USA under-18 hockey star interested in Gophers

Mike Taylor led the Gold Medal-winning USA Under-18 Select Team in scoring at the recent Junior World Championships. The Minnesota native is a highly-touted player who recently talked about his future – a future that could include playing hockey for the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Mike Taylor, a senior at Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield, Minn., has what every Minnesota hockey player has on his mind: Playing hockey for the Golden Gophers after his high school career is over.

Taylor, a 5-11, 180-pound high school senior from Maple Grove, Minn., was the leading scorer on the United States Gold Medal winning under-18 Select Team that went a perfect 5-0 at the Under-18 Junior World Championships in Pietsany, Slovakia in mid-August. Taylor scored two goals and had five assists in the tournament.

He recently told GoldenSports.net he is interested in playing for Minnesota, and he was expecting to make a visit to the two-time defending national champions soon. Taylor scored 72 points for Holy Angels last season. He will play with the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League before and after the Minnesota high school season this year.

"Like every Minnesota kid, you grow up dreaming of playing for the Gophers," said Taylor. "Right now they are definitely a team I am interested in."

Taylor, who is an honor student at Holy Angels, is also considering and receiving interest from Harvard, Notre Dame and Colorado College.

"I know it's going to be a tough decision, and I think in the end I am going to do what is the best for both my future and my hockey career," said Taylor. "I have to look at my future after hockey."

Greg Trebil, his coach at Holy Angels, one of the top teams in Minnesota and the 2002 Class AA state high school champions, has coached numerous top-level Minnesota players recently. Tyler Howells, who played on that 2002 title team, played for Cedar Rapids of the USHL last year and signed with Michigan State. Dan Kronick, the MVP of the 2002 state tournament, spent his freshman season last year with Minnesota-Duluth. As for Taylor, Trebil said Taylor ranks right up there with those players.

"He's a very potent scorer who always manages to score a lot of points," said Trebil. "He has good size and will only get better. He has good speed and tremendous hand skills. He sees the ice well and is effective on the wing or in the middle. Wherever he plays they are going to get a real good player."

And a real good person, said Trebil.

"Mike is a real grounded individual," he said. "He is a tremendous student. He's just one of those kids that keeps his nose clean and somebody who is going to have success in life."

Only time will tell if that success will be with the Gophers.

Matt Krumrie covers Gophers hockey for GoldenSports.net. He can be reached at Gopherhockeyinsider@yahoo.com.

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