DU Salvages US Pride With International Victory

Box Score

DENVER - After losing the Ryder Cup, every single world championship imaginable (unless we used steriods) and almost every event in the Summer AND Winter Oympics things were looking grim for American sporting teams. There was even talk that a steady diet of video games, junk food and premartial relations was sapping our strength. Thank God the DU hockey team (with a little help from eight Canadians and our Canadian born head coach) put that talk to rest on Saturday night. DU pounded the University of Calgary 6-3 in one of the biggest victorys for America since the Tour de France this summer (pending an investigation by the World Doping Agency).
Senior forward Steven Cook (Denver, Colo.) netted two goals as the Denver Pioneers defeated the University of Calgary in exhibition action in front of 5,759 fans Saturday night at Magness Arena. Brock Trotter (Brandon, Manitoba), Ryan Dingle (Steamboat Springs, Colo.), Chris Butler (St. Louis, Mo.) and Patrick Mullen (Pittsburgh, Pa.) added one goal each in the win. Junior goaltender Peter Mannino (Farmington Hills, Mich.) was credited with the win after coming on in relief of senior Glenn Fisher (Edmonton, Alberta) midway through the second period. Captain Adrian Veideman (Sicamous, British Columbia) chipped in four assists for DU.
Calgary got on the board first when Conlan Seder hit Alex Lalonde with a long outlet pass. Lalonde beat Fisher high to the glove side to give the Dinos a 1-0 advantage at 16:42 of the first period. Calgary extended its lead to 2-0 at 3:23 of the second period on a power-play rebound goal by Colin McRae.

The Pioneers got on the board at 12:09 of the second stanza thanks to Trotter tally. Trotter intercepted a Calgary clearing attempt at the right face-off circle and shelved the puck over Talbot's outstretched glove to cut the Dinos' lead in half. Cook then knotted the game at 2-2 with less than two minutes remaining in the second period when he put home the rebound of a Veideman shot.

The third period belonged to the Pioneers from start to finish. The Pioneers took their first lead of the game 45 seconds into the final frame when Dingle took a nifty feed in front of the net from Trotter and buried a power-play goal.

Less than three minutes later, Denver struck again as Butler buried a shot from the point on a man-advantage to give the Pioneers a 4-2 lead. Cook added his second goal of the night at 7:11 of the final stanza on an unassisted effort. After streaking toward the Calgary net, Cook attempted a drop pass which bounced off a Dino defender and into the goal. Mullen capped off the Pioneers' scoring with a sensational shorthanded tally at 13:03.

DU's Starting Lines vs. Calgary

Patrick Mullen - J.D. Corbin - Tyler Ruegsegger
Brock Trotter - Ryan Dingle - Rhett Rakhshani
Matt Glasser - Geoff Paukovich - Ryan Helgason
Steven Cook - Michael Handza - Brian Gifford

J.P. Testwuide - Andrew Thomas
Adrian Veideman - Keith Seabrook
Chris Butler - Cody Brookwell
T.J. Fast - Julian Marcuzzi
Zach Blom

Glenn Fisher
Peter Mannino
DU Alum Making Waves In NHL
DENVER - Joel Quenneville isn't tipping his hand just yet, but it sure sounds like a 20-year-old rookie from a prominent hockey-playing family will be in the Avalanche lineup when the 2006-07 season starts Wednesday.

That would be Paul Stastny, son of Hall of Famer Peter Stastny, who played alongside brothers Anton and Marian Stastny for the Quebec Nordiques in the 1980s.

"He looks like he belongs," Quenneville said of Paul Stastny, who left the University of Denver after his sophomore year to sign with the Avalanche in July.

"I just think as we go along here, we'll be trying different things, but he gives us one more guy who could be considered on both the power play and penalty killing. As a rookie, he's pretty impressive."

Stastny, a 6-foot, 200-pound center, played well again Wednesday in Dallas, setting up two goals in the Avalanche's 5-3 preseason victory against the Stars.

"It was fun to play because (the Stars) had almost their full NHL roster," Stastny said. "I feel good, but whatever happens, happens. I'll be ready for anything."

Stastny laughed when asked if he feels like a professional now.

"Ever since the first day of training camp when I barely had to pack my bag . . . they moved everything for me," he said. "They treat you well here."

The Avalanche drafted Stastny with its second-round pick (44th overall) in 2005 after he helped DU win the second of its back-to-back NCAA championships.

He produced 17 goals and 28 assists in 42 games as a freshman, including two goals and one assist in the Pioneers' 4-1 win against North Dakota in the title game.

Last year, Stastny collected 19 goals and 34 assists in 39 games. He led the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in scoring with 44 points (15 goals, 29 assists) in 28 games, was a first team all-conference selection and was a third team All-American.

"He's been a special player everywhere he's been," Quenneville said. "He's been a top producer. Coming in and winning a championship as a freshman, playing special teams, playing a lot of minutes . . . he was one of their top guys."

