Top Arizona Coyotes prospect Logan Cooley will return to the University of Minnesota for his sophomore NCAA season, the Minnesota Golden Gophers announced Friday morning.
Cooley, 19, finished the 2022–23 season with 22 goals and 60 points in 39 games with the Golden Gophers. The Coyotes originally selected Cooley with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.
Cooley’s decision to return to Minnesota comes shortly after the Coyotes’ proposed arena and entertainment district in Tempe, Arizona was shot down by voters in a public referendum.
The Coyotes finished seventh in the Central Division with a 28–40–14 record and 70 points during the 2022–23 regular season. They’ve missed the playoffs in each of the last three seasons and 10 out of 11 times since 2012.
Cooley could be the piece the Coyotes need to turn it around on the ice, but the team badly needs to find stability off it first. Reports in recent days indicate the club is considering a spot in Mesa to build its new rink.
In recognition of his excellent play during the 2022–23 season, Cooley was named one of three “Hat Trick” finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the nation’s top collegiate men’s ice hockey player. Michigan forward Adam Fantilli was ultimately named the winner.
Before joining the Golden Gophers, Cooley spent two seasons playing for the U.S. National Team Development Program Juniors in the USHL, scoring 28 goals and 64 points in 51 games.
Cooley has also represented the United States at both the 2022 and 2023 World Junior Championships, finishing second to Connor Bedard in scoring at the latter tournament. He helped Team USA win silver in 2022 and bronze in 2023.
The Coyotes will play the 2023–24 season at Mullett Arena on the campus of Arizona State University after selling out the 4,600-seat rink for all 41 of their home games in 2022–23. After that … it’s anybody’s guess.