2 DU Recruits Under The Microscope @ Combine

Over 100 of the top prospects available in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft are in Toronto to take part in the league's Combine. The players are taking part in physical testing and most have a series of interviews set up with representatives from NHL clubs.

TSN is at the combine, and will file reports on the various activities throughout the day in their Combine Blog. This article is running live today and two DU recruits popped up on the radar early in the workouts.

9:39 - The NHL annual meat market is already well underway with one group having completed the physical testing portion. The prospects are all wearing heart monitors so their heartbeats can be tracked during the workouts.

The most interesting test so far is the anaerobic test on the bike. Not only do they see how high a player's heart rate gets, they also see how quickly it recovers to a normal range. University of Minnesota recruit Aaron Ness, ranked number 27 in North America by NHL Central Scouting, had a really quick recovery. He is obviously in great shape.

Two players in the first testing group that seemed to have a harder time with recovery were DU recruits Joe Colborne of Camrose in the AJHL (ranked 28th by CSB) and David Carle (60th), the younger brother of Sharks defenceman Matt Carle.

10:41 - We've got a new star at the combine - it's Colin Wilson of Boston University. He was ranked 10th in North America by CSB, but that might be going up because NHL types certainly took notice of him today. To put it bluntly, he is ripped. Before he even did anything, Wilson looked NHL-ready with a big, strong body. Then he got on the bench and blew everyone else away. Unofficially, previously mentioned strongman John Carlson did 16 reps on the bench press. Wilson did 21.

Most of the time, the GMs don't pay much attention to this stuff, they are mostly here for the interviews, but many were seen taking notice of Wilson's efforts.

Brandon Burlon (ranked 41st and going to the University of Michigan next year) also looked good on the bench and on the bike.

It's an interesting second group with the bruisers mixed in with some tall, skinny kids that still need to fill out - including Derek Grant (40th) and Jimmy Hayes (63rd).

Former Team USA teammates Wilson and Hayes took turns cheering each other on during testing, a rare dynamic in a normally tense and reserved atmosphere. That looked like a good example of leadership to some observers.

A list of NHL front office types seen in attendance: George McPhee (Washington), Dale Tallon (Chicago), Doug Wilson (San Jose), Jim Nill (Detroit), Dean Lombardi (Los Angeles), Don Maloney (Phoenix) and Scott Mellanby (Vancouver).

Glenn Fisher Signs AHL Contract For Next Season

DU alum Glenn Fisher, who played goal in Stockton in the East Coast League last season, has signed an AHL contract for the 2008-09 season. He'll attend the Edmonton Oilers prospect camp this summer.

Fisher was selected in the fifth round (148th overall) of the 2002 NHL Draft by Edmonton. He was named DU's Most Valuable Player as a 2006-07 senior with a career-low 2.32 GAA.

"Bring Back Boone!" Video Debuts On YouTube

(left) To purchase a Boone T-shirt that's sure to be a collectors item, email bmeyer4@du.edu

It was only a matter of time before DU's former mascot Boone got enough Street Cred to star in his own YouTube Video.

Looks like some DU students took the initiative and produced a fun video asking the question, "Where's Boone?"

DU Athletics Wrap Up Most Successful Season

The University of Denver ski team won its 19th NCAA national championship in Bozeman, Montana this winter

From: DU Clarion Student Newspaper
by Brooks Kirchheimer

With the 2007-08 school year quickly coming to a close, it is time to look back at what an amazing year DU athletics had.

Just like every season there are the question marks that surround every team and the high expectations that come with representing DU and this season teams lived up to those expectations and more.

This year the 17 Division I teams captured six conference titles, one NCAA team championship and two individual NCAA titles as well as 10 teams making NCAA appearances. Also honors were awarded to eight Denver coaches who won coach of the year awards.

Capturing conference titles were men's lacrosse, men and women's golf, women's tennis, women's soccer and hockey. The skiing team continued its domination winning its 19th NCAA title in program history. Junior John Buchar won the men's slalom and giant slalom to become just the second skier in DU history to win both events at the NCAA championships.

Last season junior Adam Cole went to the podium for both events. This season Cole broke his leg in the first competition of the season and was unable to compete for the rest of the year.

For some sports, this season brought disappointment. After a 20-11 record in 2006-07 the women's basketball team had high expectations, but struggled early and often this season on its way to a 11-19 record. The future looks bright, though, for the program with 13-year Head Coach Pam Tanner recently stepping down the team is now in the hands of young and promising Erik Johnson.

Disappointment also set in for the women's lacrosse team, which, for the second consecutive season, lost to Stanford in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship game by one goal and again missed out on a possible NCAA tournament bid.

Women's gymnastics had an amazing season by seeing the most consistency of high scores in program history and gaining a No. 12 ranking for most of the season. But when the stage was the NCAA, the Pioneers disappointed with a 12th place finish at the championships.

On the other hand, the women's volleyball team finished with the best record in Division I Pioneer history at 22-12 and won its third SBC West Division title. DU's season came to an abrupt end in the semi-finals of the SBC tournament that Denver hosted. Western Kentucky defeated the Pioneers 3-1 to end their season.

The tennis program had another record-setting year as the women's team captured the first SBC title in program history and the men's team achieved a ranking as high as No. 37. The men made their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance this season and lost to Oklahoma State in the first round, while the women defeated Long Beach State in the first round before losing to UCLA.

The men's golf team captured its first-ever SBC title this season and advanced to its sixth consecutive NCAA regional while the women won the record-setting fifth consecutive conference title. The women finished tied for sixth in their second consecutive NCAA championship tournament appearance.

Another team that made a NCAA tournament appearance was the women's soccer team, which lost 5-0 to Portland in the first round a season after the men had made school history and advanced to the second round for the first time after defeating Kentucky.

The 2007-08 season for DU athletics re-wrote many record books and brought home lots of hardware and to say the least was quite a success.

"I am very pleased with the progress of our athletic programs. I really feel that we have incredible momentum across the division… We are moving in the right direction," said athletic director Peg Bradley-Doppes.

It is direction that should force the building of new cabinets to store much more hardware that the Pioneers will bring home in the future.

Denver Cited As 7th Best Hockey City In N.A.

Its hardly a scientific survey and the article was filled with flaws, but at least one writer at Sports Central thinks that Denver is the 7th best Hockey City in North America. And he did give some props to the DU Hockey Program, so we'll throw them a link.

7. Denver

The Avalanche are an exciting team to watch. With wile veterans like Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic, the Avs always have a chance to win and there is a very extensive fan base rocking the Pepsi Center every night they get the chance. Denver is also home to Denver Pioneers hockey, who were third in the WCHA this season. The WCHA regular season champion, the Colorado College Tigers, are located in Colorado Springs, just south of Denver. Two great college hockey programs and a solid NHL team put Denver at number seven.

Ducks Offer Dineen Promotion To "Stay Put"

From: MVN.com
by Chris Roy

As for DU Alum Kevin Dineen’s future, he’s just going to take each day one at a time. With NHL head coaching jobs available in Ottawa, Toronto, Atlanta, San Jose and Florida and Dineen’s name attached to all of them in one way or another, he’s not taking anything for granted.

“I’m going to take a couple more days to take care of things around here and then there’s that personal time were you have to do a little evaluating on you own future and right now we’re still in that evaluation stage.”

Dineen still under contract til July 1 has some unfinished business to take care in Portland before he’ll turn his focus to his future, which will include a job offer from the Anaheim Ducks.