If Stastny makes the Avalanche's 23-man roster, it's likely it would be as a third-line center - behind Joe Sakic and Tyler Arnason.

Brett McLean and Brad Richardson are the other centers in camp, along with Pierre Turgeon, who is recovering from rotator cuff surgery and hasn't played in any exhibition games.

Stastny won't win too many speedskating competitions, but he manages to get to where he needs to be quickly enough and isn't easily knocked off the puck.

He also always seems to know where his teammates are on the ice, the kind of awareness that can't be taught.

In Wednesday's game, he made pinpoint passes to Milan Hejduk and Ian Laperriere that resulted in goals.

The pass to Laperriere, who scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period, was zipped by a sliding Stars defenseman.

"I just think his overall hockey sense," Quenneville said when asked what has most impressed him about the youngster. "He's a hockey player. I mean, his positioning around the ice, how he keeps himself in the play, his patience with the puck down low below the hash marks . . . his play selection is top end. He's got a real bright future."

Stastny has totaled three assists in four preseason games and scored two goals in shootouts, one of which gave the Avalanche a 3-2 victory in Detroit a week ago.

"The first day of training camp, you're always nervous," he said. "Every day, I get less and less nervous. It's good to have confidence. Having fun out there is basically where the confidence comes from.

"I felt I could be ready (for the NHL). It was just the speed up here. I just want to keep getting better. I'm young, only 20, so technically, I've still got five or six years before I hit my prime. I just want to keep getting better every day, that's what's important."

Dingle Named 2nd Team All-American by CHN

FROM: DU Website

DENVER - University of Denver junior forward Ryan Dingle (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) was named a Preseason Second-Team All-American by College Hockey News, it was announced today. Sophomore defenseman Chris Butler (St. Louis, Mo.) also represented DU as a "Player to Watch" by the online hockey news source.

Dingle earned the spot by tallying career highs in points (43), goals (27), assists (16), power-play goals (15), game-winning goals (7) and shorthanded goals (3) last season. He tallied six two-goal games last season and netted his first career hat trick against North Dakota on Feb. 25.

Butler earned All-WCHA Rookie team accolades by tallying 7-15--22 last season. He led all WCHA rookie defensemen in scoring during conference play, while netting five power-play goals overall.

Source: collegehockeynews.com/news/2006/09/28_2006-07.php

Practice? Pioneers ready to compete

By Mike Chambers
Denver Post Staff Writer

The University of Denver hockey team began a whirlwind week Thursday at the Pepsi Center, where it will host this season's NCAA Tournament West Regional and the 2008 Frozen Four.

DU and officials from the Metro Denver Sports Commission and the Pepsi Center announced ticket packages for the regional event and unveiled the Frozen Four logo.

Official DU practice begins Saturday morning at Magness Arena. That evening, DU will host the University of Calgary for an exhibition game at Magness.

DU opens the season Oct. 6 against Miami (Ohio) in the Icebreaker Tournament. Because of NCAA rules, DU coach George Gwozdecky and his staff will have had just two hours of ice time per week with players until Saturday's pregame skate.

"It's not the ideal situation, but it's not the first time in our conference that it's been done," Gwozdecky said Thursday of playing an exhibition game on the first day he and his staff are allowed full access.

"We really didn't have a choice. We either schedule an exhibition game or not. If we did schedule it, it had to be played that day. I'm sure the guys would rather play a game than practice, anyway."

Gwozdecky, whose ninth- ranked team boasts a program-record 11 NHL draft picks, isn't overly concerned about having his team in shape for No. 8 Miami. Nearly all of the sophomores, juniors and seniors have been holding captain's practices since the beginning of August.

Freshmen joined those practices about a week before school began in early September.

"We'll only have a very bare-bones type of philosophy in place," Gwozdecky said of Saturday's game. "I'm sure the timing and how we want to play from zone to zone will not be great, but all the guys have worked hard."

Captain Adrian Veideman has been leading a talented squad built from the fruits of the 2004 and '05 national titles. The senior defenseman, one of eight Pioneers with at least one NCAA championship ring, said being guaranteed to play in this season's West Regional by qualifying for the 16-team national field is discussed often, but is a delicate subject.

"It's one of those things that's in our control day-to-day," Veideman said. "We have to get ready for our success day-by- day and not look forward to next week, the weekend after, March or April."

The 2008 Frozen Four, which will be Denver's first time hosting the national semifinals since the late Herb Brooks guided Minnesota to the 1976 title at the old DU Arena, has been a big recruiting tool.

Said Gwozdecky: "We had to play in some hostile environments during our NCAA championship runs in 2004 and 2005. Our seniors are motivated to compete in the NCAA tournament in front of our hometown fans."


DU junior Ryan Dingle has been named preseason second-team All-American by College Hockey News. Dingle had 27 goals last season.

