U’s Captain Barriball Thankful for Being able to Play Hockey Again

Posted by Roman Augustoviz

Gophers captain Jay Barriball said playing Michigan State and Michigan this weekend is kind of cool with all the talk of a Big Ten Conference for hockey maybe being around the corner.

“It happens only once a year. It is a fun series,” he said. “Everybody involved enjoys it.”

The Gophers have had great success against Michigan State, going 4-0-5 against the Spartans in the past nine College Hockey Showcases. Michigan has beaten the Gophers soundly the past three showcases.

“The last time we beat Michigan was my freshman year,” said Barriball, a fifth-year senior. “I don’t know what it is. Obviously, Michigan is a real good team every year and so is Michigan State. They are always really good games. I don’t know if it is a coincidence, but Michigan has had out number the last few years.”

Barriball said he would be in favor of a Big Ten Conference in hockey. “There are a lot of good teams in the Big Ten,” he said. “And then with Penn State getting a hockey program, it could be real good for hockey and could be real cool. I am not going to be a part of that, which kind of stinks.”

Barriball, who missed all but five games last season after knee surgery, leads the Gophers in scoring with nine goals and six assists for 15 points in 12 games.

On Thanksgiving weekend, Barriball said he is thankful for: ”Everything. I am thankful for a lot, especially how my knee healed. And just that I am back playing hockey again. Last year I was not able to play hockey and it was real tough.

“Something I am real thankful for is family, friends and having my knee heal well and being back to 100 percent and being able to play again.”

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