Ducks’ General Manager Brian Burke has offered Dineen a chance to move up in the organization, meaning the future Ducks farm club will have a new head coach in place for next year.

“It’s something that you get excited about when (Burke and staff) feel you’ve done a good enough job where (Anaheim) would offer for you to move forward in the organization,” said Dineen.

“We’ll see how it goes from there… I’m very fortunate that Anaheim has offered me a role to move forward in their future,” Dineen said. “We’ll evaluate that, I signed a three-year deal and now we’ll move forward from there.”

San Jose Writer Thinks Dineen Will Coach Sharks

From: San Jose Mercury
by Mark Purdy

You can't stop me from speculating. I have my own theory about who will be the team's next coach. You'll have to wait until the end of the column to see it. A cheap trick, I know. But the choice is based on the clues GM Ron Wilson dropped this week at the annual "State Of The Sharks" session with fans.

Wilson said his ideal candidate would be a "blue-collar" type personality, someone the players might not look forward to being around on certain days.

"It may be uncomfortable," Wilson said, "but the reward is worth it."

Yet another hint: Wilson said he was looking at candidates from all levels of hockey - the NHL, the minor American Hockey League, the Canadian junior system and even USA college hockey.

"A lot of people we want to talk to," Wilson said, "either work for other organizations or are under contract. I don't think we want to pay a $1 million fine for tampering."

So there you have it. Taking all of those Wilson remarks into account, it's not difficult to put together a Sharks short list.

Joel Quenneville is definitely on that list, for a couple of reasons. The hockey voices I trust in Canada also say that Quenneville is the logical man for the Sharks. His record in Colorado was 131-92-23 during his three seasons there.

Before Colorado, Quenneville had great success with the St. Louis Blues. During his eight seasons there, he became the franchise's winningest coach - yet advanced beyond the second playoff round just once. Sound familiar?

That's why I'm not sure Quenneville is the right fit for the Sharks. Too much baggage. In fact, I don't think the next coach of our beloved Los Tiburones will be anyone with NHL head-coaching experience.

Who's the man, then? Go back and read Wilson's quotes. It's obvious his role model for the hiring is Randy Carlyle, the Anaheim Ducks' coach. Carlyle was a hard-nosed NHL defenseman who moved onto the bench as a kick-butt-and-take-names personality. But when the Ducks hired Carlyle in 2005, his only head-coaching job had been with the Manitoba Moose of the AHL. Two years later, he led Anaheim to the Stanley Cup title.

At various times, Wilson has also expressed his admiration for other coaches with Carlyle-like backgrounds. One is Peter Laviolette, who won a Stanley Cup with Carolina and is still there - but cut his coaching teeth by winning the AHL championship in Providence. Another is Michel Therrien, who has the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Cup finals this weekend - but was hired there in 2005 after coaching the Penguins' AHL team in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

So let's think. Who most resembles those coaches among possible San Jose candidates?

One man would be Roy Sommer, the Sharks' top minor league coach in Worcester. He will definitely get an interview with Wilson. So will Tim Hunter, the able Sharks assistant coach who personified the term "blue collar" during his playing days.

There is one name, however, to which I keep gravitating:

Kevin Dineen.

In fact, it's almost scary how Dineen fits Wilson's profile. As a player, Dineen was a nose-to-the-grindstone guy and a team captain with the Philadelphia Flyers, Hartford Whalers and Carolina Hurricanes. Three years ago, he was named coach of the Portland Pirates' AHL team in Maine, Anaheim's top minor league affiliate.

And how's he done? Espousing a no-nonsense ethic, Dineen won the league's coach of the year award in 2006. He currently has his team in the AHL Eastern Conference finals. Until the Pirates are eliminated, Dineen is off limits to Wilson.

The hunch here, though, is that as soon as Portland is done, Wilson will be talking with Dineen. And eventually making him an offer. Citizen journalists, if you see Dineen strolling through your neighborhood, please advise. I think he's your next Sharks coach.

DU Athletic Department Survey On Boone Mascot

At LetsGoDU we support the return of the Denver Boone Mascot. In fact LetsGoDU has been calling for Boone's return since our very first article was posted on September 27, 2005. Since then, we've published dozens of articles and photos of players, students, alums and fans calling for Boone's return.

If you're a DU Alum, fan, student or parent and would like to see Boone return to DU, go to the survey link below
Hockey Alum Paul Stastny (left) poses with the Denver Boone & a DU fan

The article below is currently hosted on the DU Athletics Website

Calling all Pioneers!

There’s a rumbling on campus and the students are leading the charge. With the recent success of DU's athletic programs, efforts to mobilize DU school spirit are swirling. This energy has come together in a discussion about our university’s heritage and traditions, and at the core of that conversation has been the student identity of “Pioneers”. As part of this dialogue, student leaders from across campus (All Undergraduate Student Association, Student Athlete Advisory Committee, Student Life, as well as a newly- formed DU History and Traditions Committee with student, staff and alumni representatives) have led to an evaluation of the Pioneer’s athletic mascot and what effectively represents a “Pioneer.”

The result has been a look into our history and the role of “Denver Boone", who served as the University's Pioneer Mascot from 1969-1999. The students are asking for your help as part of the Pioneer Community to share your voice on the subject of Denver Boone as a school mascot.

The attached survey link is brief and easy to complete. Your voice is very important to us. Please take a moment to let your voice be heard. Your experience as part of the Pioneer family is important to help us shape an enduring legacy.

To access this survey, please click on the following link:


Avs Go With A Badger Over Pioneer

(left) Tony Granato

Former University of Wisconsin hockey player Tony Granato is back as the head coach of the Avalanche, marking the beginning of his second stint behind Colorado's bench. Bypassed in the coaching decision was University of Denver alum Kevin Dineen.

Granato served as Colorado's coach for parts of two seasons from 2002-04, posting a 72-33-17-11 record and guiding the Avs to a pair of postseason appearances. Granato owns a .605 career winning percentage as an NHL head coach, the second-highest in franchise history.

"I'm excited about this challenge," Granato said. "I know this team has a great mix of youth, experience, skill and speed. I'm looking forward to this new opportunity ahead."

Dineen is considered a condidate for sevaral of the five NHL coaching vacancies. The Atlanta Thrashers, Florida Panthers, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators are all looking for a new bench boss.

Vail Celebrates Testwuide's Captaincy At DU

From: Vail Daily
by Chris Freud

(left) From the "Golden Pond" to Magness Arena for new DU Captain J.P. Testwuide

Happy Mother’s Day, Janet.

“I usually get my mom some flowers or a card,” Vail’s J.P. Testwuide said. “I try to take her out for dinner or something fun.”

Known as J.P. or Jon Paul locally, Testwuide, a soon-to-be senior defenseman at Denver University changed up his Mother’s Day routine this year. There’s no word on whether Janet got flowers, but her son told her that he had just been named the captain for the Pioneers, the defending Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff champions, for the upcoming 2008-09 season.

“She really couldn’t believe it,” J.P. said. “She was so happy.”

Not only was Mom floored, but it was a bit of history for DU’s storied program, which has won seven NCAA titles. Testwuide is the going to be the first native Coloradan to wear the captain’s C on his sweater.

“I didn’t really realize that until someone said it,” Testwuide said. “A school reporter e-mailed me, ‘How does it feel to be the first Coloradan to be DU’s captain?’ I didn’t know what she was talking about. Once I realized that I was the first, I was like, ‘Wow.’ That astounded me. There have been a lot of good players from Colorado who have played at DU. I didn’t expect that at all.”

