hockey Day Minnesota in Mankato this January, Reggie was injured and could not play in the marquee game versus St. Thomas at the Mavs’ football stadium. Still, Reggie recalls his father’s job being a cool experience on “take your kid to work” day.

“When I was younger I’d go to work with him sometimes and see the behind the scenes kind of stuff,” Reggie recalled. “The TV trucks and stuff were really cool.”


Michigan vs Minnesota Gophers
Minnesota Gophers forward Colin Schmidt, who played in 10 games in the 2021-22 season, was honored by the NCAA for his 4.0 GPA work in the classroom.
Contributed / University of Minnesota Athletics

Gophers’ Schmidt honored by NCAA

Before the Hobey, Humanitarian and Richter awards were given out in Boston, the Gophers learned they had an award winner of their own. Colin Schmidt, a forward from Wayzata who played in 10 games this past season, was recognized as the 2021-22 recipient of the NCAA’s Elite 90 Award.

The five-goal third period the Denver Pioneers produced to win the school's record-tying ninth NCAA hockey title was spurred in part by inspiring words from a former player who is fighting a deadly disease while serving in the Minnesota state legislature.
Denver played the defensive game it needed to play in the NCAA Frozen Four semifinals, limiting powerful Michigan's offense and holding off the Wolverines long enough to win in overtime and advance to the national title game.
Michigan wants to run-and-gun, Minnesota State Mankato wants to do its own thing, and Denver's Bobby Brink wants to advance and maybe play his boyhood heroes for the NCAA title as the NCAA Frozen Four semifinals get underway.
When it appeared the sky was falling on the Minnesota Gophers in January, their coach stayed calm, installed a new goalie and got vital contributions from a talented group of rookies, earning the program's first Frozen Four trip since 2014.

The award “recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers.” Schmidt won the award as the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s 90 championships.

A finance major in the Carlson School of Management, Schmidt earned Academic All-Big Ten honors this year (his first year of eligibility) with a 4.00 cumulative grade point average. On the ice, the transfer from Union had an assist on the game-winner at Penn State on Feb. 18.

Keeping it clean at the Frozen

If you like power play goals, the Frozen Four has been a major disappointment so far. The two games played on Thursday featured three penalties, total. All of them were called on Michigan in the Wolverines’ 3-2 overtime loss to Denver. In the second semifinal, Minnesota and Minnesota State played the first penalty-free game at the Frozen Four in more than 70 years.

2022 Frozen Four Friday
Minnesota State defenseman Benton Maass took a few laps at TD Garden in Boston during the Mavericks' Friday, April 8, 2022 practice at the Frozen Four.
Jim Rosvold / The Rink Live

On March 18, 1950, Michigan and Boston College played a game with no minor penalties called to determine third place in the tournament. The Wolverines won the game, played at Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, 10-6.

Pioneers enjoy gifts from the sea, at home and on the road

Denver is a long way from either the Atlantic or Pacific oceans, so the Pioneers players admitted that when they come to a place like Boston for the tournament, fish is often on the team menu.

2022 Frozen Four Friday
Denver coach David Carle spoke to the media following his team's Friday, April 8, 2022 practice at the Frozen Four at TD Garden in Boston.
Jim Rosvold / The Rink Live

“We’ve had some fish the last few days. We had sushi the other day and we’re definitely enjoying the seafood,” said Denver senior right winger Cameron Wright. “Denver’s got some good seafood too, surprisingly.”


Pioneers coach David Carle gave a plug for Sushi Den, located a few blocks from the DU campus, calling it one of the finest seafood restaurants in the country.

Jess Myers covers college hockey, as well as outdoors, general sports and travel, for The Rink Live and the Forum Communications family of publications. He came to FCC in 2018 after three decades of covering sports as a freelancer for a variety of publications, while working full time in politics and media relations. A native of Warroad, Minn. (the real Hockeytown USA), Myers has a degree in journalism/communications from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He lives in the Twin Cities. Contact Jess via email at, or find him on Twitter via @JessRMyers. English speaker.
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