DU students catch hockey fever - Sports

DU Students Campout For Season Tickets

FROM: DU Clarion Student Newspaper

At the University of Denver there is nothing that gets the student body stirring more than Pioneer Hockey and, this Saturday at 8 a.m., the Pioneer hockey student season tickets went on sale.

A tradition of camping out for these tickets has been adopted by students at DU and this year was no different.

Tents lined the northwest corner of the Ritchie Center. Folding chairs and blankets were scattered among the tents but there were no students down on the sidewalk. Rather, the hundreds of students waiting were packed onto the landing next to the North Box Office eagerly awaiting the clock to strike eight.

At 7:45 a.m., the waiting students received a surprise as the entire Pioneer hockey team along with the coaches came out of the Ritchie Center bearing boxes of doughnuts and began passing them out to the students.

Coach George Gwozdecky told the crowd that the tradition of the team coming out and thanking the students waiting for their season tickets started about six years ago.

"The enthusiasm is always great, and it seems to get bigger and bigger as our student body becomes stronger and stronger in their support of the hockey program," said Coach Gwozdecky. "The players appreciate all the support they get from their fellow students and the enthusiasm these young kids show in lining up for tickets and at games is critically important for our success. We really appreciate it."

The players shared in Gwozdecky's appreciation for the fans lined up to pay to see them.

Senior J.D. Corbin said, "It's nice to have the students at our games because they provide a pretty good dynamic at home ice for us, so we just come out here and thank them and bring them some doughnuts."

Junior goalie Peter Mannino was happy to be thanking the fans saying, "It's awesome the support we get from our fans. This is what makes our games so special, to have the student section cheering for us makes it hard to come into Magness and play against us."

As Gwozdecky addressed the crowd close to 8 a.m. Saturday morning, he expressed his appreciation and thanks for their support of the hockey program.

Also, he rewarded the first two students in line this year by pulling his credit card from his wallet and purchasing their season tickets. Those two students were freshman John Buist and freshman Samantha Metsger.

Both Buist and Metsger set a new record as they waited for 40 hours outside the ticket booth beginning 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon. John was so exhausted by the time 8 a.m. rolled around that he forgot to get his tickets from Coach Gwozdecky and started walking away.

He didn't get too far, however, without the coach calling out to him and handing him his coveted season tickets.

Metsger's thoughts on the wait for tickets were as simple as, "It's a good time."

Coach Gwozdecky was impressed by the devotion of the two fans, saying, "I don't think I have ever experienced anybody coming out earlier than Friday morning. John and Samantha set a new record."

All 450 season tickets were sold out by 10 a.m. Saturday morning. The remaining student tickets will be sold every Monday before a home series.

The Pioneers will play the University of Calgary in an exhibition game Saturday, Sept. 30 in Magness Arena.

(above) Perhaps its high time for DU and Colorado College hockey fans to put aside a long simmering feud and get along as friends....Perhaps Not.

LetsGoDU Celebrates 1st Anniversary

One year ago today, LetsGoDU kicked off its coverage of the DU Hockey Program, WCHA happenings and the occasional arrest that pops up around the college hockey universe.

Ok I admit it, In the past year I've poached articles off the internet, "Bandwidth Hijacked" photos from Google Images and made up stories about our friends down the road at Colorado College. So far I haven't been sued, so that a relief to be sure (Don't get any ideas, the Texas judicial systems doesn't take kindly to "Carpetbagging Yankees" suing Texans and you'd have a hard time finding a juror down here who has ever seen a hockey game).

Thanks to everyone who reads the Blog, contributes articles comments & ideas, and the DU fans on the USCHO.com Message Board, who find an unbelievable amount of content for me to use/poach. Thanks especially to everyone over at the University of Denver who have resurrected our Hockey Program into Champions on and off the ice.


Alaska Hockey Finalizes Elite Field For 2008 Tournament

Article From CSTV.com

FAIRBANKS, AK - Forrest Karr, Director of Athletics for the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the Alaska Nanooks hockey program announced the elite field, with a combined 14 NCAA National Championships, that will compete in the inaugural four-team NCAA Division I hockey tournament to be hosted by the Alaska Nanooks. The tournament is scheduled for October 10-11, 2008 at the Carlson Center and will include the University of Denver and the University of Minnesota of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) and the University of Maine, representing Hockey East.

"We are thrilled with the caliber of teams committed to playing in the inaugural tournament," said Karr. "We look forward to working with the community on everything from naming to organizing the event."

University of Denver Pioneers

The Pioneers are tied for second with North Dakota for the most national championships with seven, including back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005. Under the leadership of head coach George Gwozdecky (276-176-36, 12 years at DU), Denver finished the 2005-06 campaign with a 21-15-3 record.