And so the Testwuide brothers continue add letters to their respective sweaters. J.P.’s younger brother, Mike, a junior-to-be come fall, plays forward for DU’s archrival, Colorado College, and has the assistant captain’s A on his black-and-gold jersey.

“It’s fun,” J.P. said. “He got (assistant captain) before I did. He worked so hard. He deserves it.”

The announcement from DU coach George Gwozdecky that Testwuide would wear the C for the Pioneers led to some deservedly proud local reaction.

“I really think it’s an incredible honor,” said Jim Meehan, who coached both Testwuide boys when they played for the Vail Junior Hockey Association. “It shows the amount of confidence his team has in him. I’m not surprised. I thought he had an exceptional year last year. It shows the respect the team has for him as a player and a person.”

Big Role
Testwuide replaces graduating senior Andrew Thomas as the Pioneers’ captain. Like Thomas, Testwuide is a rugged defenseman. In fact, the Vail native is the ninth-straight blueliner to wear or share in the team’s captaincy.

“J.P. is the first Coloradan to serve as team captain in the 60 years of DU hockey,” Pioneers coach George Gwozdecky said in a statement issued on the university’s Web site. “J.P. has really established himself as leader with his tremendous work ethic and passion for the Denver hockey program. He is a tough competitor that will demand a lot from himself and his teammates for our team to reach its goals next season.”

Expectations will be high Magness Arena come the fall. The Pioneers finished third in the WCHA during the regular season behind regular-season champion, Colorado College, and North Dakota. But DU swept Minnesota-Duluth in the first round of the WCHA playoffs and won the conference’s postseason tournament by knocking off North Dakota and Minnesota at the Xcell Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., for a berth in the NCAA playoffs.

“We definitely played well during the last part of the season,” Testwuide said. “We came together as a team. Put it this way, whenever you go into Minnesota and beat Minnesota, it’s a lot of fun.”

Testwuide had a hunch he might be inheriting the captaincy after serving as an assistant last year. Nevertheless, actually getting tabbed is another thing.

“I’m pretty much honored just to be the captain. It’s going to be exciting,” he said. “I think I still have to play my style of hockey. I don’t want to change anything up. You’re the player the team looks up to. You just have to be yourself.”

Trick or Treat?
Testwuide started with hockey just as most local kids do with a bit of ice time and a chair to keep upright at Dobson Arena.

“Probably my fondest memory of Vail was when I started skating,” Testwuide said. “It was with the chairs and it was on Halloween. I didn’t want to leave the ice. I can’t believe I wanted to skate over Halloween.”

Passing on the annual haul of candy that year was just the beginning. J.P. and Mike both played on the Golden family’s pond. Kirk Golden’s father, Paul, would flood his back yard each winter and the Testwuides, young Golden, Colin Kingston and Spencer Ellis and others competed in mythical Game 7s of the Stanley Cup Finals for hours on end.

Meehan coached J.P. from Mini-Mites through Squirts, and even then could tell there was something special about both brothers.

“I think you can tell who is a gifted player, even at a young age,” Meehan said. “The gist of it is that it’s not only good players with certain skills, but players who have a love of the sport that shines through. Both J.P. and Mikey were always that way, terrific players.”

J.P. played one year at the Midget (high school age) level in Vail before heading to the Northwood School in Lake Placid, N.Y. And yes, his home rink was the site of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice.”

Testwuide then spent two years with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League, the American equivalent of Canadian Juniors before DU came calling.

After the tough transition from Juniors to big-time Division I hockey, Testwuide got his spot and hasn’t looked back since.

The Rivalry
As J.P. assumes the role of captain at DU, while Mike continues at Colorado College, the rivalry becomes more fierce than it already is. By all accounts, J.P. and Mike are the first set of brothers to play on opposite sides of the rivalry.

Within the Testwuide family, it’s been a good-news/bad-news scenario. Mike and the Tigers hold a 6-1-1 advantage over J.P. and the Pioneers during the two years the brothers have suited up. (For the record, Janet wears halves of DU and CC sweatshirt sewn together to the rivalry games in the interests of impartiality.)

Looking ahead to the schedule, DU opens against NCAA runner-up Notre Dame Oct. 11. Next are two games at Magness against Wisconsin, the team that eliminated DU in the first round of the NCAA playoffs. Two weeks later, J.P. and DU and Mike and CC meet in the first of two-home-and-home sets.

“It’s such a fun rivalry,” J.P. said. “I think both teams will be the teams to beat (in the WCHA). I can’t say anything about CC because it’s not good karma. Whenever the two teams play, it definitely a battle. Both teams bring their best to the table. I wouldn’t expect anything less.

“We’ve pretty much played against each other our whole lives. It just makes it that much better. We’re pretty much best friends off the ice, but we love to battle each other.”

Denver Post: 6 Teams May Be Looking At Dineen

(above) Don't forget to vote for former DU player Kevin Dineen in the Denver Post Online Poll today. You could technically vote for Dineen more than once if you "cleared" the "cookies" in your web browser & then "refreshed" the Denver Post page, but you didn't hear that from us. :-)

From: Denver Post
by Adrian Dater

The competition really could be tough for the Avs in landing Todd McLellan and/or DU Alum Kevin Dineen as a coach. There are six other teams without a coach right now besides the Avs, and it’s pretty clear that some, if not all, are waiting for their respective teams’ seasons to end to get a chance to interview them.

Dineen’s Portland Pirates currently lead the AHL’s Eastern finals 3 games to 2, with Wilkes-Barre. DU Alums Ryan Dingle and Adrian Veideman play for the Pirates, while Connor James plays for Wilkes-Barre.

Paukovich Sent To Weightlifting Boot Camp

Found this item in Coming Down The Pipe Blog which featured Joe Colborne's articles during the RBC Cup.

Apparently DU hockey alum Geoff Paukovich is participating in training sessions in California with Edmonton Oilers fitness guru Chad Moreau. The sessions have been going on for a couple of weeks and this year several other Edmonton prospects are taking part.

Paukovich is one of the players the organization has targeted for speed and conditioning improvement. At 6'4 and 230 lbs conditioning and mobility are keys to his future.

ISS Top 30 Prospects List Names Colborne #23

DU recruit Joe Colborne has been listed at #23 in the ISS Top 30 List featured on Hockey's Future Website.

Hockey Players Recognized At Awards Ceremony

From: DU Athletics Website

(left) Peter Mannino picked up one final award to cap off his collegiate career by being named "A Pioneer" by the University of Denver

Eleven Pioneer student-athletes, including several hockey players, were honored at the University of Denver’s 83rd annual Pioneer Awards Ceremony held in the Governor’s Ballroom in the Driscoll Student Center on May 15.

The highlight of the annual awards ceremony is the naming of “The Pioneers” – individuals whose dedication to the University of Denver and its students is beyond measure. Ten students, one faculty and one staff member were selected as Pioneer Award recipients this year, including a trio of senior student-athletes. Volleyball’s Alyssa Hampton, hockey’s Peter Mannino and Nordic skier John Stene received Pioneer Awards this year.

Outstanding Student Awards 
Students were nominated for these awards based on their contributions to academic excellence, the campus and university, and community involvement. Hockey player Zach Blom was named the Outstanding Senior. Matt Glasser and co-captain Tyler Ruegsegger were nominated for the Outstanding Sophomore awards.

Hockey senior captain Andrew Thomas received the Managerial Leadership Award from the Daniels College of Business.

