Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kevin Doell Signs Contract With Swedish Club

(above) DU alum Kevin Doell is heading to Sweden

From: Leksand Stars Website

DU alum Kevin Doell has signed a contract with the Leksand Stars of the Swedish Ice Hockey League. The Stars are currently playing in the second division in Sweden, but obviously with the signing of Doell, will be looking to move back to the first division by the end of next season.

Doell spent last season in the AHL, winning a Calder Cup with the Chicago Wolves and playing 8 games in the NHL with the Atlanta Thrashers.

Leksand's Mikael Lustrom said, "We are happy to sign a player of Doell's ability. He is a very good two way player who will help us tremendously."

Doell is the 4th DU alum to sign in Europe for next season. The other three are Ryan Caldwell in Germany, Wade Dubielewicz and Mark Rycroft in Russia.

Doell will be joing a team that is a phenomenon in Swedish sports. Its a tiny community (just 6,000 residents) with a big-time ice hockey following and remains one of the most popular clubs in Sweden.

Notes: Andy Thomas and Adam Berkhoel are two players with DU ties that have yet to sign a contracts with professional clubs. The Washington Capitals drafted Thomas in 2005 have until August 15th to sign him or he will become a free agent.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Former DU Assistant Becomes AHCA President

From: Polytech Online
by Melanie Depoian

The American Hockey Coaches Association announced in May that former DU assistant coach Seth Appert was selected by its members as their new president. Appert follows in the footsteps of University of Denver coach George Gwozdecky, under whom he got his coaching start. Gwozdecky will act as an advisor to the board and particularly to the president, as stated in the AHCA bylaws.

We are thrilled that Seth has agreed to serve in this capacity, said Joe Bertagna, AHCA executive director, in a press release. His self-confidence and energy will give our organization a boost as we set out to meet the demands of our many constituencies.

Appert will serve a three-year term as president, while he continues to guide the Engineers (Rensselaer Polytech Institute) toward a championship.

The AHCA bylaws describe the duties of the president, including to be chair of the Ethics Committee, to represent the AHCA, and to prepare written correspondence with the NCAA, USA Hockey, NHL, USOC, and other such bodies with the executive director, as well as to initiate revisions to the constitution as necessary.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

DU Hockey Is 8th In NCAA Hockey Attendance

(left) With the Denver economy sagging, it remains to be seen if DU can maintain its consecutive sellout streak this season

From: GopherSports.com


The University of Denver finished 8th in the nation in average attendance last season. DU has recorded 76 consecutive regular season sellouts at Magness Arena dating back to the 2004-05 National Championship season.

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association dominated the national attendance rankings with six of the top nine schools. In fact, all 10 WCHA schools ranked in the top half of the 59 Division I hockey-playing schools.

Wisconsin averaged 14,133 fans per game, North Dakota averaged 11,709 fans per contest and Minnesota drew 9,943 fans to lead the country.

Colorado College was fourth in the country at 6,932 fans per game, while Denver was eighth with a 5,933 average and St. Cloud State was ninth with a 5,872 average.

Butler Readies Himself For Professional Career

(above) Professional hockey player Chris Butler hopes to finish his degree from DU within two years

From: Portland Pirates.com

Portland, Maine - When Chris Butler signed a contract with the Buffalo Sabres on April 13, 2008, opting to forgo his final year at the University of Denver, he became the fourth player in the past three years to leave DU early for a chance to play in the NHL. His collegiate career may be over on the ice, but off the ice it's a different story; Butler plans to complete his bachelor's degree in Business within the next two years to keep a promise he made to his grandmother. That shows loyalty and determination that would be welcome by teammates and fans wherever he plays.

In the 2007-2008 season, Butler earned RBK/Hockey AHCA West-All American second-team honors and All-WCHA second-team accolades. He was named to the WCHA Final Five and Wells Fargo Denver Cup all-tournament teams. Butler blocked a team high 110 shots while scoring three goals and 17 points in 41 games for the Pioneers. The St. Louis, Missouri native appeared in 115 games over three seasons and finished his collegiate career with 66 points on 20 goals and 46 assists.

RPI head coach and former DU assistant Seth Appert describes Butler saying, "He's the ultimate two way defenseman. He can and does provide offense, but he does it with minimal risk to his game. When he contributes offensively he does it by making great decisions. Chris is a rare defenseman that runs the first power play, but can also match against the other team's top line."

Butler represented team USA at the 2006 World Junior Championships held in Vancouver, Canada, where he was a teammate of fellow Sabres prospect Nathan Gerbe. In the 2004-2005 season, he led Sioux City (USHL) with a +36 plus/minus rating and was named to the first team All-USHL, earning a spot in the USHL All-Star Game.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dineen May Be Coaching Chris Butler In AHL

(left) After being linked to several NHL coaching jobs, DU alum Kevin Dineen might end up back in Portland coaching with a new organization

From: Portland Press Herald.com
by Paul Betit


The Buffalo Sabres have spoken with Kevin Dineen during the past week about remaining head coach of the Portland Pirates. The Sabres recently signed former DU player Chris Butler and presumably he would start the season in the AHL with Portland.

Dineen coached the Pirates for the past three seasons when the AHL team was affiliated with the Anaheim Ducks.

"You can say we've had some positive discussions and we're looking forward to wrapping things up soon," Dineen said Friday.

In June, the Sabres took over as Portland's parent club, ending their 29-year affiliation with the Rochester Americans.

"All I can say is we have talked to Kevin Dineen and we hope to make a decision soon," said Mike Gilbert, Buffalo's director of public relations.

Dineen expects to know by the middle of the next week which NHL team will be issuing him a paycheck next season.

"We're still in the evaluation stage, trying to determine what is the best route for us to follow," he said.

Dineen, a veteran of 19 NHL seasons, also is weighing job offers from the Ducks.

He could become head coach of the Iowa Chops, Anaheim's new AHL affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa.

Dineen said he also was given an opportunity to become a professional scout for the Ducks, evaluating AHL and NHL players.

That job would enable his family to remain in Maine during the hockey season, he said.

The Pirates also need at least one assistant coach, as well as a head trainer and an equipment manager.

"We're not overly concerned about putting together a first-class staff," said Brian Petrovek, the Pirates' CEO.

"I think that will come together once (the Sabres) hire the head guy."

Friday, July 25, 2008

DU Hockey Blog Updated

This week the DU Hockey Blog on the DU Athletics Website has news on Ryan Caldwell's professional career, Mike Chamber's recent surgery, Steve Miller's poker career, Derek Lalonde & Matt Laatsch coaching the USA Select 15's and potentially Geoff Paukovich's new teammate Robbie Bina.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Johnny Mac Still Bringing Home Hardware For DU

(above) Johnny MacMillan and his wife, Jolene at last week's Snoopy's Senior World Hockey Tournament in Santa Rosa, CA. Johnny Mac won two National Championships at DU ('58 & '60) and two Stanley Cups with the Toronto Maple Leafs ('62 & '63)

LetsGoDU: This may be the best article we've ever published in LetsGoDU. MacMillan recalls his years at DU, Denver's legendary coach Murray Armstrong, his days in the NHL, his thoughts on Coach Gwozdecky and one memorable day with the Stanley Cup in 2005. Thanks to D.J. & Johnny Mac for sharing this fantastic story with us.

The Incredible Journey Of A DU Hockey Legend

Exclusive to LetsGoDU
By DJ Powers
Staff Writer - NCAA
Hockey's Future (http://www.hockeysfuture.com)

Future Considerations (http://www.futureconsiderations.ca)

Some call him “Mr. Two Rings”, but most people around the DU hockey program know him simply as “Johnny Mac."