DU Hockey Program Featured in 1961 Article

From: Time Magazine
Friday, Jan. 6, 1961

(left) Murray Armstrong played in the NHL for 8 seasons before coaching the Pioneers

With the collegiate hockey season in full swing, the team that most experts rate the best in the U.S. has yet to use a single American. For that matter, the University of Denver's Coach Murray Armstrong has only one American to put on the ice—second-string Goalie Paul DiNapoli of Belmont, Mass. With the exception of DiNapoli. every player on Denver's 20-man squad is a Canadian.
Last week, as Goalie DiNapoli once again sat on the sidelines, his Canadian teammates, true to form, trounced Michigan Tech by scores of 5-1 and 2-0. The supremacy of Denver's Canadians, holders of last season's collegiate hockey championship, is hard enough on U.S. pride.

Harder still is the fact that Denver is defending its title against other top U.S. college teams manned almost entirely by Canadians. The Canadian hockey invasion has set off one of the bitterest fights in U.S. college athletics.

Getting the Race Horses. As the most successful U.S. college recruiter of Canadian talent, Denver's natty Murray Armstrong makes no apologies for the tactic that has won 98 of 140 games, last year turned out a team that beat the Olympic squads of the U.S. (which won a gold medal at Squaw Valley), West Germany and Sweden. A Canadian himself, Coach Armstrong coolly cites the lesson he learned during his career as a National Hockey League player: "The key to success in any athletics is recruiting. You can't make a race horse out of a mule. I simply go where the best hockey is played—in western Canada—and look for players with good brains."

Ranged alongside Armstrong in the dominant Western Collegiate Hockey Association are such other far-north recruiters as Colorado College, Michigan Tech and Michigan. Against him stand a clutch of Eastern coaches whose colleges refuse to recruit Canadians and who hotly charge that a flock of the Canadian invaders are really pros by U.S. standards.

It is indisputable that many of the imports come from Canada's Junior A leagues, which serve as unofficial farm teams for the N.H.L. and which pay promising players an average of $60 a week. Under Canada's tolerant eligibility rules, an athlete does not become a professional unless he plays on an avowedly professional team. Armstrong stoutly maintains that none of his boys ever got salaries in the Junior A's. Such claims bring a hoot from Minnesota Coach Johnny Mariucci, one of the few Americans who ever made the N.H.L. and a man who resolutely builds his team around Minnesota-born players. "If you find a boy like that," snaps Mariucci, "bring him to me. I'll tell him he's been cheated. They all get paid."

Limiting the Invasion. The Western Collegiate Hockey Association now deprives Canadian players of one season of U.S. college eligibility for every year they played the game in Canada after their 20th birthday. And under pressure from irate anti-Canadian coaches, the policy committee of the National Collegiate Athletic Association this month will debate a far tougher measure: total loss of eligibility for a man who has played in any league that pays any of its players. In the meantime, Denver is looking forward to another championship this year. Shrugs one Denver fan: "All I care about is that our Canadians beat every one else's Canadians."

Fightin' Goalie C-O-V-E-R U-P

(above) This was one shot to the head that Lamoureux was able to stop

Dave Hakstol's offseason conditioning program hit a bump in the road when his #1 goaltender was punched in the head from a member of the University of North Dakota Football Team.

Reports on Sioux Sports.com have your favorite netminder and mine, Philippe Lamoureux, involved in some sort of a fracas at a Grand Forks watering hole over a hottie. Reportedly Coach Hakstol called up Dale Lennon the coach of the football team and said the boys shouldn't be fighting and Lennon said, "I'm not worried about my boys" and hung up the phone on Hak.

While DU hockey players intern during the summer at Wells Fargo, PriceWaterhouse Coopers and JP Morgan (see Danny King article below), UND players unload the Budweiser truck, wash dirty glasses, empty ashtrays and make Pina Coladas in Grand Forks.

Of course savvy WCHA fans might be asking what a 5'10" 155 lbs. goaltender is doing fighting a a football player, albeit a Division II football player, but we'll leave that for another day. For now it looks like Filly has recovered from his bout and was seen practicing with the Fighting Sioux today...
Danny King Leads Pioneers
Hobey Voting Kicks Off In January

From: DU Clarion
by Brooks Kirchheimer
Danny KingHe is the man behind the mask that no one really knows. He is the man that goes to every practice, every summer workout and every team meeting. He is the current DU senior that has yet to play in a regular or post-season college hockey, but never complains.

His name is Danny King and the Colorado Springs native has won two NCAA national championships with the Pioneers.

"It has its time when it can be tough, but you have to stick with your work ethic and remember how much you love the game," said King.

"Throughout the past three seasons Danny King has played an important and yet difficult role as a member of the Pioneer hockey team. Although his goaltending skills have continued to develop his playing time has been limited," said Head Coach George Gwozdecky.

King began his hockey career at the age of five in Colorado Springs playing youth hockey for the Tigers, an affiliate of the Colorado College program. King started as a forward for the first year, but quickly moved to goaltender and has been in the crease ever since.

"Being goalie has that adrenaline rush and so when you get in front of the goal during the game and play it is just an exciting position," said King.

After going to high school in Colorado Springs, King continued his hockey career playing for the Great Falls Americans of the America West Hockey League. In his two seasons he earned player of the month honors and also was the winning goaltender in the longest game in history of the AWHL.