Denver Post Profiles DU's 1st Coloradan Captain

J.P. Testwuide is pioneering the Pioneers.

The Vail native was named captain of the University of Denver hockey team Tuesday, becoming the first Coloradan to don the "C" in the 60-year history of the tradition-rich program.

"First of all, it's an honor," said the senior-to-be. "I didn't realize I was the first (Coloradan) until (Monday). I was like, 'Wow.' " (read rest of story)

Red Line Report Calls Colborne "An Enigma"

From: USA Today Website
by Kyle Woodlief

An internal debate has been raging at Red Line Report since last November on the top two ranked western Tier II players on our list. Last month, Zac Dalpe of Penticton and Joe Colborne of Camrose went head-to-head for the Doyle Cup for the right to play in the Royal Bank Cup Tier II Championship, and they were often matched up against one another from shift to shift. Camrose won 4-1 and Colborne showed the way as leading scorer in the series with four goals and three assists in five games.

One of our western Canada scouts is sold on Colborne as a potential stud. And he does have the tools to become an outstanding offensive player once he fills out his huge frame. He's 6-5, skates very well with a long, smooth stride, and has a great release on an accurate wrist shot from the high slot. Plus, by all accounts he's a great kid off the ice — intelligent, sincere, and mature.

But RLR's chief scout is not sold and has nagging doubts, particularly after going to see Colborne again at the Royal Bank Cup. He simply does not compete. It's not that he doesn't win battles for loose pucks, it's that he never even gets close enough to the dirty areas to become involved in the battles. And the reason he has to fire those great wristers from the high slot is because he'll never drive to the crease.

So Colborne remains a frustrating enigma for us scouts.

Ex-Avs Player Likes McLellan & Dineen

(above) Don't forget to vote for former DU player Kevin Dineen in the Denver Post Online Poll today. You could technically vote for Dineen more than once if you "cleared" the "cookies" in your web browser & then "refreshed" the Denver Post page, but you didn't hear that from us. :-)

From: Denver Post
by Adrian Dater

Curtis Leschyshyn might be a little biased. After all, Todd McLellan — the Detroit Red Wings assistant who could become the Avalanche's next coach — was in his wedding party.

The former Avalanche defenseman, though, can't say enough good things about McLellan and what it would mean to the Avs if they get him.

"That would be a very wise decision by the Avalanche," said Leschyshyn, who now is involved with the Littleton Youth Hockey Association. "He's ready to coach in the National Hockey League. He's a guy that didn't ever jump into something he wasn't prepared for. He's made sure that, along the way, he learned and experienced what it was going to take to be successful. That's why I think he'd be a tremendous guy for a team needing a coach."

Leschyshyn was a junior hockey teammate of McLellan's from 1985 to 1987 with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League. A center, McLellan played five games for the New York Islanders in 1987-88 before shoulder problems derailed his career. He has since gone on to coach at five different levels of hockey, including the last two years with the Red Wings.

McLellan is not expected to be granted permission by the Red Wings to talk with any other NHL team until after the Stanley Cup Finals, which is perhaps why six other teams besides the Avs have yet to fill current vacancies. The Avs could have some fierce competition to sign him.

If the Avs don't land McLellan, another candidate could be Portland (Maine) Pirates coach & former University of Denver superstar Kevin Dineen, whose team is in the AHL semifinals. Leschyshyn knows a little something about him, too, having played with him in Hartford

"He's hockey-bred from Day 1, that guy. From player to coach was probably a pretty easy transition for him," Leschyshyn said. "He's one of the only guys I ever played with who, after practice, would write down the exact drills that we did, so that he could have it for future reference. He was preparing, as a player, to take the next step to coaching. If the Avs got either one of those guys, they'd be well-served."

Testwuide First Coloradan To Lead Pioneers

(above) J.P. Testwuide will be Captain of the Pioneers next season

Full Press Release @ DU Athletics Website

Defenseman J.P. Testwuide (Vail, Colo.) has been named captain of the 2008-09 University of Denver hockey team, while forwards Tyler Ruegsegger (Lakewood, Colo.) and Rhett Rakhshani (Huntington Beach, Calif.) will serve as alternate captains, Two-time National Coach of the Year George Gwozdecky announced today.

Testwuide is one of the team’s hardest workers and has improved his two-way game the past two seasons. The hard-hitting Testwuide led the Pioneers with 66 penalty minutes last season.

“J.P. is the first Coloradan to serve as team captain in the 60 years of DU hockey,” Gwozdecky said. “J.P. has really established himself as leader with his tremendous work ethic and passion for the Denver hockey program. He is a tough competitor that will demand a lot from himself and his teammates for our team to reach its goals next season.”

Ruegsegger helped the Pioneers to their 19th NCAA Tournament appearance. Ruegsegger garnered his second consecutive Dr. Art Mason Award as Denver’s top scholar-athlete.

“Tyler is the complete package of a student-athlete,” Gwozdecky said. “He is a fierce competitor, who is extremely talented. Tyler is another Coloradan that is extremely proud to wear the Crimson and Gold.”

Rakhshani will serve as an alternate captain for the first season. Rakhshani and Ruegsegger helped Team USA to fourth-place finish at the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship.

“Rhett is well-liked and respected by all of his teammates,” Gwozdecky said. “Like Tyler, Rhett is a model student-athlete and talented hockey player. Rhett leads by example and is excited about the challenge.”

Sunbelt Conference Wants To DUmp Pioneers

The DU Clarion has an article this week about the University of Denver leaving the Sunbelt Conference in 10 of its 17 varsity sports within the next few years.

Lets not beat around the bush.

DU is being kicked out of the Sunbelt, because they can't draw enough fans for men's basketball and they can't win enough games in hoops to be an attractive road team. DU brings virtually no fans to the conference tournaments and its alumni base is not concentrated in Sunbelt cities.

DU hopes to join the West Coast Conference (Gonzaga, Portland, San Diego, Pepperdine ect.), but it remains to be seen why colleges based on the west coast would suddenly want to fly to Denver in a bunch of non-revenue sports. On the otherhand if you're a DU varsity athlete; trips to San Diego, Seattle and San Francisco are way cooler than road trips to Little Rock, Lafayette and Troy freakin' Alabama.

CC Must Get Tougher To Succeed In Playoffs

From: Colorado Springs Gazette
by David Ramsey

If your still laughing your ass off because of Colorado College’s season ending 3-1 loss to Michigan State, you’re not alone.

Coach Scott Owens is hurting. He, like thousands of Tigers hockey fans, wonders how one of the best rides in CC history ended in an ugly train wreck.

“It’s tough, really tough,” Owens said. “You know what? I still haven’t let it go. I’m still bothered by it. I’m bothered by it because of the opportunity that we had. It’s very tough. It’s tougher than I had imagined.

“I really liked this team, and it was a really good team and all of a sudden it’s done.”

I’ve enjoyed a few good laughs since CC lost to Michigan State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at World Arena. I’ve laughed after reading e-mails and CC message boards that trumpeted this message:

"Owens must go."

That’s ridiculous. He’s proven himself a master of the long dance known as the Western Collegiate Hockey Association season. He’s won the WCHA regular-season title three times in the past six seasons.

Go? No way, but he must change.

He must grow as a coach. The Emperor of the Regular Season must find a way to thrive in the games that matter most.

Owens understands how to build and motivate teams for the epic grind of the WCHA season.

He struggles to prepare for the nearly instant rewards — and punishments — of the NCAA Tournament.