John MacMillan played for the University of Denver from 1957 to 1960, and was a member of DU’s 1958 and 1960 National Championship teams, the latter of which he served as team captain. In three seasons with DU he scored 65 goals and added 62 assists. During his Denver career DU went 74-19-6, and won two National Championships.

He went on to play professionally for ten years from 1960 to 1971 that included the better part of five years in the National Hockey League with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings. MacMillan was a member of the Maple Leafs’ Stanley Cup winning teams in 1962 and 1963. Most recently, he worked as a color commentator and rinkside reporter for the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads.

MacMillan holds the distinction of being the only former DU Pioneer to have won both a National Championship and a Stanley Cup.

And he’s done it twice.

He, along with the rest of the Pioneers 1958 National Championship team will be inducted into the University of Denver’s Sports Hall of Fame on the weekend of Oct. 24.

Today, MacMillan still plays for the Denver Pioneers – in the annual Snoopy’s Senior World Hockey Tournament in Santa Rosa, CA. [The Denver Pioneers won the 60A Division Championship]

“I think the first time that I came to this tournament was in 2000. I missed 2006 and 2007,” said MacMillan. “I had to go to a family reunion in 2006, and in 2007 I hurt my elbow, so I didn’t make it. So that makes it six of them that I’ve been to. Jack Smith got me started, so that’s pretty exciting.”

MacMillan recalls a reunion that took place at Copper Mountain in 2003 when teammate Don “Cammy” Cameron, the driving force behind the Pioneers tournament team, got up to make a speech with the tournament trophy.

“I hauled it over to Copper Mountain. I took it in and Cammy got up and put the trophy up there, and said ‘you guys all need to put your skates back on because this thing (Snoopy Tournament) goes on. Here’s the fun we had, and here’s our trophy for winning it.’ I think some of them might have kind of taken it to heart.”

The Pioneers won their division at this year’s tournament when they defeated their tournament nemesis the University of Michigan 3-2 on Sunday.

And yes, they got to take home another trophy too.

John MacMillan was born in 1935 in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. Today, he and his wife, Jolene make their home in Boise, Idaho. He spent part of his childhood growing up in Grand Prairie, just north of Edmonton before moving back to southern Alberta, settling in small town called Milk River near the U.S. border. His mother was a teacher and his father was a grain elevator operator. He has a sister who is a golf enthusiast, and two brothers, who also played hockey though not professionally. His brother Keith’s two sons however did play professionally.

Many who follow college hockey know MacMillan’s nephew Tavis from his days at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks as both a player and a coach. Tavis MacMillan is now a scout with the Atlanta Thrashers organization. MacMillan’s other nephew, Bradley will be joining the defending Turner Cup Champion Fort Wayne Komets (IHL) this fall.

While MacMillan’s own sons, or “my boys” as he proudly refers to them, did not follow in their father’s footsteps into pro hockey, they do share his love of sports. His boys’ sport of choice is baseball.

“I have one boy that coaches baseball at the high school level in Tennessee. He loves it,” MacMillan glowingly said. “My other boy, Rob lives in California and went to school in Phoenix where you learn all of the fundamentals to be a scout. So he could go to San Diego, watch a high school team play and critique a boy, if he was asked to by a (MLB) club. Which has never happened. I’m sure he would be very excited if it did. And I think it would be a good thing for him.”

So just how did Johnny Mac come to play for the University of Denver? The tale behind it is probably one of the funniest and best recruiting stories you’ll ever hear or read about.

“Well, I was playing in Lethbridge and Murray Armstrong was the coach in Regina. I wanted to go to university and I wanted to play hockey. When I was playing in Lethbridge, we came to Denver and played an exhibition game against DU. Armstrong wasn’t there yet. Later, I heard that Armstrong had been hired as the new coach at DU. So I wrote him a letter in 1956. My dad was dying and he died that year. I was through with juniors and I was supposed to go to New York Rangers organization. The (Lethbridge Native Suns belonged Rangers). At that time, if you played for an NHL-sponsored team, and they thought enough of you, they’d invite you to a camp. I was supposed to go to the camp in Winnipeg with the Saskatoon Quakers of the old Western Canada Hockey League, but instead I wrote to Armstrong and said that I wanted to come to DU. Murray wrote back, in his glorified terms ‘Why John, you’re just the type of boy that we’d like to have at DU’. The whole malarkey that he had and still has I’m sure. (Laughs). I was accepted (into the school) and it was a great four years.”

As MacMillan explains Armstrong was a very unique coach and the experience of playing for him was unlike that of any other coach, pro or otherwise.

“He wanted the best from you and he didn’t put up with a lot of shenanigans on the ice. I don’t think that he had to reprimand or maybe he had to go to bat for someone of us at some point as far as our grades and what not."

Once I left DU and then went to play pro, Murray became a whole different individual. I think over time Murray changed. Some of the guys in the classes that came through after mine, because we were the first ones with Murray, would say ‘well he changed this and he changed that’, but I felt that he was always someone that you could talk to. You’d always go to talk to Murray and he’d say ‘Is that right? Honest to God, is that a fact?’ And you knew that Murray was no more listening to you than the man on the moon, but what he was trying to get across to you was that he was listening but he was also thinking about something else. So, you’d be in there with your little problem and he could probably handle it, but he would say ‘Honest to God, John is that a fact?’ At that point, you kind of knew that it was over. He understands your problem, so you didn’t talk anymore. You can listen to all of the guys here at the tournament and we’d all make fun of him. (Laughs) You’d be talking and someone would say ‘is that a fact?’ You’d know right away that Murray said that all the time.

In each pre-game speech, Murray would try to put a new word into your vocabulary. He’d have this speech and then out would come this word, and then you could see everybody look around and go ‘what was that?’ He used that word and he’d never used that word before. Then either after practice or the next day, we’d all be asking each other ‘do you know what that word was? Do you know what it means?’ We’d all try and figure out what that word meant. The word that stuck with me was “inveigle”. That was the one word from all of those years that I could remember. I know what it means now. I’ve heard used, but not a lot.”

MacMillan sees many similarities between Armstrong and current Pioneers head coach George Gwozdecky, not the least of which is a building a winner at the University of Denver.

“I think the two of them are really quality individuals. I would say that George is a little more intense than Murray was. I haven’t been around George that much. I’ve watched him on TV and have talked with him. But, the level of play when I was there and the level of play that George has to contend with now probably merits that. He has to be there with that. He's really a very commendable representative for the University of Denver. He carries himself very, very assuredly. He’s used to being a winner, he knows what it takes to be a winner and I think he carries himself that way."

"Murray represented that as well. He was so used to winning in Regina, and he had a system set up that continually replenished his talent pool. He had the pee-wees, midgets and juveniles programs feeding his team. He was successful at it too. Hell, I don’t know how often he went to the Memorial Cup playoffs or won Western Canada Junior Hockey, but he was a successful coach and a winner. And he exuded that.”

(left) MacMillan was the Captain of the 1960 National Championship team

One of MacMillan’s greatest memories from his years at the University of Denver was guiding the Pioneers to the 1960 National Championship by defeating the John MacInnes-coached Michigan Tech Huskies in Boston. MacMillan had scored two goals in the final minute that led the Pioneers’ 5-3 win, including the game-winner. A now-famous story that emerged from the victory has to do with MacMillan getting the game-winning puck. But as MacMillan explains, a National Championship title and the puck weren’t the only things that he took home from that memorable event.

