Gophers' Logan Cooley tabbed national player of the year by USA Hockey

The Minnesota Gophers center led the team in scoring on the way to a Big Ten title and a trip to the NCAA title game, and recently announced he will return for a sophomore college hockey season.

Logan Cooley (6).jpg
Prior to stardom for the Minnesota Gophers, center Logan Cooley played two seasons for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program.
Rena Laverty / USA Hockey's NTDP.

MINNEAPOLIS — When USA Hockey — the sport’s national governing body — was looking for the top American player in college hockey last season, they may have looked first in Pittsburgh, or their first glance may have been toward the State of Hockey. In either case, their gaze settled on the same uber-talented center.

Minnesota Gophers forward Logan Cooley, who recently announced his plan to return for a second season in maroon and gold, is no stranger to wearing red, white and blue. He picked the Gophers while skating for USA Hockey’s National Team Development program. In addition to his exemplary college work last season, he skated for Team USA at the World Junior Championships in the winter and in the U18 World Championships last summer.

University of Minnesota forward Logan Cooley (92) follows through on a shot with St. Cloud State's Ryan Rosborough (12) defending in a nonconference men's hockey game on Jan. 7, 2023, at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, Minn.
Jim Rosvold / The Rink Live

On Thursday, Cooley was named USA Hockey’s national college player of the year — an award which will be officially handed out next month at the organization’s Annual Congress in Colorado. As a freshman, Cooley, 19, was Minnesota’s leading scorer, an All-Big Ten first teamer and one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to college hockey’s top player.

"Logan is a special, special talent, special player," said Gophers coach Bob Motzko. "The talent is there, but his compete level is what set him apart. And the great thing is there's so much more to come."

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Picked third overall by the Arizona Coyotes in the 2022 NHL Draft, Cooley likely could have stepped directly into the team’s lineup next season, but admitted that uncertainty about the team’s future played a role in his recent decision to spend another season with the Gophers before he expects to move on to pro hockey a year from now.


USA Hockey also named Notre Dame-bound Cole Knuble from the Fargo Force as their junior hockey player of the year.

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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