No way the Tigers should have lost to Michigan State. They enjoyed the luxury of home ice, where they had compiled an 18-2. They were more talented.

They lost anyway.

The loss follows a pattern for CC. Owens has coached five teams to winning percentages of 65 percent or higher. This season’s team cruised to the WCHA Final Five with a 28-9-1 record.

Yet bad times in the Final Five and NCAA's often follow good times in the regular season. Owens has five wins, six losses in the tournament, where he’s lost three straight times.

In the NCAA Tournament, defense rules. The game slows down, grows more violent. Grace and skill lose importance.

All this spells doom for the Tigers, who usually lack the required ingredient of intimidation. It’s no accident Owens took his only trip to the Frozen Four in 2005 with Mark Stuart in the lineup.

Stuart, who plays for the Boston Bruins, offered a rare blend. He enjoyed reading Shakespeare, and he enjoyed knocking opponents silly on the ice.

He was skilled, but also supremely dangerous. He even frightened teammates with his wicked smackdowns in practice.

Owens needs to persuade another Stuart to skate for the Tigers. This won’t be easy. Large, gifted DU Rejects are reluctant to transport their skills to the sprawling, Olympic-size ice at World Arena. They prefer to rumble in more luxurious surroundings of Magness Arena.

Still, Owens must try. He spent last week scouring the upper Midwest, seeking a player to bring a more sinister touch to his Tigers.

Early this week, Owens still wasn’t sure he could watch replays of the Frozen Four. This makes sense. It’s excruciating to be as a mere spectator when you haven't won a National Championship since 1957.

DU Rivalry "Too Intense" For Colorado College

From: Colorado Springs Gazette
by David Ramsey

(left) Scott Owens poses at a DU fundraiser this past season

Scott Owens wanted sizzle in the Colorado College-University of Denver rivalry.

When Owens returned to his alma mater to coach the hockey team in 1999, the arena-shaking fire had been drained from the CC-DU rivalry. Owens masterfully stoked the flames.

For five of the past six years, CC and DU ended the regular season with a homeand-home, rock-’em, sock-’em weekend bash that featured packed houses and wicked hitting.

The CC-DU rivalry is at full blaze, full of intensity and great hockey. Owens, no doubt, grabbed what he wanted.

He grabbed a little too much, as it turns out.

The Tigers have lost three straight NCAA Tournament games, which inspired Owens to take a fresh look at the DU series.

Next season, the Tigers and Pioneers again will meet four times, but the schools will stretch out the regular-season finale. CC and DU will play Oct. 31-Nov. 1 before splitting the final series between Feb. 13 and March 7, Owens said.

It’s a minor tweak to the schedule, but Owens hopes the change will deliver big results.

He wonders if placing two emotionally packed games at the end of the season drained his team in the postseason.

“I don’t think it’s a copout,” Owens said. “I don’t think it’s anything like that. We’re just trying to do something that will strengthen us in the postseason.”

The rivalry will return to two home-and-home weekends in 2009-2010 because of scheduling restraints, Owens said, but will feature the stretched-out version again in 2010-11.

It’s strange to say this, but the season-ending duel with DU was too overwhelming, too packed with thrills and history. It was just too much.

How could the Tigers top all this furious fun?

The answer is the problem. Owens has failed to revive his team after the matches with DU.

“There was an automatic, built-in letdown,” Owens said. “It’s just natural. It’s because the buildings were sold out and the excitement and the passion and the trying to one-up your archrival.”

This season, CC stomped DU in the final weekend. On March 8, the Tigers celebrated along with their fans, and they had plenty to celebrate.

The Tigers had won the MacNaughton Cup, symbol of supremacy in the Western Athletic Hockey Association, and the Gold Pan, symbol of college hockey supremacy in the state of Colorado.

At the time, no one could see disaster lurking in the near distance. Even as the Tigers celebrated their reign over a small hockey universe, they faced devastation in the battle for a larger, more important universe.

Three weeks after the Tigers’ hockey party, they were finished. They lost, on home ice, to Michigan State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

“There’s been so much at stake,” Owens said of the DU series. “It’s been very taxing mentally and physically as we head into the playoffs.”

Next season, he hopes, the taxes will be a little more reasonable.

Story Behind The Sacking Of Gopher Assistant

From: Star-Tribune
by Patrick Reusse

(left) The word in Dinkytown is that Gopher hockey coach Don Lucia kicked popular assistant Mike Guentzel to the curb after a lousy season

Mainstream media. That's what they call us, right?

Apparently, the plan here in the mainstream has been to accept the tall tale that Mike Guentzel willingly resigned after 14 seasons as a Gophers hockey assistant, even though it's an open topic of conversation in WCHA circles and among former Gophers that he was forced out by coach Don Lucia.

Guentzel can't confirm this to media members, of course. The 45-year-old has aspirations to run a Division I program, and publicly admitting that Lucia chose him as the scapegoat for the horrendous 2007-08 season would not be helpful in that pursuit.

There's no doubt that the Lucia ego is sufficiently large that he's not going to blame a seventh-place finish in the WCHA on his own stewardship. And since The Don is joined at the hip with John Hill, his other assistant, that left Guentzel to take the fall.

A number of upperclassmen on this winter's team had tired of Lucia's haranguing. Guentzel was the coach on this staff with a positive personality and served as the Good Cop with the players.

Guentzel brought feedback from the players to Lucia, and The Don didn't like it when that feedback included criticism of him.

Guentzel went to the Frozen Four in Denver to watch his son Ryan play for Notre Dame. He watched the Irish make their upset run to the title game, returned to Minneapolis and then received the message from Lucia:

"I want you to resign.''

A good soldier as well as the good cop, Guentzel participated in distributing the hogwash when the announcement of his departure was made on April 18.

The resignation was going to aid Guentzel's pursuit of a head coaching job. It also was going to allow him to spend more time watching Ryan, a freshman, play for Notre Dame in future seasons.

Lucia sent the hogwash meter higher, saying: "Obviously, we will miss Mike. He was a very important member of the staff and did a terrific job. ... He had great passion and he related well to players.''

The duplicity that occurred in mid-April was soon confirmed, when Guentzel interviewed for the St. John's opening. Apparently, the job was there for the taking, but the money didn't measure to the living wage that Guentzel was making as a Gophers assistant.

On Friday, St. John's hired Doug Schueller, a member of Bowling Green's staff.

The fact Guentzel was considering St. John's -- a place where his team would be playing most winter weekends -- pretty much eliminated watching his son as a reason for leaving the Gophers.

And, let's face it: If the goal is to become a head coach for a significant Division I program, will your résumé be stronger as a Division III coach or as an assistant with the Yankees of college hockey?

You don't willingly resign as a Minnesota assistant and then try to get a job in the MIAC. You do that after the head coach decides to make you his scapegoat for a failed season.

The university's job-posting rules prohibited Lucia from hiring a replacement before May 14. There was a recent quote from him setting June 1 as a target.

Scott Bell, the Hamline coach and a former Gophers forward, has been mentioned most often. Here's another possibility: Mark Osiecki, an assistant for Mike Eaves at Wisconsin.

Guentzel was charged with coaching the Gophers' defenseman. Osiecki, a Minnesota native, was an outstanding Badgers defenseman and has coached the blue-liners there.

Those same WCHA circles that are certain Guentzel was run off say that the amped-up, hard-nosed Eaves makes him harder to work for than Lucia.

One Wisconsin assistant, Kevin Patrick, has tried twice in two years to become the head coach at Alaska-Fairbanks (St. John's is a better job than that), and Osiecki might have had all a person can take of Eaves.

