P.J. Fleck dons goalie gear, faces shots at Gophers hockey scrimmage
P.J. Fleck can seemingly do no wrong of late as head coach of an 8-0 Minnesota Golden Gophers football team that has risen to national notoriety this season. The charismatic coach, however, was in for a rude awakening Tuesday when he made more than just an appearance Tuesday at a Gophers hockey team practice.
Fleck actually donned goalie gear and bravely faced some shots from the Gophers squad during a makeshift scrimmage.
Time for practice @GopherHockey pic.twitter.com/KvRbAKpTXE— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) October 29, 2019
New #Gophers recruit…— Minnesota Men’s Hockey (@GopherHockey) October 29, 2019
Welcome to 3M Arena at Mariucci, @Coach_Fleck! pic.twitter.com/obOXhu1BHj
To no surprise whatsoever, Fleck, who never played hockey growing up, had some difficulty at times protecting the crease, but nevertheless showed some surprising skills despite his inexperience.
This just happened at 3M Arena at Mariucci: @GopherFootball coach P.J. Fleck as the guest goalie at practice. pic.twitter.com/SuRpRIO9dq— Randy Johnson (@RJstrib) October 29, 2019
Fleck did fare better, albeit not by much, while facing “live” play, though.
Final scouting report on @Coach_Fleck’s “tryout” with @GopherHockey.— Chris Long (@ChrisLongKSTP) October 29, 2019
Actually better than I’d have thought he’d be on making initial saves.
It’s the rebounds that are killing him.
Don’t worry, @GopherFootball… he’ll be back your way soon. pic.twitter.com/bH1eBushGL
A grand time was had by one and all, however.
An elite afternoon with @GopherHockey! @Coach_Fleck is all about connecting. We are one department, one University, one state, one F.A.M.I.L.Y! #Gophers #SkiUMah #RTB #PrideOnIce pic.twitter.com/6AjE10etPP— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) October 29, 2019
Fleck once pulled off the same stunt during his coaching tenure at Western Michigan. He was asked to provide a scouting report on Tuesday’s goalkeeping performance and whether he’d give himself the nod for a start.
“Absolutely not,” Fleck said, via the Star Tribune. “He was a little rusty, hadn’t played in a while. Some saves that were pretty lucky. He just stood there, and the puck hit him. Not sure if he’d make the travel squad this week.”
Fleck, with his “Row the Boat” mantra, other sloganeering and drive to build a winning culture at Minnesota, is all about these kind of acts to draw attention to the football program.
“So much respect for our hockey program.” https://t.co/XVAILh1cSK— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) October 29, 2019
On the gridiron in Fleck’s third season at the helm, the Gophers currently are ranked No. 13 in the AP poll and face a potential season-defining showdown at home against the No. 5 Penn State Nittany Lions on Nov. 9.