“I had the game-winning goal and I had another goal in the last minute. One won the game and the other one was an empty netter. I think it was someone from Denver ended up with the puck somehow. I do still have that puck, although I can't remember who saved the puck. Bob Martin, who did the radio for Denver for years, got a letter from somebody saying that they had recorded the game over the radio. I still have a tape at home of the recording of the whole game that somebody gave me, so that was pretty awesome to get it. But again, it was a Denver fan that had recorded it and gave it to me.”

After leaving DU in 1960, MacMillan went on to play in both the NHL and the AHL. At the time, his rights were held by the New York Rangers. But a bit of luck and the prejudices against U.S. collegiate players at the time would play crucial roles in MacMillan ending up with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Earlier in the season when I was at DU in 1959-60, we went up to play at Michigan Tech, and Bob Davidson, who was the head scout for the Toronto Maple Leafs, came down to watch a game. We were sitting around eating breakfast one morning and he came over and said ‘my name is Bob Davidson and I’d like to talk to you.’ So I went over and talked to him for a little while, and I didn’t think much about it.

When I decided to go to DU, the Rangers released me. They didn’t want any part of me anymore, so they dropped me from their "Protected List”. Any professional club who thought that was I worth a hoot could pick me up. The Leafs put me on their List after Davidson had talked to me. Thank God, Connie (Conn Smythe) had moved on by the time I was Protected by Toronto because he didn't think much of U.S. college players. Ol’ Connie would basically say ‘we don’t want any of those candy-ass collegiate kids in our league or on our club.’ Davidson came to the game when we played Tech because Louie Angotti, who played for Tech, had been with the Toronto Marlboros before he went to Michigan Tech. I think Louie was pretty highly regarded. He called Davidson and told him that he should have a look at me. Eventually I received a letter from Toronto inviting me to their camp and the rest is history.”

MacMillan spent roughly three and a half years with the Toronto Maple Leafs, winning two Stanley Cups with them. MacMillan’s teammates on those Maple Leaf teams read like a Hockey Hall of Fame Who’s Who. But it was playing for the legendary George “Punch” Imlach that he remembers most fondly about his time in Toronto.

“When I was in Toronto, Imlach had acquired Al (Arbour) from Chicago. And we were sort of like in a farm system. Back then a farm system would have maybe have a defenseman, a goaltender, and a forward that would go back and forth (from the big club). Imlach was good to me. I mean they’ve got all these Marlies that I was playing with in Rochester, but I was the kid that Punch chose to run back and forth. That was good for me. Al was the defenseman, and I was like the tenth forward. So when you’re doing that, you feel like you’re a part of the team, but you also don’t feel like you’re a part of the team. You get to do that a little bit and you work hard to stay there. A lot of the players with Toronto at that time had come up through the Marlies organization. And Punch just came in and worked his magic with all of the personalities. He had a real feel for being able to get more out of people than probably a lot of other people could. Some guys didn’t like him, and some people had bad things to say about him. He brings up Johnny Bower, who was something like 40 years old, and gets five, six great years out of him. You would hear the names (Frank) Mahovlich, Red Kelly, Tim Horton, Bobby Baun, Carl Brewer and all of those guys. Wow! You want to try to break into a tough lineup? Try and get into that lineup! So when I hear those names, I get all choked up from just having been around them.

Punch was always honest with me and he gave me every opportunity to try to get me to do what he wanted to me to do. I was playing pro for, oh maybe one or two years and I remember Bobby Kromm was coaching in Trail (BC), and Trail had won the Allen Cup and would be going to the World Hockey Championships. It was in ’61, ’62 somewhere in there. At the time, the Allen Cup in Canada used to be symbolic of the team that would go to the World Championships, and then later they changed all of that. So I called Kromm and I told him who I was and where I was. He said ‘I know who you are.’ So I said ‘Well, I’ve got my degree in Engineering and I’d love to go to Europe with you.’ I’ve always wanted to go to Europe, just to play and see it. So he said ‘if you can get your Amateur Card, then you’re here.’ So I went to camp, worked hard and never said a word to anybody. I was still with the Leafs and then it came time for me to go talk to Punch. It wasn’t a helluva lot of fun, but you had to go talk to Punch. (Laughs) So I talked to Punch and we got to talking, then I said ‘I want to tell you that I called Bobby Kromm and this is what I’d really like to do.’ Then Punch said ‘I won’t do that for you, simply because Eddie Shore will pick you up.’ And then he said ‘ If you don’t go play for him, you’ll never play hockey again because he won’t release you. He’ll just hang on to you and that would be the end of anything that you’d ever want to do.’ So I didn’t get my Amateur Card and I didn’t go to Europe.”

In today’s NHL, each member of the Stanley Cup winning team gets to spend a day with Lord Stanley’s Cup. For MacMillan, his day came one summer day in August of 2005. While his time with the Cup in Milk River is well documented, an equally entertaining, if not more hilarious story was that of his travels with it to the border town of Sweetgrass, Montana.

“One day, I think it was Friday or Saturday, we were all sitting around and Mike (Mike Bolt, one of the keepers of Lord Stanley’s Cup) said, ‘I’d really like to take the Cup to Montana because there’s no reason that it’ll ever go there, but it’s been in all these states and I’d like to think someday that it’s been in every state in the United States.’ So I said, ‘hell, it’s only 13 miles from Milk River to Sweetgrass. So let’s go.’ So he says ‘what we’ll do is throw in the back (of the truck), we’ll just go down there and we’ll take a picture.’ He wanted to go down there, hold the Cup under the “Welcome to Montana” sign and take a picture. Then he says ‘I don’t want to report that I have the Cup.’ And I said ‘if you go through there (the border) and coming back they decide that they want to search you and you can’t sell them on the fact that you don’t have what you shouldn’t have at the border, and they find that Cup, then you’re going to spend hours there explaining why you have the Stanley Cup. So we convinced him that he should stop and tell them that he has the Cup and what he’s going to do. So we go through towards the American side. He pulls up (at the border), rolls down his window, and the guy begins asking him all the questions. So then he sticks his head out the window and asks the guy ‘do you know what the Stanley Cup is?’ The guy looked at him like “what do you think, I’m stupid or something?’ And then Mike says ‘I’ve got it in the back’ Then the guy says ‘you’ve got the Stanley Cup in the back of that SUV?’ Mike says ‘yeah’. Then the guy says ‘pull over and bring it in.’

So we parked out in front and brought it in. By that time, the guy had already left the window, gone inside and everyone in the place knows that the Stanley Cup is coming through the front door. So we come in and then he says to us “c’mon, we’ve got a plan.” So we all got onto an elevator, went up to the second floor and there’s a balcony in the U.S. Customs area in Sweetgrass, Montana that you could stand with one leg in Canada and one leg in the U.S. So they sit the Cup so it splits the line there and then all these U.S. immigration people are up there taking their pictures with the Cup. And they’re no different than a class of ten-year-olds getting their pictures taken with the Stanley Cup. Plus, they get on the phone and you can see this balcony from the Canadian side. And they holler out at the guys over there and said ‘take a look out the window and see what we’ve got’. You could see the Stanley Cup up there (in the balcony). So all of a sudden, here come all of these Canadians running towards the border. I don’t know how long we spent there with everyone getting their pictures taken. Finally that was all done. Then we drove out of Sweetgrass and started up the hill and there’s the sign that says, “Welcome to Montana”. So we pulled over to the side of the road. We pop the lid of the box that the Cup is in and get it out. We walked through this knee-high grass, through the ditch and up on the edge. Then Mike says ‘take my picture first.’ So he’s holding the Cup under the sign and we take his picture. Then he says “Now John you take a hold of it and get under there and we’ll take your picture.’ So as we’re doing all of this, this big 18-wheeler goes by and his (the driver’s) head turns and he sees the Cup. Well then, here comes another big 18-wheeler, and he just pulls over to the side of the road and stops maybe four feet from us. Then the guy jumps out and asks ‘is that the Stanley Cup?’ then Mike says ‘yeah’. Right away this guys asks ‘can I hold it? Can I get my picture taken with it?’ Of course Mike’s very accommodating. So here’s this guy standing in front of his truck holding the Stanley Cup getting his picture taken. He was just beside himself with excitement that this has happened. So we had a great time with it. We really did. It was fun to have it there.”