The dilemma for Lucia is this: If Osiecki replaced Guentzel, that would give the coach a full-time staff with no Gophers, which doesn't exactly fit the Pride on Ice model.

Guentzel had as much of that pride as anyone, and in the end, it finished second to The Don's ego.

Time To Stuff The Old Ballot Box

Our friends over at the Denver Post are hosting an online poll to see who we want to be the Avs new coach. Hmm, one candidate played for DU in the '80s, showed up at the Frozen Four in Columbus and gave a pep talk to the DU players before the Pioneers won our 7th National Championship and was Coach of the Year in the AHL last season.

Lets see if we can't swing the election with a little "Chicago Style" election rigging today. Remember that one could vote more than once if they "cleared the Cookies" in the Private data on their web browser (cough, cough).

Ottawa Senators May Look At Kevin Dineen

(left) Former DU star Kevin Dineen has been linked to almost every NHL coaching vacancy this off-season

From: Slam Sports
by Bruce Garrioch

Wanted: A coach who'll kick some butt, yet still command respect among the players.

The Senators have got the Help Wanted sign out and the immediate future of the franchise depends on finding the right man for the job.

That's why Senators GM Bryan Murray is doing his homework. There are plenty of candidates, but Murray has to find the one who'll push all the right buttons.

After watching his Senators suffer a quick first-round playoff exit at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Murray has turned up the heat in his search for a new coach.

So, who's the right fit? While the Senators were hopeful assistant coach John Paddock would be able to make the transition to coach when Murray took over as the GM last June, it didn't work out. Some believe the culture has to change around the club's dressing room.

"You have to have a person that's fairly strong," says Murray. "In that, they're not intimidated to bring players into their office and, in a fair way, have conversations and give them direction on how the game has to be played according to the system they put in.

"If the player doesn't respond to the positive feedback, (the coach) has to be willing to relegate (the player) to a lesser line, sit (the player) out a few shifts, be real strong verbally.

"The way the game and the league is now, you can't send a guy to the minors. You can't really fine him. We don't need that. What we need is strong direction and then, if you have good people in your organization, they will follow that. The coach has to be willing to stand up for what he believes in."

Following a trip to the Stanley Cup final last June and a 15-2 start this season, the Senators' world crumbled last year with some of the most inconsistent play since the early years of the franchise.


That's what Murray is trying to find. He has spent the first month of his search doing background checks on all his candidates because of the list of possibilities for the job is long.

It's doubtful the likes of former Toronto coach Pat Quinn, former San Jose coach Ron Wilson, former Florida coach Doug MacLean and fired Leafs coach Paul Maurice will get a shot.

While former Atlanta coach Bob Hartley and former New Jersey coach Pat Burns have been labelled as short-term solutions, they're both expected to get a serious look from Murray. So will Sault Ste. Marie and world junior coach Craig Hartsburg and don't be surprised if the club at least does some background checks on Portland coach & Du Alum Kevin Dineen.

All four are considered to be tough but fair.

"When you don't address issues then players slip away," said Murray.

Murray said he doesn't necessarily have to know the individual.

"There are a lot of people that I don't know that I'd certainly like to spend a little time with and get to know," said Murray.

"I don't have to have first-hand knowledge of the person. I'd like a guy who has some kind of history coaching at a good level and somebody with a little bit of success.

"Those are the ones who get a chance and that's what we're hoping to get here."

Roy Not Interested, Dineen Still Candidate For Avs

(left) Kevin Dineen scored 28 goals and added 35 assists for the University of Denver in 75 games in the early Eighties

Patrick Roy will not be the coach of the NHL Colorado Avalanche. Not for next season, anyway.

Roy told The Denver Post late Thursday night he wants to stay in Quebec at least through this coming season, mainly to keep coaching his sons, Jonathan and Frederick.

With Roy no longer under consideration, the Avs are expected to continue looking at potential candidates such as Portland (Maine) Pirates coach and DU alum Kevin Dineen and Detroit Red Wings assistant Todd McLellan, with Pat Burns and Ron Wilson also out there as more experienced candidates.

Dineen and McLellan both are with teams still in their respective playoffs, so a formal interview with either man probably would have to wait until their seasons are finished.

Heisenberg's Site Lists Novotny As '09 Recruit

(left) Stepan Novotny

Earlier in the week DU recruit Stepan Novotny (Prague, Czech Republic) was placed on the "Protected List" by the Indiana Ice and presumably will play for the Ice next season. One of our alert readers noticed that Chris Heisenberg's Website now has Novotny listed as a 2009 DU recruit.

With DU returning 11 forwards next season, one would expect Novotny to see more playing time in the USHL and would increase his stock for the 2009 NHL Draft by remaining in Indiana. At this time nothing has been officially confirmed by DU.

If Novotny does play for the Indiana Ice next season, he will be in very good hands as former Miami assistant coach Jeff Blashill was named head coach this week.

Novotny tallied 11 points on four goals and seven assists for Indiana this past season. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound forward added one game-winning goal for the Ice, who captured the East division regular-season title with a 39-15-6 record.

Novotny signed a Letter of intent with DU in April.

DU Recruiting Classes

F Nate Dewhurst (Des Moines, USHL)
F Joe Colborne (Camrose, AJHL)
D John Lee (Waterloo, USHL)
D David Carle (Shattuck-St Mary's HS)
F Luke Salazar (Wichita Falls, NAHL)

D William Wrenn (U.S. Under-17)
D Matt Donovan (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
D Paul Phillips (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
G Adam Murray (U.S. under-17)
F Drew Shore (U.S. Under-17)
F Shawn Ostrow (Camose, AJHL)
F Stepan Novotny (Indiana, USHL)

Jason Zucker (Detroit Compuware)

David Carle & Joe Colborne Profiled On NHL Site

(left) DU recruit David Carle

With the NHL Draft just over a month away, the NHL has made its Draft Media Guide available to the public. Two DU recruits, David Carle and Joe Colborne, are profiled with scouting reports, personal data and statistics.

Colborne is the 27th ranked North American skater, while Carle comes in at #60. Factoring in European players and goaltenders, Colborne will be drafted in the first or second round, while Carle could go anywhere from the 2nd-4th rounds.
David Carle - “David’s first two strides get him to top speed and he passes the puck and skates like a pro. He has a very heavy shot from the point and he plays the body hard. He has a strong overall game and physical presence -- he displays all the same signs that his brother, Matt, had at the same age.” - NHL Central Scouting’s Jack Barzee

Joe Colborne - “I think it is going to take Joe a bit of time to develop into the player that he can be because of the league he is playing in is maybe at a lower caliber than the other leagues. He is very rangy with his stick; he dishes the puck well and has really good on-ice awareness. If he can get his skating a little more energetic, he’ll be a big strong player down the middle. When he is at his best he is a strategic player, I wouldn’t classify him as a power-forward, he is very smart and his positioning is very good; he knows where to be and where to go at the right time.” - NHL Central Scouting’s Blair MacDonald

Dineen Also Linked To Avs Coaching Vacancy

From: Edmonton Journal
by Jim Matheson

(left) DU alumnus Kevin Dineen is considered to be one of the best young coaches in the AHL

Kevin Dineen may be the best coach outside the NHL and certainly has to be a candidate to get the Avalanche job.

Ironically, the Anaheim Ducks farm team coach is forever tied with Quenneville. They served as best men at each other's weddings after playing together for the Hartford Whalers.