The next stop on King's hockey career was playing for the Huntsville Wildcats of the Ontario Provincial Hockey League during the 2002-2003 season. While playing for Huntsville, King was named team Most Valuable Player and played in all but one game.

After playing junior hockey it was time for King to decide where he was going to play college hockey. King decided between Denver, Colorado College and Lake Superior State.

"I choose Denver because it has the total family atmosphere, all the players and coaches are one big family and DU is a great school and has an excellent business school," said King.

King came into Denver knowing that he would be a back-up goaltender and was fine with that.

"I feel that I bring a great work ethic to the rink every day and compete with Peter Mannino and Glenn Fisher during practices and help push them and get them to the top of their game," said King.

King is the player that is first on the ice and last off and brings a work ethic to the ice that all players should model after.

"Despite his lack of playing time Danny has maintained a very positive attitude. His great commitment to training has pushed all those around him to be better. As a result he has developed great respect from his teammates," said Gwozdecky.

King is a finance/marketing major in the Daniels College of Business and has a summer internship at JP Morgan in the downtown Denver office.

"I know that I probably will not play professional hockey and I have a great internship and will continue to learn about the finance industry," said King.

Although King did not play in either championship season, he still has lifetime memories from the games.

"It is ironic because the NCAA championships are the highlights of my hockey career and I didn't even play in the games. I had no idea what the experience would be like and it was great and something I will never forget," said King.

King is the epitome of a team player and although he has never played a game, he has played through his teammates and has helped everyone in the locker room be successful.

"Danny King represents Pioneer hockey in a first class manner," said Gwozdecky.
2007 Recruit Ostrow Sizzles In Canada

Scott Brown, The Daily News

(Right) Kyle Ostrow won't attend the University of Denver until the Fall of 2007, but for now he's tearing up the British Columbia Hockey League

Kyle Ostrow tallied three goals and an assist in Saturday's 5-4 Clippers' win in Langley. It was the first four-point game of the 19-year-old's B.C. Hockey League career -- it won't be his last.

With three goals and three assists, Ostrow rates third among BCHL skaters, behind Merritt's Wade MacLeod and Casey Pierro-Zabotel, with nine points and seven points respectively. The Merritt pair, however, have played one more game than the skilled Nanaimo forward.

It's probably too early to pay too much attention to the league's leading scorers, but Clippers coach Bill Bestwick says there is no reason why Ostrow won't contend for a BCHL scoring title this season.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he reaches 100 points this year," Bestwick said after Wednesday's practice. "He's more than capable of it."

The veteran bench boss compares Ostrow's puck skills to those of former Clipper snipers Tyson Mulock and Michelle Leveille.

"Kyle has that innate ability to read the game extremely well," he said. "He's a special player."

Registering 100 points on a Bill Bestwick team is no small order. He rolls four lines and plays without a set powerplay unit. Mulock, maybe the most gifted player to throw on a Clippers' jersey in the past decade, could only muster 89 points in his one-season stay in Nanaimo three years ago.

Bestwick rewards hard work, and skilled players aren't afforded a free ride on his watch. Ostrow wouldn't have it any other way.

"I like it. He expects effort from everyone," he said. "It keeps you honest."

Ostrow, who is playing on a line with fellow sophomore Cody Danberg (1g, 2a) and 20-year-old Nanaimo product Brendan Mason (2g, 2a), hasn't set any offensive goals for this season -- at least none that he will admit to.

"I just want to lead this team on and off the ice," said Ostrow, who registered 20 goals and 40 assists in his rookie season last year.

The Calgary product, who will attend the University of Denver next season, was passed over in the NHL Entry Draft this past spring. Despite the snub, he still harbours pro ambitions.

"I knew the scouts were following the team because of Chevy (goaltender Marc Cheverie-Another 2007 DU Recruit), so I was thinking that someone would take notice of me," he said. "This year it's the same thing, the scouts will be out watching the Devins (brothers Mike and Joe) and maybe someone will notice me."

Three DU Hockey Alums Return To Magness Tonight
CENTENNIAL - It isn't often when three players from the same school emerge as NHL teammates, and it's even more rare when they are able to return to campus to play as professionals.

It's why Antti Laaksonen, Mark Rycroft and Paul Stastny are so excited about the Burgundy and White exhibition tonight, the Avalanche's annual charity event at the University of Denver's Magness Arena.

It's a homecoming game for the three former Pioneers.

Laaksonen, 32, spent four years at DU, graduated in 1997 with a degree in international business and signed with the Boston Bruins, who selected him 191st overall in the 1997 NHL entry draft.

Rycroft, 28, left in 2000 after his junior year to sign as a free agent with the St. Louis Blues.

Stastny, 20, left this summer, after his sophomore year, to sign with the Avalanche, which made him a second-round pick (44th overall) in 2005.

Laaksonen and Rycroft will suit up for the Burgundy team, Stastny for the White squad.