With all of his success, John MacMillan remains humble and grounded. He is genuine with a gentle humor. And he is also one of the most personable individuals that you could ever meet. Now approaching his mid-70’s, MacMillan is still as passionate and enthusiastic about hockey as he probably was the first time he ever laced up a pair of skates. Whether it’s stories and recollections about his wonderful family or the game that he loves, he will always share them with a smile.

Johnny Mac often describes his life experiences as incredible.

Well, Johnny Mac himself is pretty incredible too.

- DJ Powers
Staff Writer - NCAA
Hockey's Future (http://www.hockeysfuture.com)

Future Considerations (http://www.futureconsiderations.ca)

Wrenn Turning Heads At USA Hockey Festival

2009 DU recruit William Wrenn of Anchorage, Alaska received kudos from several observers at the recently completed Select 17 Festival hosted by USA Hockey. The elite camp was by invitation only to the best 17 year-old hockey players in the country.

US Hockey Report describes Wrenn as "tough, physical and plays with an edge." Before deciding on DU, Wrenn was courted by both Michigan and Michigan State.

Western College Hockey Blog noted that, "The Pioneers are building what could be an amazing defense for 2009 with Wrenn, and a pair of USHL defenseman in Matt Donovan and Paul Phillips, and Adam Murray in goal."

Doyle Woody at the Alaska Daily News had this to say about Wrenn's performance at the USA Camp.
For what it's worth, defenseman William Wrenn of Anchorage got some props out of USA Hockey's Select 17 Festival in St. Cloud, Minn., recently -- Western College Hockey Blog rated Wrenn the second-best blueliner at the festival.

Wrenn, 17, last season played for the Under-17 squad in USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, providing seven assists in 63 games -- he's primarily noted as a defensive defenseman.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder is headed to the University of Denver in 2009-10, where he will be joined by Under-17 teammate Adam Murray, the goaltender from Anchorage.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

AD Cites "Strong Momentum" For Boone Return

Thanks to an alert reader we were directed to the DU Athletics Website that had an interesting paragraph entitled "Boone Update."

"DU Athletic Director Peg Bradley-Doppes reports that the momentum to bring back Denver Boone as a mascot at DU is still going strong. Former women's basketball player Brooke Meyer is taking the torch from Peter Mannino (hockey) and Alyssa Hampton (volleyball) to lead the charge by the DU student body."

Hockey Journal Profiles Joe Colborne

(above) Boston University star Colin Wilson and soon to be Pioneer Joe Colborne grace the cover of this month's Hockey Journal

From: New England Hockey Journal

by Kevin Edelson

When the Boston Bruins drafted Joe Colborne with the 16th pick at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft last month, nobody had him pegged to be a physical force for the Bruins, let alone a fighter.

But the Calgary, Alberta native may surprise fans with his willingness to get in the mix and throw his weight around between and after the whistles. He may also surprise fans with where he trained to become a more physical player: the boxing ring.

“It was a big learning experience for me,” said Colborne this week during the Bruins’ development camp in Wilmington. “Not only is it hard training but just getting used to fighting and the physical stuff. As a player who kind of got a lot of attention from other teams this past year I’ve had to stand up for myself and for my linemates a few times. (Boxing training) was great for me.”

Boxing lessons might have worried some coaches who don’t want their star player getting hurt off the ice. However, Camrose Kodiaks coach Boris Rybalka embraced Colborne’s decision to step into the ring.

“It was a smart thing to do, learning how to defend yourself,” Rybalka said. “He won both his fights and I think he caught guys off guard because they’re thinking, ‘Okay, this guy’s a goal -corer, a point-getter’ and all of a sudden they saw this 24-inch reach.”

However, while Colborne can defend himself, it was how he defended others that caught his coach’s eye – especially in one particular line-brawl this year.

“Joe’s the type of character; when he got into those fights, Joe went in to defend his teammates. It took him about a second to jump right in and grab a guy going after one of his teammates. I just sat there with a big smile on my face saying, ‘Now that’s why Joe Colborne’s going to be a pro player,’” the coach said.

While his willingness to play physical and defend teammates will help him out when he goes to the NHL, it’s his goal-scoring prowess that caught the attention of the Bruins’ brass.

In his two years with the Kodiaks, Colborne helped lead the team to two straight Alberta Junior Hockey League titles. He was the leading scorer in the playoffs this season – notching eight goals and 16 assists. His real dominance, however, came in the regular season, when he led the Kodiaks with 33 goals and 57 assists for 90 points – 20 more than the next closest Kodiak and good for second in the league.

Not only can he score big but Colborne can also play big. And at 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, he’s still growing.

The first place he’ll be using his size is at Denver University, where he’ll play starting this fall under head coach George Gwozdecky.

“I’m pretty excited,” Colborne said. “I’m going in and I got a lot to prove. I’m not taking anything for granted. I’m gonna do my best and try to make the top line. They already have a lot of great players and some good guys coming in so it’ll be competitive but you need that if you’re gonna have a good team.”

Colborne joins a Denver team that lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament last year. But the Pioneers are returning four of their top five scorers from last year, including sophomore Tyler Bozak, who led the Pioneers with 34 points. Where Colborne will fit into the line-up remains to be seen.

“He’s gonna get a chance to play a lot in some very key offensive situations,” Gwozdecky said, “whether they’re with two of our pretty prolific offensive players up front, as well as playing hopefully in a position where he can contribute on the power play. I think from a mental and an emotional maturity level he’s ready for the challenge that college hockey and especially the WCHA is going to present him.”

And while college is about a month away, Colborne has already met some of his teammates who are already excited about his upcoming pro career.

“I know quite a few of the guys,” Colborne said. “I went down there and met them all, and they seem like a great group of guys. I got emails and texts from quite a few of them after I got drafted which was nice, because they seem pretty excited for me and it should be a lot of fun next year.”

With players like Colborne, who get picked in the first round, comes expectations of producing at the pro level. And there’s always the threat of a player leaving early. However, Gwozdecky is confident that Colborne will be in Denver for the long haul.

“He’s a young guy looking forward not only to the challenge of college hockey but the challenge of college itself. He wants to get as far towards his degree as he possibly can.”

Colborne’s off-ice work is just as important as his on-ice work. Not only is he committed to his studies, but he’s just as committed to the community. In his two years at Camrose, Colborne made a lasting impression on both the coaching staff and the community.

“He knows he’s an elite athlete, but he’s very humble” Rybalka said. “He knows there’s people who come out to watch him play and yet he’s giving back to the community. Joe would take the time always to sign an autograph, visit different hospitals, go to schools and read to kids, go on ride-alongs with police. Joe made sure to make them feel part of it also.”

“Whether it was going to read for kids or going on walks for MS and cancer,” Colborne said,” we tried to get out as much as possible. And if there’s an event in Camrose we try to get to it if we don’t have a game because in Camrose they embrace the Kodiaks so well. And with a town of about 17,000 we were getting over 3,000 people for our playoff games; you don’t find that in many other places. It was a great situation for me and I loved my two years there.”

Colborne will have a potential four years in Denver before making the jump to the Bruins. And judging from the way he’s progressed since first stepping foot in the ice in Camrose, the best is yet to come.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Hockey Blog Debuts On DU Athletics Website

Eric Bacher, DU's Director of Media Relations, has started a Blog covering the DU hockey team on the DU Athletics Website. It's off to a strong start, so check it out, and give them feedback.