Dineen can't talk to the Avalanche brass until the AHL playoffs are over. His Portland Pirates team just knocked off the Providence Bruins -- the best regular-season club -- in the post-season to reach the Eastern Conference final against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Game 1 is Wednesday.

If Randy Carlyle wasn't so entrenched in Anaheim, Dineen would be coaching the Ducks. He should be on Martin's short list in Florida, too.

In many ways, Dineen is similar to Edmonton Oilers coach Craig MacTavish. Both were widely respected as NHL players, smart and fast on their feet.

MacTavish phoned Dineen, as a matter of fact, to get a scouting report on Joffrey Lupul before he came to the Oilers. Lupul, who's now with the Philadelphia Flyers, played for Dineen in the AHL.

DU Alum Kevin Dineen Linked To San Jose Job

From: The Sporting News
by Victor Chi

Ron Wilson was dismissed as coach of the San Jose Sharks on Monday. Don't count on him being unemployed for too long. Wilson, of course, can retreat to his home in South Carolina and play golf while waiting for the ideal offer to materialize. But opportunities will be forthcoming in both coaching and the media. Wilson is sharp, insightful and funny.

After three consecutive second-round exits in the playoffs, the Sharks had to show their dedicated season-ticket holders that they were going to make a significant move in an effort to smash through the barrier. Firing the coach is a major shake of the tree.

Maybe the time was right for Wilson to move on, but that is more a matter of circumstance than an issue with his coaching chops, which are considerable. Wilson was a coaching innovator in terms of using technology and software, and he never lacked for motivational wrinkles or comic relief. Who can forget the Ricky Bobby Wonder Bread hat? Now the onus is on the players. If the Sharks fall short again next year, Wilson won't be around to have the finger pointed at him.

San Jose is still a relatively young team, but the sense around the club is that the time is now. Perhaps that frame of mind will influence how the team replaces the most successful coach in franchise history. Do the Sharks look for a closer, a guy who can make an immediate push toward the Cup? Or do they go the other way with a fresh face? With the success this season of John Stevens and Bruce Boudreau, the trend could be toward giving an American Hockey League coach his first crack at the big time.

The '06 and '07 Coach of the Year winners in the AHL, Kevin Dineen and Mike Haviland, respectively, are intriguing possibilities if the Sharks are interested in considering a candidate without NHL head coaching experience. Certainly they would command a lower salary, which ought not to be overlooked for a club with one of the lowest player payrolls in the league.

In any case, Dineen and Haviland have connections to San Jose G.M. Doug Wilson that could prove fruitful in helping them land their first NHL gig. Dineen is coaching the Portland Pirates, the affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim's senior VP of hockey operatons, Bob Murray, oversees the Portland franchise. Murray and Doug Wilson were longtime defense mates with the Chicago Blackhawks. If Murray gives Dineen a hearty endorsement, you can bet that will hold considerable weight with Wilson. Haviland is in his third season coaching the Blackhawks' top affiliate. A more tenuous link is that San Jose's director of scouting, Tim Burke, was in New Jersey's organization in 1990 when the Devils selected Haviland in the supplemental draft.

Colborne Featured On Hockey News "Hot List"

DU recruit Joe Colborne was featured on this week's edition of The Hockey News "Hot List."
7. Joe Colborne, C – Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL): So for the scouts out there who don’t like this kid, let’s go to the scoreboard: He led his team to a league title, followed by a Doyle Cup win over the Penticton Vees, then went undefeated in the RBC Cup before running into the dazzling goaltending of Taylor Nelson and losing by a single goal in the final. Am I missing anything? Draft eligible in 2008.

Novotny Placed On Protected List By USHL Team

(above) This week Stepan Novotny was placed on the "Protected List" by the Indiana Ice for next season

Last month the University of Denver announced the signing of four recruits to National Letters of Intent; David Carle (Anchorage, Alaska), Joe Colborne (Calgary, Alberta), Nate Dewhurst (Johnston, Iowa) and Stepan Novotny (Prague, Czech Republic). One other player, John Lee signed his Letter of Intent last season.

Today we learned that Stepan Novotny has been placed on the "Protected List" by the Indiana Ice and presumably would play for the Ice next season. With DU returning 11 forwards next season, one would expect Novotny to see more playing time in the USHL and would increase his stock for the 2009 NHL Draft by remaining in Indiana. At this time nothing has been confirmed one way or the other regarding Novotny's status for next season.

Novotny tallied 11 points on four goals and seven assists for the Indiana Ice of the USHL. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound forward added one game-winning goal for the Ice, who captured the East division regular-season title with a 39-15-6 record.

WHL Team Continues To Monitor Drew Shore

(above) 2009 DU recruit Drew Shore (#94) is considered to be one of the top forwards for the US National Team

LetsGoDU Note: LetsGoDU readers may recall that the WHL Chilliwack Bruins have had their eyes on one of DU's prized 2009 recruits, forward Drew Shore for the past year. Sources behind the scenes say that Shore is definitely coming to DU in 2009 and that Chilliwack is on a fishing expedition. Nonetheless this article which was written on March 2, 2008 shows that the Bruins haven't given up on Shore.

From: The Province
by Marc Weber

You're not likely to see Drew Shore on the West Coast any time soon.

Shore, the Chilliwack Bruins second pick and first American taken in the 2006 WHL bantam draft, all but confirmed this week that he will return to the U.S. National Team Development Program next season.

"I'm planning on coming back here, but still waiting until the summer to make that decision," Shore said from the program's home base in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Colorado native, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound playmaking forward, would give the Bruins a major boost.

"Then I really don't know. I'm going to sit down with my parents in the offseason and go over it. I'm just trying to stay focused on this year and not worry about it."

If his leanings hold true and he returns to the development program for his under-18 season, Shore could still end up in a Bruins uniform in 2009-10, although he has already committed to the University of Denver Pioneers, his parents' alma mater.

The 17-year-old said that the NHL entry draft could have a lot to do with his decision, which means that if a team picks him and wants him to play major junior hockey, Chilliwack hits the lottery. But it also means that Bruins general manager Darrell May might be waiting around until June 2009 -- Shore's draft -- for word on his prized pick.

He'll wait, but he hasn't given up hope of seeing Shore in the lineup next season just yet.

"I think that's kind of the early indication," May said of Shore heading back to the NTDP, "but we certainly think he can come in and make a difference and we think it could be a better place to get drafted from."

Shore does have connections to B.C. and the Chilliwack franchise, having played bantam with North Shore Winter Club and spring hockey with current Bruins forward Ryan Howse. He also said he's lucky to have been drafted by Chilliwack, that he greatly respects the organization and that he follows the team on a regular basis.

But will that all add up to him coming to the WHL?

It boils down to the same question every kid venturing down this road has to answer: where am I best going to grow as a player?

For now, and next year, it appears as if Shore believes that is with the NTDP --a program that has sent to the NHL the likes of Patrick Kane (via the OHL's London Knights) and Ryan Kesler (via Ohio State University).

"I'm really liking it out here," he said. "In terms of my development, I've gotten a lot better. I'm bigger and stronger and I've got a good bunch of buddies on the team."

Colborne Media Frenzy Continues

From: Alberta Hockey Website
By Laurence Heinen

Scouts have had an extra-long look at forward Joe Colborne of the Camrose Kodiaks this season.

In his second season in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, Colborne finished second in the regular-season scoring race with 33 goals and 57 assists in his draft year.

