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Name, image and likeness opportunities in college athletics have largely focused on the big-money sports of football and basketball, where talk of seven-figure deals for a star quarterback or point guard isn't out of the question.

For college hockey, NIL opportunities haven't been as prominent or prolific. Gophers men's coach Bob Motzko last year during the Frozen Four famously said: "Our guys get burritos" — a nod to Logan Cooley's Chipotle deal — "but I think times are changing."

Derek Burns, co-founder and president of Dinkytown Athletes, the official NIL collective of Gophers sports, sees the change in hockey coming in the not-too-distant future.

"It's only a matter of time until hockey is massively influenced by NIL," Burns said Tuesday, adding, "I don't have a crystal ball, but sometime in the next 18 months, things are going to pick up significantly."

The signs are already there.

Last week, the Gophers announced that forward Jimmy Snuggerud would return for his junior season in 2024-25 rather than sign with the St. Louis Blues. Corresponding with that announcement was a post on the X platform (formerly Twitter) from Dinkytown Athletes trumpeting Snuggerud's decision.

"We were, thankfully, able to offer Jimmy a bundled package," Burns said. "You'd have to ask him what sort of factor that was in his decision. … Let's be honest, it was something that we wanted to do in order to make it known that we wanted him back."

On Sunday, news broke that Matthew Wood, a first-round draft pick of the Nashville Predators, is transferring from Connecticut to Minnesota. Burns wouldn't say if Dinkytown Athletes played a role but added that he is excited that the Gophers are bringing in more talent.

With the NCAA men's Frozen Four being played in St. Paul this week, the four participating coaches were asked their opinions of NIL and its immediate and long-term impact on the sport.

"It feels like in college hockey, it's still relatively in its infancy," said Denver coach David Carle, whose Pioneers face Boston University in Thursday's 4 p.m. semifinal. "You're going to see it maybe be a bigger factor in the coming years. Certainly, money's being thrown around, and you hear rumors of things, but it's hard to say exactly what's true and what's false. It has not yet impacted us in a negative way."

Boston University coach Jay Pandolfo is happy players are receiving the opportunities to make some money while still continuing to develop.

"In hockey, you're not getting the kind of money where it's life-changing, whereas in football and basketball, you probably are," Pandolfo said.

Boston College coach Greg Brownreferenced a comment UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma made about NIL unfortunately making relationships with players more transactional.

"It hasn't gotten to [that] point" in hockey, Brown said. "Hopefully, it won't."

Michigan coach Brandon Naurato hopes the focus stays on the program rather than what players can receive in NIL deals.

"We want people at Michigan that are here for all the resources that this school provides, and there's a lot of them, especially academically," Naurato said. "And from a hockey standpoint, our pitch would be that we're going to develop you, and our style of play will help prep you to be a National Hockey League player."

One area in which NIL deals become important in college hockey is how they can bridge the gap between the 18 full scholarships allowed and the roster size of 25-28 players. Coaches can divvy up the scholarships by awarding less than full rides to some players, and NIL deals could fill deficits.

That's important in player retention, especially with the transfer portal being an easy way for a player to seek a full scholarship at a different program.

For the Gophers, competition for players figures to ramp up as NIL becomes a bigger factor. One of Minnesota's longtime rivals, North Dakota, now has the school-approved 1883 Collective. Expect that group to be heavily involved in hockey, the sport that's the unquestioned king on the UND campus.

"Minnesota has competed for talent with teams like North Dakota for decades," Burns said. "The fact that they not only have a collective formed and seem extremely committed to men's hockey is going to make an impact, and it's something that we're going to have to compete with."