In the initial entry the blog covers Coach Gwozdecky's Youth Hockey Camp, the team, and future plans for several hockey alums.

The entire team (except Freshmen) is currently in Denver teaching at the hockey camp and working out together. This is one reason why Rhett Rakhshani did not attend the Islanders Prospects Camp. He felt that team unity was so important and as an Assistant Captain he wanted to show leadership for the younger players.
.
Best of luck to Eric and we look forward to his postings this season.

"Good afternoon Pioneer hockey fans. This is the debut edition of the DU Hockey Blog. The blog will be designed to give Pioneer fans an inside look at all things DU hockey. Fans can email me, Erich Bacher, at ebacher@du.edu with questions and blog ideas. The main mission is to educate, entertain and provide more news, facts and tidbits about the DU hockey program."

Boone Makes Appearance At NHL Minicamp

(above) Peter Mannino at the Isles minicamp sported duelling Boone's on his pads

While a small faction of the DU faculty does everything in their power to fraudulantly subterfuge Boone's return campus, he was spied last week at the New York Islanders minicamp.

Also attending the camp were DU alum Brent Skinner and 2009 recruit Matt Donovan.

Family & Friends Behind Donovan's Success

(left) Last week 2009 recruit Matt Donovan headed to New York for the Islanders minicamp. His grandparents from New Hampshire and father were on hand for support

by Robert Przybylo

EDMOND — It's going to take a lot for 2009 DU recruit Matt Donovan to earn family bragging rights.

His father, Larry, is the coach for the University of Oklahoma club hockey team. The squad has quickly become one of the best club teams in the nation.

His mother, Kathryn, is a world champion skeet shooter.

His older sister, Katelyn, was a top flight figure skater before injuries derailed her career.

But Matt took his first step toward reaching the top when he was drafted in the fourth round of the NHL Draft by the New York Islanders two weeks ago.

For Matt Donovan, everything is still a blur.

"I'm still trying to get my feet back on the ground,” he said. "I've been getting phone calls and text messages from people I haven't heard from in years. Everyone just wants to tell me how happy they are for me.”

The selection is the culmination of nearly 18 years of hard work. But even Matt Donovan couldn't believe it at first.

He was watching the draft when he saw his name scroll across the bottom of the screen. About 15 minutes later, an Islanders representative gave him the call that made it official.

"If you ask my dad, he says I learned how to walk and skate at the same time,” Matt said. "I only remember starting to skate and play when I was like 4 years old, but he'll say I've been skating almost since the womb.”

Matt's hockey passion stems from his father. Larry grew up in Boston during the glory days of the Bruins' dominant teams.

But Larry never forced Matt into the game. In fact, most of the time, it was quite the opposite.

"He would drag me to the rink,” Larry Donovan said. "I'd be there all day coaching and looking to go home. But Matt wouldn't let me.”

Well, Matt and his best friend since he was 3 years old, Josh Berge. The Berge and Donovan families are connected at the hip.

Josh's father, Mark Berge, is a defensive coach. Matt, a defenseman, credits Mark Berge for his development as a player.

The same is said by Josh for Larry Donovan as the two offensive minds have combined to make Josh, 18, a rising prospect in the United States Hockey League.

"This has been extremely exciting,” Josh Berge said. "We've done just about everything together.”

It was that tight friendship that made school bearable for Matt Donovan. Not exactly growing up in the hotbed of hockey in Edmond, Matt's best friends are hockey guys.

"It made school a little tough at times because we were all scattered, but I knew I would see the guys at the rink after school,” Matt Donovan said.

Donovan attended Edmond North High before moving to Dallas two years ago and then relocating to Cedar Rapids last year for his first year in the USHL.

The transition could have been tough, but his host family in Iowa happened to be a familiar face.

Mary Clark, who used to work with Larry Donovan, lives in Cedar Rapids. When the Donovans found out that was where Matt was headed, he was quickly on the phone.

"It's such a small world,” Larry Donovan said. "I knew I would be comfortable with him there, and he would be happy, too. She used to babysit him and his sister when he was 1 and she was 3 years old.”

Matt Donovan had 12 goals and 18 assists for Cedar Rapids last year and will play for the RoughRiders again this season while also attending the University of Denver.

Eligibility rules differ in hockey. As long as Donovan doesn't receive any money with Cedar Rapids, he can play for both clubs.

"This would be absolutely great for this part of the country for hockey,” said Ray Miron, founder of the Central Hockey League. "The minor programs in Oklahoma City and Tulsa have improved so much. Now we're seeing evidence of that.”

Matt doesn't feel like he has the weight of the world on his back trying to become the first player in more than 70 years to be born and live in Oklahoma and play in the NHL. But he isn't shying away from the pressure, either.

"When you grow up with such a competitive family like I did, you can't really top that,” Matt Donovan said. "This is quite an honor, and I'm going to do all I can to make my family and Oklahoma proud.”

Tampa Plans To Build Power Play Around Carle

(above) DU alum Matt Carle will man the point on Tampa's power play unit

From: Tampa Tribune
by Eric Erlendsson


Lost in all the fireworks of Friday's trade of popular defenseman Dan Boyle to San Jose was the acquisitions coming Tampa Bay's way.

While the first-round draft pick is coveted and junior defenseman Ty Wishart was among the Sharks' top five prospects, possesses good size at 6-foot-5 and was a scoring machine in juniors, defenseman and DU Alum Matt Carle is the centerpiece of the deal.

The 6-foot, 205-pound native of Anchorage, Alaska, was a member of the NHL All-Rookie team in 2006-07 following an 11-goal, 42-point season. He was also the Hobey Baker Award winner in his second season at the University of Denver in 2005-06.

The 23-year-old suffered through a sophomore slump, however, last season in San Jose. At times he was a healthy scratch, including twice in the playoffs, while slipping to two goals and 15 points in 62 games.

But Carle had hoped to redeem himself with the Sharks next season when his four-year, $13.75 million contract kicks in. Instead, the hope is that a fresh start will rejuvenate his game in Tampa Bay, where he currently sits as the team's highest-paid defenseman with a salary cap hit of $3.4 million.

"It was a difficult year for me last year not getting the opportunities that I felt I needed," Carle said. "But I'm moving on now, so it's just a step forward in my development. I definitely take a lot out of last year and learned a lot from it, and it will benefit me the rest of my career."

Carle is expected to step into a top-four role for the Lightning next season and likely will be penciled on a point position for the top power-play unit, which he helped run his rookie season when the Sharks had one of the top power plays in the league.

"He clearly will add speed and skill to our lineup," Lightning vice president of hockey operations Brian Lawton said. "He fits with our plan of trying to getting younger and better."

While Carle expressed excitement to be coming to Tampa Bay, he also has a personal connection with the organization. Last month, Tampa Bay selected David Carle, Matt's younger brother, in the seventh round of the draft despite a heart ailment that may prevent him from following in big brother's footsteps. The Carle family was touched by the gesture of Lightning owner Oren Koules, whose son attends the same high school in Minnesota as David Carle.

"That act that they did there was just first class all the way," Carle said. "When I found out about being traded to Tampa Bay, my first call was to home and I talked to my brother, so he was the first one to officially welcome me to the organization."

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Look Back At The 2007 Snoopy Tournament

After the Denver Pioneers victory over the Michigan hockey alums this weekend, several readers wanted to check out last year's coverage of last year's Snoopy Hockey Tournament, so here's the link...