DU's George Gwozdecky, who coached all three, will be watching with a great deal of pride.

"It's three guys who never played with each other and are from three different eras," Gwozdecky said. "I think it's real special. One of the things we've tried to do since we got here is tie in the past with the present and the future."

Laaksonen, a speedy left wing, didn't play at Magness Arena while in college. The building opened three years after he left, but he makes Denver his home and skates there with returning DU players every summer.

Recruited by Frank Serratore, who now coaches at the Air Force Academy, Laaksonen played under Gwozdecky for three years and said leaving his native Finland for the school was one of the best decisions he ever has made.

"I'm really glad I did it," Laaksonen said Sunday after training camp sessions at the South Suburban Family Sports Center. "I met my wife there my first year, and in May we'll be married nine years. Going to DU really helped my hockey career, because it's hard to get noticed in Finland. We made the NCAAs twice and I got noticed. It's probably the only reason I got drafted."

Laaksonen recorded 75 goals and 72 assists in 154 games at DU. He spent his first six NHL seasons with Boston and Minnesota and signed with the Avalanche in 2004.

Rycroft, a grinding center and right wing, signed with the Avalanche in July. He plays a style similar to that of Dan Hinote, who left Colorado in June to hook up with Rycroft's former team in St. Louis.

The British Columbia native collected 51 goals and 52 assists in 117 games at DU but wasn't drafted and gave up his senior year when the Blues came calling.

"I have some fond memories of playing at DU," Rycroft said. "My last year was the first year of the new arena, so I'm looking forward to going back and reliving some memories. DU was the first school interested in me. I flew down there, saw the city and the campus, and it turned out to be a great place to be."

Rycroft earned a degree in real estate/construction management three years after turning pro and said he stays in touch with as many former Pioneers teammates as possible.

Stastny, a playmaking center and the son of Hall of Famer Peter Stastny, totaled 36 goals and 62 assists in 81 games at DU and was a member of the Pioneers' 2004-05 national championship team.

"I'm excited about this game. It's going to be awesome," he said. "It was an honor to play there, and I'm thankful for all the help I got. I owe them a lot."

"Gwozdecky has turned out plenty of NHL players but takes as much interest in those who have gone on to other fields. He sends progress reports of his current teams to former players on a weekly basis during the season.

"The guys call back and stay in touch quite a bit, and that's always real special," he said. "They follow the program."

DU's Recruiting Class Ranked #4 by INCH

(left) Incoming defenseman Cody Brookwell hopes to bring a physical presence to the Pioneers this season

InsideCollegeHockey.com judged DU's incoming Freshman class to be the 4th best in the country. DU recruits Rhett Rakhashani, Tyler Ruegsegger & Keith Seabrook were singled out as the top prospects. In the three years that INCH has been ranking the recruiting classes this was DU's highest showing (DU's 2004 Freshman class was ranked 8th, 2005's class was ranked #6).

INCH ranked Rhett Rakhashani as the #2 incoming forward based on his outstanding play at Team USA's Summer Hockey Challenge. They added, "the Huntington Beach, Calif., native isn't super fast or flashy, but with his game – he's a "north-south" player who likes to go to the net – he doesn't need to be.

Lakewood, Colorado native Tyler Ruegsegger played his prep hockey at Shattuck St. Mary's in Minnesota and is considered to be one of the top high school prospects in the state. INCH ranked Ruegsegger as the #11 incoming Freshman forward in the country.

Keith Seabrook was ranked as the #6 Defenseman and comes from British Columbia. He played his junior hockey with the Burnaby Express. INCH added, "Keith is not as big as his older brother, Chicago Blackhawk standout Brent Seabrook, but at 6-foot and 200 pounds, he won't get knocked around either. Played extremely well for Burnaby in last season's BCHL playoffs."

INCH also recognized Alberta recruit Matt Glasser, who was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers. "Glasser scored 49 points in 62 games for the AJHL's Fort McMurray Oil Barons two years ago. Due to injuries his production fell off to just 35 points in 58 contests last year."

Forward Brian Gifford was drafted in the 3rd Round by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2004. He's from Moorhead, MN. and was the runner-up in Minnesota's Mr. Hockey award in 2004. Last two seasons were spent with the Indiana Ice of the USHL.

Defenseman Cody Brookwell (6'4" 215 lbs.) arrives at DU from Calgary, Alberta. After two seasons in the BCHL, Brookwell spent last season concentrating more on the physical side of his game. He noted, "I'm tried to bring a more physical presence to my game last year. As a leader and a bigger guy back there I've got to step it up in that area."

Brandon Vossberg rounds out the recruiting class. The Pioneers Roster lists him at Forward, although there was some talk of Vossberg playing defense. He played last season for the Santa Fe Roadrunners (NAHL) where he was Captain of the team. Vossberg hails from St. Paul, Minnesota.
Boston University Students Swear At Hockey Games

The BU Administration has cracked down on the BU Student Section for the upcoming season. University officials said yes that they have a "new policy" forbidding the use of swear words at BU sports events, along with racist and sexist comments (Doesn't this imply that the "Old Policy" endorsed the use of profanity, racist cheers & sexist comments). The penalty is expulsion from the sporting event, and it has enraged some students who say that cursing is practically tradition.