“I feel like I am a skilled forward, and I try to model my game after players like Lecavalier, Thornton and Spezza,” Colborne told www.hockeyforum.com

One scout told the Edmonton Sun that Colborne, who was rated 30th among North American skaters by the National Hockey League’s Central Scouting Service in January, is “as close to a Joe Thornton clone” as a player can be at this level.

That’s high praise for the 6-5, 195-pound Calgary native who has all the traits to become a useful power forward eventually in the NHL.

“He wins a lot of board battles and can turn on a dime and make a great pass,” the scout told the Sun.

Following this season, Colborne will attend the University of Denver and play for the Pioneers.

“We know that Joe’s hard work and dedication have certainly paid off and we wish him continued success in his future academic and athletic pursuits,” said Camrose general manager and head coach Boris Rybalka earlier in the season.

Judging by his considerable athletic prowess and scholastic achievements – he has maintained an average above 90 per cent in Grade 12 – Colborne has a bright future ahead of him.

“He does phenomenally well in all areas (of school),” Camrose trainer Brent Sawchuk told the Sun.

“He is a model student,” Sawchuk said. “He sets a fine example of what it takes to be successful in this busy world.”

With three sisters who play basketball at a high level, Colborne comes from an athletic family.

“Right from when I was little my parents always taught me to try to be the best at everything you do,” Colborne told the Sun.

One great example of Colborne’s character occurred during the World Junior A Hockey Challenge in Trail, B.C. this past fall.

While playing for the Canada West team that went on to win gold, a group of Atom-aged players hit the ice to practice with the all-star Junior squad.

According to a Denver University fan website [hey, LetsGoDU got a free plug :-) ], Colborne gave one young player lots of useful tips such as how to take passes off of the skate, how to make proper backhand passes, how to tie up the stick and pin an opponent in the corner and how to deke out a goalie and eventually pull the puck over to the backhand and roof it.

Eventually, the young player took part in a shootout at the end of the session and he pulled off the deke and backhand shot that Colborne had taught him.

“It was a moment my son will always remember,” wrote the boy’s father. “Joe Colborne will be his favourite player for all time.”

Based on his on-ice accomplishments and off-ice demeanor, Colborne will earn a lot more fans on his journey to the NHL.

Colborne Delivers Player Of The Year Speech

From: Edmonton Journal - May 10, 2008
by Cam Tait

CORNWALL, Ont. - Camrose Kodiaks forward Joe Colborne said he was more nervous speaking in front of 500 people on Friday night than playing in the Royal Bank Cup playoffs.

But Colborne's speech was a hit as he was officially presented with the Canadian Junior Hockey League's player-of-the year award at an awards banquet Friday.

In a five-minute written speech, Colborne thanked his coaches, family members and the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

"I can honestly say I have no regrets playing junior A rather than the Western Hockey League," he said. "I'm thankful for the Kodiaks taking a chance on me."

Colborne is expected to be a first-round draft pick in this year's NHL entry draft.

"I was very impressed with the way Joe handled himself," said Los Angeles Kings coach Marc Crawford, who was the banquet's guest speaker. "I'm looking forward to seeing him play Saturday."

LetsGoDU: The Kings possess the Dallas Stars 1st round draft choice which will be one of the last four picks in the First Round of the NHL Draft in Ottawa (6/20/2008).

Colborne Blogs Championship Finale & Trip Home

For those of us following the RBC Cup and the exploits of future Pioneers Joe Colborne and Shawn Ostrow it was a joy to read Joe Colborne's blog entries in Coming Down The Pipe! Blog.

Here is the link to the final installment.

Colborne's Previous Blog Entries
  1. Camrose Travels To Cornwall, Ontario
  2. RBC Cup Opening Ceremonies
  3. The Kodiaks Finally Meet Hot Girlfriend
  4. Even Colborne Wants DU To Recruit Klimosko (LetsGoDU article about Braydon Klimosko)
  5. Kodiaks "Shoe Check" Trainer
  6. "Shoe Checking" Gone Wild During Post Game Meal
  7. Camrose Rests Stars For Semi-Finals
  8. On Day 8 of Joe Colborne's Blog
  9. The "Fettuccine Alfredo Incident"
  10. One Second From Immortality

WCHA Coaches Catfight Over Verbal Commitments

(left) George Gwozdecky & Gophers Coach Don Lucia don't see eye to eye on the issue of verbal commitments

From: Grand Forks Herald
by Brad Schlossman

There was a time not long ago when a player would verbally commit to a college hockey program, and soon after he would be pressured by other coaches to rethink it.

“Yeah that happened. Absolutely. I’d just have to go back as far as Zach Parise,” Denver coach George Gwozdecky said, referring to the former UND player who played from 2002-04.

And there are some coaches who believe those days may return.

At the American Hockey Coaches Association meetings last week in Florida, a small group of coaches pushed eliminate the “gentleman’s agreement” that was put in place a few years ago.

The gentleman’s agreement is that coaches will stop contacting a player once he makes a verbal commitment. This agreement is not bound by NCAA rules — coaches are technically allowed to recruit until a player signs a letter of intent, which can’t happen until an athlete is a high school senior.

But in the last four years, recruiting has become younger and younger. A handful of 14-year-olds have made verbal commitments. Fifteen- and 16-year-olds committing is the new norm. And this trend is a concern to almost all coaches.

Some believe the way to curtail the current trend is to ignore verbal commitments. Others feel that recruiting committed players would lead college hockey down the wrong path.

While it appears that the gentlemen’s agreement will remain in place this year, it might not stay that way for long.

“It’s kind of a mess right now,” Western Collegiate Hockey Association commissioner Bruce McLeod said. “It’s a highly debated topic. Emotions are pretty strong about it.”

Minnesota’s Don Lucia is one coach who has publicly stated that he wants to do away with verbal commitments.

“And he’s got a few allies,” McLeod said. “It’s not a majority. But the problem is that the three or four guys talking about (recruiting committed players) are the leaders, the more veteran coaches. That’s what has caused a commotion more than anything.”

Lucia said that some Hockey East schools pushed a new gentleman’s agreement that would allow schools to contact verbally committed players until May 1 of their junior year. The thinking is that the recruiting age would go back up under this type of system.

“The whole issue here is ninth- and 10th-graders,” Lucia said. “What’s going on right now is not good for the players, colleges or anybody. It shouldn’t be a race to see who can first discover and get a ninth-grader.”

Gwozdecky, the most veteran coach in the WCHA, is on the other side of the issue. He says he’d hate to see the day when coaches are recruiting committed players.

“I don’t want our sport to become like basketball or football,” Gwozdecky said, “where once a young man decides to verbally commit, that’s when the recruiting starts. I strongly feel that once a young man and a school have made a verbal agreement. . . . that is recognized by me as something that is an obligation both parties have to respect.”

UND coach Dave Hakstol says there were very good talks on the subject, but he’d like for the gentleman’s agreement to remain in place for now.

“It’s been something that’s unique to the hockey world,” Hakstol said. “I think it’s served us well. Are there ways to change it and make it better while still honoring the verbal commitment? I think that’s something we’ll talk about over the next year or two.”

There were two incidents in the past season where a coach contacted a committed player and asked if the athlete was content with his commitment, McLeod said.

“Both young men were true to their word,” McLeod said. “It was one phone call, that’s it. And it’s not like they were sneaking around. I know in one case, for sure, the coach called the other coach in advance and told him he was going to do it.”

That might be the norm in a few years.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen right now,” Lucia said, “but we’re not far away from it. I think we’ll be able to make some type of compromise.”