Editor's Note: DJ Powers of Hockey's Future was in California last week covering the Snoopy Senior World Hockey Tournament. For the second straight year she agreed to write a series of articles for LetsGoDU about the DU Pioneers, an alumni team made up of former DU players from the Murray Armstrong era. We can't thank DJ enough for her outstanding coverage of the event.

The Tournament was founded by Peanuts creator Charles Schultz in 1975 and brings together hockey players between the ages of 40-75. (Video Link about Tournament)

DU Recruit & Former Coach To Lead Team USA

(above) 2009 recruit Paul Phillips (#7) spent last season manning the blueline for the Cedar Rapids Roughriders in the USHL

2009 incoming recruit Paul Phillips and former DU assistant coach Seth Appert were selected by USA Hockey for the 2008 United States Under-18 Select Team. They will participate in the 2008 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament August 12-16 in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Piestany, Slovakia.

Team members were chosen from the 2008 USA Hockey Select 17 Player Development Camp, which was held July 7-13 at the National Hockey Center at St. Cloud State (Minn.) University and featured many of America's best hockey players born in 1991.

Phillips was a member of the U.S. Under-17 Select Team that took part in the 2007 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic.

Seth Appert has been chosen to serve as the head coach.

“I’m honored to represent our country with these twenty-one fine young men,” said Appert. “This group has an outstanding mix of skill, competitiveness and hockey intelligence which will allow us to contend for the gold medal.”

DU's Recruiting Classes

2009
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)

2010
Jason Zucker (Detroit Compuware)

Badgers Rue The Loss Of Wiercioch

(above) Patrick Wiercioch is the second highest NHL draft choice to commit to DU in the Gwozdecky era

We received an email asking for more details on the Patrick Wiercioch signing, so here are some links.

Two weeks ago Patrick Wiercioch signed a Letter of Intent with the University of Denver.
The University of Denver Athletics Website officially announces the signing.

Mike Chamber's Blog had the scoop from the get-go and added a follow-up report the next day.

There is no joy in Madison as the Badgers feel like their prom date dumped them at the 11th hour.

The Wisconsin State Journal tabbed Wiercioch's departure to DU a "Recruiting Fiasco."

BurnabyNow.com has a story on Wiercioch's draft day reaction to being selected by the Ottawa Senators.

NHL.com Profiles Joe Colborne

From: NHL.com
by John McGourty

To hear some tell it, the rich are fortunate. Others will tell you the rich got that way through hard work. In reality, there are heirs and such who are fortunate -- and there are those who've amassed their own fortunes.

Joe Colborne, the Boston Bruins' first-round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, fits both categories -- and he isn't afraid to discuss the subject. It's important because there are those who think Colborne's wealth will make him too soft to play in the NHL.

The Bruins used the No. 16 pick to make Colborne the first Tier II player selected this year. He was the No. 28-ranked North American skater, meaning that the Bruins rated him much more highly than NHL Central Scouting. Nor are the Bruins the only ones who think Colborne will succeed: He's headed to the University of Denver this fall.

Colborne isn't the only family member making headlines this year. His dad, Paul, is a Calgary corporate lawyer with a unique ability to create energy-exploration companies that he sells to larger companies. As a result of his family's wealth and Joe's decision to bypass Canadian junior hockey, there were whispers before the draft that Colborne is "soft" and lacks the heart to withstand the grind and punishment of the NHL.

Guess those folks never talked to Joe Colborne.

The only thing "soft" about Colborne are his hands. As for the silver spoon, it likely got left behind in Ontario in the 1970s when Joe's grandfather, a construction worker, moved halfway across the country to find work in hard times. Later on, Paul Colborne played baseball and football at the University of Calgary and then went to law school there. He became a corporate attorney for an oil company, where he learned the skills that led to his recognition as one of North America's leaders in startup exploration companies.

"Some people try to stereotype me with some other people," Joe Colborne said. "Our parents brought us up to understand that nothing in life is given to you. They said if I wanted something, to go out and take it. It's not like I haven't made sacrifices. I moved away when I was 15 to attend Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Saskatchewan. The sacrifices that my family and I have made helped me get to where I am today.

"My father is someone who didn't have much growing up, so he made sure he put in the hard work to become successful. My mom is the same way, and I feel lucky I had them to look up to. For me and my three sisters, they instilled the need for hard work and perseverance from the time we were little."

Paul Colborne's familiarity with construction work helped when Joe was getting better at hockey and the family moved to a new home that had an old outbuilding on the property.

"My dad played baseball and football and I don't think he had hockey in mind for me, but he always told me, 'You choose what you want to do.' I said it was hockey and he couldn't have been more supportive. The tractor shed had a smooth concrete floor I could shoot from. My dad and I put in a lot of time fixing it up. We have a 40 x 50-foot area with a net. We put up a basketball net for my sisters at the other end. They've all been good basketball players. I hit the walls with so many shots, I was covering the floor with wood chips so we added a mesh net that fixed that."

Colborne was at an impasse at the end of his bantam years. He was a gangly kid without a big reputation and he tried out for a Midget AAA team in Calgary. There may be no place tougher to make such a team.

"I went to the summer tryout camp, but they weren't going to take me as a 15-year-old," Joe Colborne said. "I had made it my goal to play juniors at 16 and there was no way I could make that jump from a regular youth hockey team to juniors, with players aged 20 and 21, so Notre Dame was one opportunity that came up.

It was a little scary. I didn't know if I would make the team. I had moved away from home and I was living in a dorm with three guys. It was a huge learning experience for me, a turning point. I had decided that if I wanted to go into hockey, I had to do things like this. It was just what I needed."

The Tri-City Americans held Colborne's WHL rights, and Notre Dame wanted him back, but Colborne chose the Tier II route, traveling north up Route 13 to play for the Camrose Kodiaks and coach Boris Rybalka.

"The people at Tri-Cities were great," Colborne said. "They said they would be happy to have me, but that it was my decision. As a family, we were undecided until we talked to coach Rybalka. It seemed like a great fit and went with the intention of staying one year. I had a great year and went back for another season. During that time, I visited a few colleges and really liked Denver.

"Other than my parents, coach Rybalka has had the greatest influence on me. He gave me an opportunity at 16 to play with some really good players. I learned so much that year and he was the best coach I ever had. Why leave prematurely? I went back and I give him a lot of thanks for where I am today."

Some of the players at the Bruins’ development camp will return to training camp in September, but Colborne will be in Denver, preparing for his first NCAA season. He knows he needs to add weight and strength, something that will come with physical maturity and hard work. He expects to play two years for Denver.

Right now, he's not thinking about that. He's trying to remember everything Cam Neely is telling him.

"They wanted us to come here to get an idea what training camp is like," Colborne said. "It's been great. We've been on the ice and we've done a lot of off-ice training and testing. A lot of guys are in the same situation, trying to make a name for themselves. I'm just trying to take in as much as possible. Hopefully, it will pay off.

"Cam Neely ran some of practices. That was pretty neat. When he speaks, I make sure I listen. Don Sweeney ran the practice the first day. You can tell these guys know what they're talking about so I'm just trying to learn as much as possible."

Why not? There's money to be made.

DU Beats Michigan 3-2 To Win Snoopy Tourney

The Clash of the Titans II
Denver Pioneers vs. Michigan Wolverines

Editor's Note: DJ Powers of Hockey's Future was in California last week covering the Snoopy Senior World Hockey Tournament. For the second straight year she agreed to write a series of articles for LetsGoDU about the DU Pioneers, an alumni team made up of former DU players from the Murray Armstrong era. We can't thank DJ enough for her outstanding coverage of the event.

