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After two USPHL seasons with Moose, Glenwood Springs native Knott staying in Minnesota with NCAA D-III Saint John’s commitment


Cooper Knott came to the USPHL’s Minnesota Moose for the 2021-22 season and returned this past season for his last year of junior hockey.

Those two seasons helped develop his game to be ready for the college ranks, and the Glenwood Springs native recently committed to Saint John’s University, an NCAA Division III school in Minnesota.

“My coaching staff at the Moose helped me out all season in the hunt for a school,” Knott said. “Saint John’s was a school on the top of my list for the past couple years. I went on a visit/tour and an overnight throughout this past season and I was lucky enough to have things work out with them. The campus is great, student life seems like a blast, and I’m very excited to head out come fall.

“I’ve always wanted to become an engineer but at Saint John’s they do not have engineering unfortunately, but there is a way to do pre-engineering and pursue a further degree through other routes. SJU also has a top-ranked business school, and as of now I have my mind set on pursuing a business degree.”

Knott, who grew up playing for the Glenwood Grizzlies, Colorado Thunderbirds and Colorado Rampage, said playing in the USPHL was huge for his game.

“Two or more years of juniors will shape any player,” said Knott. “The more (years) the better, to be honest. I think it helped me find my identity as a hockey player, and provided me the hockey maturity and work ethic to hopefully stick at the next level.

“The Moose are and always will be a top team in the USPHL. With the coaching staff we have, the crave to win, and most importantly, the amount of hate that we have against losing, drives the Moose every year to be with the top of the league. This mindset was talked about, day in and day out. Our first year we unfortunately missed our chance at the national tournament in playoffs. This past season, we made sure that didn’t happen again.”

Deciding to play for the Moose was a no-brainer back in 2021.

“Obviously, I wanted to play for one of the best teams in the league,” Knott said. “I was lucky to have a former coach of the Moose approach me at an NAHL main camp and invited me to come out to Minnesota and fill a role on the squad. I also have family and a lot of friends out here, so that was another draw for me.”

Looking ahead, Knott wants to keep playing hockey as long as he can.

“In the short term, I am honestly excited to get back to learning again,” said Knott. “I know it will not be super easy getting back to school after being away from it for two years, but I’m excited for the change and the challenge. I also hope to play as an impact player at Saint John’s in the years to come.

“Long term, I have always wanted to play hockey professionally. Who hasn’t dreamed of getting paid to play a sport that they love? I think it would be awesome to get a chance to play overseas and see the world through hockey. After that, with a degree as good as SJU offers, I think I’ll be able to find a place in the world, hopefully on a ranch somewhere in the middle of nowhere.”

Photo/Masha Barankovskavy

— Matt Mackinder

(June 1, 2023)

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