In honor of the BU Students LetsGoDU has obtained two video clips from YouTube.com of the "Good Old Days." The 2nd video is an ESPN Instant Classic as the BU fans get the whole "train" involved on their way home from the game.

BU Student Section
(PG-17 Warning: Contains Graphic/Colorful Language which may be offensive to BU Administrators, priests, parents, wealthy donors & some Republicans)

BU Students on the train
(PG-17 Warning: Contains Graphic/Colorful Language which may be offensive to BU Administrators, priests, parents, wealthy donors & some Republicans)
Stastny's Genes Are Advantage To Rookie
CENTENNIAL - Think of hockey playing families and the Sutter brothers of Viking, Alberta, quickly come to mind. Brent, Brian, Darryl, Duane, Rich and Ron Sutter played in the NHL with varying degrees of success.

Then there are the Stastnys, led by Hall of Famer Peter, who in 15 seasons with Quebec, New Jersey and St. Louis recorded 450 goals and 789 assists; he retired after the 1994-95 season and ranks second behind Joe Sakic on the Nordiques/Avalanche career scoring list with 1,048 points.

Peter's brothers, Anton and Marian, also enjoyed successful NHL careers, combining for 373 goals and 557 assists in the 1980s.

Now it's Paul Stastny's turn to keep up the family tradition.

After starring at the University of Denver for two years, the 20-year-old center signed with the Avalanche in July and is taking part in the team's rookie camp at the South Suburban Family Sports Center.

He's wearing jersey No. 62, reversing the digits worn by his dad.

"I can learn so much from him," said Paul Stastny, whose brother Yan is a 23-year-old center in the Boston Bruins organization. "Every day I can call him and ask him a question here and there. He's been through it, so he knows what I'm going through."

Stastny benefited from his time at DU, where he totaled 36 goals and 62 assists in 81 games and as a freshman helped the Pioneers win the national championship.

But he felt the time was right to take the next step.

"I think two years was more than enough," said the 6-foot, 200-pounder, the Avalanche's second-round pick (44th overall) in the 2005 NHL entry draft. "I had so much fun, but it made it a little easier to leave knowing that I won a national championship and played with so many good players. I just felt it was time for me to move on."

Stastny's decision didn't shock DU coach George Gwozdecky, who pointed out a number of underclassmen from Western Collegiate Hockey Association schools have left in recent years to pursue professional careers.

"We knew Paul had a terrific career up to this point, and we were hoping that we'd be able to get another year out of him, but it wasn't completely surprising," Gwozdecky said. "We're very proud of what Paul was able to accomplish here, and we wish him the best."

While Stastny leans on his dad for advice, he said he never has felt pressured into making decisions, this one included.

"I think we both knew that I was ready to take on the next challenge, to play with quicker and bigger players," he said. "He said I was going to be nervous at first but to just be myself and to have fun out there."

Stastny realizes he will have a tough time cracking an Avalanche roster that includes veteran centers Joe Sakic, Pierre Turgeon, Tyler Arnason, Brett McLean and Mark Rycroft, along with returnees Brad Richardson and Cody McCormick.

"If they like me, they like me," he said. "If not, then I'll go wherever they send me, just so I keep getting better every day."

New NHL rules implemented last season put an emphasis on offense and speed, and Stastny probably won't win many skating competitions.

But Gwozdecky said it would be a huge mistake to underestimate that aspect of his game.

"First, Paul is a very intelligent player. He sees the ice extremely well, and he's a very good passer," Gwozdecky said. "When he first got here, the rap against him was he can't skate. But Paul Stastny is a strong skater; you can't knock him off his skates.

"I think those people who called him a poor skater don't have a clue in evaluating players. For what he was able to do at this level and probably will be able to do at the next level, his skating is absolutely terrific."

In an attempt to improve his mobility, Stastny spent a good chunk of the summer playing tennis and soccer.

"A lot of cross-training to help out with the speed," he said.

A business major at DU, Stastny acknowledged it would be different getting up in the morning for hockey practice instead of class.

"But I plan on taking some online courses and finishing my degree in five or six years, hopefully," he said.

For now, his classroom is strictly on the ice.

A Look Back

Lukas Dora scoring the game tying goal against Minnesota Duluth in the 2004 Frozen Four Semi-Finals
(Photo: Monty Rand)
From: DU Pioneers Official Website

Matt Laatsch Returns to DU as Volunteer Asst. Coach

DENVER - Former University of Denver hockey captain Matt Laatsch (Lakeville, Minn.) has joined the team as a volunteer assistant coach, announced today by two-time National Coach of the Year George Gwozdecky. Laatsch guided the Pioneers to their second consecutive NCAA National Championship in 2005 and tallied 6-24--30 during a solid four-year career. He returns to the Pioneers after a brief stint with the American Hockey League's Utah Grizzlies before retiring from professional hockey after attending the Chicago Blackhawks camp in the fall of 2005.