The Tournament was founded by Peanuts creator Charles Schultz in 1975 and brings together hockey players between the ages of 40-75. (Video Link about Tournament)

Special to LetsGoDU
By DJ Powers

In hockey, it is said that revenge is a dish that is best served cold. For the Denver Pioneers, that dish couldn’t have tasted any sweeter than it did on Sunday morning when they defeated tournament nemesis the Michigan Wolverines to capture the gold medal in the 60A “Marcie” Division by a score of 3-2 (all skaters are over 60 years old).

Every year in the Snoopy Tournament, the Denver/Michigan game has always been one of the best and most hotly contested matches and it was no different this year.

Prior to the game, Denver got some bad news when forward Norm Kvern wasn’t able to go due to a back injury.

The pace of the game was set from the moment that the puck dropped and it wasn’t long after that the intensity level would gradually begin to get ratcheted up.

The first good chance on goal for Denver came about four and half minutes into the opening stanza when Pat Halas went in on a partial breakaway but just couldn’t finish.

Things began to get heated with matching minors being assessed at the 7:57 mark.

When the Wolverines were able to successfully execute their attack into the Pioneers zone, goaltender Tom Jones was there to make sure the puck stayed out. Denver’s stifling defense and aggressive forecheck throughout the game proved to be keys in effectively slowing down Michigan’s speed and limiting their opportunities.

Denver’s offensive attack came in consistent waves throughout the period. However, their inability to finish was becoming problematic. That was compounded by the fact that Michigan got some very good goaltending from Greg Page.

One of the best chances for the Pioneers in the period came at about the midway point when Bill Pettinger’s shot rung off of the crossbar.

While Denver had momentum on their side, it would be Michigan that would draw first blood. Jack Norqual’s shot at the 18:23 mark beat Jones five-hole for the score.

With time winding down in the first period, Denver began to furiously attack the Wolverines net, but Page was there to shut the door, making several outstanding saves.

The second period opened with both teams coming out with good jump. The Wolverines were getting more scoring opportunities but once again the Pioneers defense wouldn’t let up.

As the period progressed towards the midway point, the physical play really began to pick up, particularly with Michigan.

The hard work that the Pioneers had put into their offensive efforts would finally pay off at the 8:27 mark. Tom Miller punched home the rebound for the equalizer.

Denver continued to relentlessly attack the Michigan zone, but Page continued to stand tall in the Wolverines net.

The Pioneers would take the lead at the 14:24 mark. Pettinger drove down the sideboards before cutting in front of the net. After getting to the net, he kept trying to get the puck behind Page, before finally succeeding for the score.

When play resumed, Michigan mounted a fierce attack, getting several good shots on goal, but had nothing to show for it.

At the 19:24 mark, the Wolverines would have the opportunity to get the equalizer on the power play when Miller was called for a trip.

The final period opened with Michigan on the power play for another almost two and a half minutes. [NOTE: Minor penalties in the Snoopy Tournament are three minutes long].

About a minute into the period, a turnover by Michigan nearly proved to be costly when Wayne Wiste got the puck, proceeded to skate up the ice with defenseman Blake Emery hustling to join the rush to create a shorthanded, odd-man situation, but was unable to finish the play.

After successfully killing of the penalty, Denver went back to work on trying to add an insurance goal to maintain the lead. But Michigan wasn’t about to go quietly. The Wolverines continued mounting good offensive attacks only to have the Pioneers’ aggressive forechecking and unyielding defensive play neutralize them. The Wolverines did an excellent job of utilizing their team speed, but the stifling Denver defense gave them little skating room for which to work with.

One of the best opportunities for the Wolverines to tie the game came around the midway point when a shot fired from in close nearly beat Jones. The Pioneers netminder was able to corral the puck just before it crossed the goal line.

Denver would get another opportunity to extend their lead at the 11:56 mark, when Bob Boysen was called for holding the stick.

It took just 23 seconds into the man-advantage for the Pioneers to capitalize, when Miller forced Page to commit first before flipping a shot up and over the Michigan netminder for the score.

Denver would get the opportunity to put the game out of reach when Michigan’s Alex Hood was called for interference at the 14:19 mark.

As well executed as their previous power play was, Denver couldn’t quite get this one to go, thanks in part to some great work by the Michigan defenders.

In a game of this magnitude, bad mistakes in your own zone can be costly, especially while on the power play. And that became quite apparent on Michigan’s next goal. Red Berenson gained possession, then curled in and flipped a beautiful backhander over Jones for the shorthanded tally.

The score was now 3-2 Denver.

With time winding down and the prospect of being unable to successfully defend their gold medal, Michigan began to throw everything at the Denver net in an effort to get the equalizer. With just over a minute left in regulation time, the Wolverines pulled Page for the extra attacker. As the clock ticked down to end the game, the entire Pioneers team did whatever it took to hold on for the win.

And when the final buzzer sounded, it produced two very different scenes on the ice – the jubilation of the Denver Pioneers at one end, and the frustration of the Michigan Wolverines at the other.

BOX SCORE

First Period:
Michigan (1-0) Jack Norqual (Larry Covitz) [18:23]

Second Period:
DU (1-1) Tom Miller (John MacMillan) [8:24]
DU (1-2) Bill Pettinger (Tom Miller, John MacMillan) [14:04]

Third Period:
DU (1-3) Tom Miller [PPG-GWG] (John MacMillan, Bob Brawley) [12:19]
Michigan (2-3) Red Berenson [SHG] (Unassisted) [16:24]

Power Play Conversions:
Michigan: 0-for-2
DU: 1-for-3


DU Snoopy Tournament Notes
Denver’s tournament win over Michigan on Sunday was their first since 2004.

In their three tournament games, Denver outscored their opponents by a combined score of 19-6.

Tom Miller led Denver in overall tournament scoring with nine points (three goals, six assists)

Pat Halas and Bill Pettinger led Denver in tournament goal scoring with five each.

Miller and John MacMillan led Denver in tournament assists with six each.

Norm Kvern and Tom Jones were the only Pioneers held without a point in the tournament.

- DJ Powers Staff Writer - NCAA
Hockey's Future (http://www.hockeysfuture,com/)
Future Considerations (http://www.futureconsiderations.ca/)
[And your humble DU Snoopy Tournament correspondent]

Sunday, July 20, 2008

DU 11 Hodgepodge Elite 0 at Snoopy Tourney


The Denver Pioneers vs. The Hodgepodge Elite

Special to Lets Go DU
By DJ Powers

The second game of the Snoopy Tournament for the Denver Pioneers became a one-sided affair against the Hodgepodge Elite. Bill Pettinger and Pat Halas each tallied four goals as the Pioneers crushed the Elite11-0 in the early Saturday morning contest.

The Hodgepodge Elite, made up of a mish-mash of players from other teams in the tournament, had a somewhat different lineup versus Denver than they did in their contest against the University of Michigan 60s on Wednesday.

While the slow pace to start the game was not unexpected, considering the 6am start time, the Pioneers would get things going quickly. It also didn’t take long before the Pioneers got on the board. Just 3:24 in, Halas would get Denver on the board going top-shelf on the Elite goaltender for the score. Norm Kvern drew the lone assist.

Throughout the game, the Pioneers got great goaltending from Tom Jones. While Jones did not see as much rubber as his counterpart at the other end, he did make a number of quality saves when he had to.

Denver’s next goal came at the 7:17 mark, when Pettinger’s shot snuck in underneath the Elite netminder to extend their lead. Tom Miller drew the lone assist.

One of the things that frustrated the Elite throughout the game was the Pioneers’ control of the neutral zone and the blueline. While the Elite did manage to get into Denver’s zone at various times throughout the game, they weren’t able to sustain any real pressure for an extended period of time the way the Pioneers were able to do.

