MINNEAPOLIS The wait is over for the University of Minnesota hockey team.
The reigning Western Collegiate Hockey Conference champion Gophers will have second-team All-American center Nick Bjugstad in the lineup when they open the 2012-13 season on Oct. 12. The team announced Thursday that Bjugstad a first-round NHL draft pick of the Florida Panthers in 2010 has decided against turning pro and will return for his junior season with Minnesota.
Bjugstad, 19, led the Gophers with 25 goals last season, tied for the fifth-best mark in the nation. The 6-foot-5, 211-pound junior added 17 assists and was third on the team in points. He was named All-WCHA first team, helping Minnesota to its first Frozen Four appearance since 2008. Bjugstad's 25 goals were the most by a Gophers player since Ryan Potulny scored 38 in 2005-06.
Bjugstad recently took part in the Florida Panthers' prospect camp and spent the past week weighing his options. He was even keeping his teammates in the dark about...