"I am excited to be back as a volunteer assistant coach," Laatsch said. "I have always wanted to coach and I am very grateful to Coach Gwozdecky and the University of Denver for this opportunity."

Laatsch will assist in on-ice coaching, game analysis and video breakdown for the Pioneers. He played 110 games for DU and was part of the most successful classes in DU hockey history. His senior class of 2005 posted a 112-43-14 record in 169 games, captured back-to-back NCAA National Championships in 2004 and 2005, two WCHA Final Five and two WCHA regular-season championships, and four Wells Fargo Denver Cup championships.

"Matt did a terrific job leading our 2005 team to the national championship," Gwozdecky said. "He knows what it takes to be a successful student-athlete at the highest level and he will be a major asset for our hockey program this season."

Laatsch earned his bachelor's degree in business management from DU in 2004.

Michelle Kwan To Play For DU

The Associated Press
Coach Gwozdecky may have finally solved the problem of replacing Paul Stastny for the upcoming season. Sophmore walk-on Michele Kwan will be available for the Pioneers after transferring from UCLA. Although not a physical player, Kwan is noted for her skating ability and winning attitude. Kwan plans on skipping the upcoming figure skating season and attending the University of Denver.

Kwan said on Wednesday she will become a full-time student at Denver, and will be content to skate in exhibitions (such as DU's exhibition game aganst Calgary on September 30th?).

"Each year, since 2002, I have taken a one-year-at-a-time approach to my figure skating plans," the five-time world champion said. "Education is very important to me, and this year I have decided to put college first (I wish Stats & Skinner had the same commitment). Next year at this time I will again evaluate all my options, including returning to competitive skating."

The 26-year-old Kwan did not compete in the 2005-06 season because of a series of injuries. She was chosen for the U.S. Olympic team on a medical bye, then injured her groin in the first practice in Turin, Italy, and withdrew.

Last month, Kwan underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn labrum in her right hip (probably sustained from hip checking Scott Hamilton into the boards during a pickup 3 on 3 game), an injury she sustained during the 2004-2005 season. The rehab lasts about four months, another factor in her decision to skip this season.

The most accomplished skater of her generation, Kwan won a silver medal in the 1998 Olympics and a bronze in 2002 (A better showing than the US/NHL Olympic Hockey Team). She previously attended UCLA, earning a year worth of credits that have been transferred to Denver. Kwan plans to major in political science, with a minor in international studies (Looks like we have a budding Condoleezza Rice in our midst).
Coach Gwozdecky said, "We are excited to have Michelle come to DU. We have no doubt that she'll step in and contribute right away. I see her on a line with Corbin and Mullen who skate like figure skaters as well."

No word if Geoff Paukovich will skip the upcoming hockey season to perform with Kwan in DU Programing Board's Christmas extravaganza Beauty & the Beast on Ice.
By Jess Myers

Freshman | Forward | Brandon, Manitoba

(left) Brock Trotter's abreviated first season resulted in a medical redshirt, so he will return to Denver as a Freshman forward for the 2006-07 season.
Key Statistics: Trotter had arguably the most impressive five-game campaign in college hockey last year, netting three goals, two assists and one WCHA Rookie of the Week honor for the Pioneers before a severed Achilles tendon in his right leg ended his season on October 29.

What He Does: In what his coaches now call a kind of “dress rehearsal” for college hockey, Trotter skated on a line, and on the power play, with Gabe Gauthier and J.D. Corbin early last season. The rookie’s natural playmaking ability, combined with talented linemates, meant instant success. His second freshman season begins with and increased role in the Denver offense and the promise of more good things to come after the NCAA granted Trotter a medical redshirt.

The Bigger Picture: From the corner of his eye, Trotter saw North Dakota’s Matt Smaby coming at him fast, he absorbed the crunching hit into the end boards and fell to the ice. When he tried to get up and instead fell into the back of the net, that’s when Trotter knew there was trouble. Then he saw the blood, and Sioux goalie Jordan Parise waving frantically for a trainer. Just like that, Trotter’s season was over. Now the two months in a wheelchair and the six different casts are in the past, and Trotter is back on the ice, convinced that the physical and mental hurdles have been cleared. With the Pioneers looking for new sources of offense (for lack of guys named Carle, Stastny and Gauthier) this season, fans in Denver are hopeful Trotter’s point-per-game pace (he had 63 points in 64 games during his one season in the USHL) wasn’t a fluke.

Denver head coach George Gwozdecky on Trotter: "We saw him so briefly, but even in that short time we saw him go from young, nervous and not very confident to a guy that we could see would do some really special things. I think it’s good for him to see the challenges he went though. Those are good things to learn from.”