Pettinger and Miller would figure once again on Denver’s next goal at the 15:06 mark. The goal was the result of a nice two-on-one play between the two linemates with Pettinger finishing the play by tucking the puck behind the Elite netminder. Miller and defenseman Bob Peers drew the assists.

One of the few quality opportunities for the Elite came about two minutes after Denver’s third goal on a two-on-one play that was stopped by Jones.

The second period proved to be slightly better for the Elite, but they had nothing to show for it. Denver, meanwhile, came out of the gate strong and notched their next goal just one minute in when Halas got his second of the game. He banged home the loose puck that the Elite goaltender had trouble corralling with traffic in front of him. The goal was unassisted.

Halas would complete the hat trick on Denver’s next goal at the 4:17 mark when his shot went in just inside the post for the score. Miller and John “Johnny Mac” MacMillan would draw the assists.

The Pioneers continued to apply good pressure in the offensive zone, but the Elite would get their chances.

The first came at the 7:20 mark when defenseman Peter McEwen was called for interference, giving the Elite the game’s first man-advantage. However, they wouldn’t get the full power play time as one of their players was called for a hold at the 9:43 mark.

Both teams successfully killed of their penalties and Denver was back to business and controlling the game.

At the 14:52 mark, defenseman Wayne Smith would push the Pioneers’ lead to 6-0. Smith jumped into the play to create an odd-man situation with Halas and with the Elite goaltender out of position, Smith tucked home the shot into the empty side for the score. Halas and defenseman Blake Emery would draw the assists.

Around the 16-minute mark, the Elite would have a partial breakaway opportunity, but Emery did an excellent of job of staying with the puck carrier and prevented him from getting a shot on goal.

The Elite however, would get another crack at the Pioneers at the 16:17 mark when Don Cameron would be sent off for a trip.

Denver once again successfully killed off the penalty, but the Elite managed to get a few quality chances, only to have Jones shut the door on them.

The final stanza became the Denver Pioneers show and the fatigue factor began to really set in on the Elite. The Pioneers dictated nearly every facet of the game and area of the ice.

In the five-goal outburst of the period, Halas got things started at the 9:13 mark with his fourth tally of the game. Halas tapped in a rebound just inside the post for the score. Smith and Bill Goodacre drew the assists.

Just under two minutes later at the 11:54 mark, Pettinger completed Denver’s second hat trick after slipping the loose puck underneath the Elite netminder for the score. Miller drew the lone assist.

The Pioneers would score again under a minute later at the 12:36 mark off of the stick of MacMillan and Pettinger would make it 10-0 at the 18:26 mark.

Perhaps the best goal of the game came on Denver’s final tally at the 18:42 mark. Miller posted his first goal of the Tournament on a beautiful wraparound to put the frosting on the cake for the Pioneers. Pettinger and MacMillan drew the assists.

Tom Miller led Denver in scoring in the contest with six points (one goal, five assists). Pat Halas and Bill Pettinger each posted five points (four goals, one assist) and John MacMillan posted four points (one goal, three assists).

The Pioneers went 0-for-1 on the power play while the Elite went 0-for-2 on the power play.

Next up: “The Clash of the Titans II” versus the University of Michigan Wolverines 60s on Sunday.

- DJ Powers Staff Writer - NCAA
Future Considerations (http://www.futureconsiderations.ca/)
[And your humble DU Snoopy Tournament correspondent]

College Hockey Well-Represented In The Snoopy Tournament

Editor's Note: DJ Powers of Hockey's Future was in California last week covering the Snoopy Senior World Hockey Tournament. For the second straight year she agreed to write a series of articles for LetsGoDU about the DU Pioneers, an alumni team made up of former DU players from the Murray Armstrong era. We can't thank DJ enough for her outstanding coverage of the event.

The Tournament was founded by Peanuts creator Charles Schultz in 1975 and brings together hockey players between the ages of 40-75. (Video Link about Tournament)

Special to LetsGoDU

By DJ Powers

If it hasn’t been said already, it could be said here. “Old college hockey players never die. They just end up playing in the Snoopy’s Senior World Hockey Tournament.”

With teams spanning across North America, it is not surprising to see so many former collegians at this tournament each year. The University of Denver and the University of Michigan are the two teams that have brought along their respective programs’ names to the tournament, along with many of their former players. Many more college hockey programs have also been represented in the tournament over the years.

In this year’s tournament, among the schools represented by their former players include (aside from Denver and Michigan) the following:

Colorado College
Cornell University
Michigan State University
University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota-Duluth
University of North Dakota
Northeastern University
Princeton University
University of Wisconsin

by DJ Powers Staff Writer - NCAA
Hockey's Future (http://www.hockeysfuture,com/)
Future Considerations (http://www.futureconsiderations.ca/)
[And your humble DU Snoopy Tournament correspondent]

Friday, July 18, 2008

Magnuson's #3 To Be Retired By NHL Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks Website


The Chicgao Blackhawks announced today the former DU great Keith Magnuson's No. 3 will be retired to honor him and Hall of Famer Pierre Pilote who also wore the number.
The Chicago Blackhawks announced today the organization will retire jersey No. 3 in honor of defensemen Keith Magnuson and Pierre Pilote during the a 2008-09 regular season home game to be announced at a later date.

"In keeping consistent with honoring our past greats, the Blackhawks are proud to announce that we will be retiring the number three for two wonderful gentlemen," Blackhawks President John McDonough said. "The number three hanging in their honor will be a continuing memory to our fans and players on what it means to be a distinguished member of the Blackhawks family."

Magnuson spent 11 seasons in a Blackhawks uniform (1969-80), racking up 1,442 penalty minutes and 139 points (14 goals, 125 assists) in 589 career games, which includes captaining the squad for three years (1976-79). The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, native helped Chicago reach the postseason eight times, collecting 164 penalty minutes and 12 points (3 goals, 9 assists) in 68 career playoff outings.

Following his playing career, Magnuson served as Chicago’s head coach during the 1980-81 campaign before helping organize and serving as president of the Blackhawks Alumni Association. He passed away tragically in an automobile accident on Dec. 15, 2003, at the age of 56.

DU Beats Reno Aces In OT In Snoopy Tourney


Denver Pioneers 5 Reno Aces 4 OT

Special to LetsGoDU by DJ Powers

The opening game for the Denver Pioneers in the Snoopy’s Senior World Hockey Tournament on Thursday night needed overtime to be decided. Jim Wiste tallied two goals, including the game winner.

The Pioneers were without regulars Cliff Koroll and Ron Grahame this year due to prior commitments.

While the game started off a bit slow for Denver, they quickly established some good pressure in the Reno end.

At the 3:28, the Pioneers would draw the first penalty of the game when defenseman Wayne Smith was called for a hold. Denver successfully killed off the penalty.

At about the six and a half minutes into the period, Tom Miller gave Denver a glorious scoring opportunity when he went in on a breakaway but lost control of the puck by the time he had the chance to shoot.

The Pioneers continued to pressure and another great scoring opportunity came again about a minute later when Bill Goodacre was unable to get the puck by the Aces netminder.

While Denver had most of the scoring opportunities approaching the halfway point of the period, it would be Reno that would get on the board first. The Aces scored at the 9:50 mark when with a shot fired from the slot beat Pioneers goaltender Tom Jones.

Denver would continue to get some excellent scoring opportunities, but were unable to capitalize on them.

At the 13:45 mark, the Aces would be called for a hook, giving the Pioneers their first power play of the game. Exactly one minute into Reno’s penalty, defenseman Blake Emery would tally the unassisted equalizer for Denver when his shot bounced off of the Aces netminder’s pad and into the net.

As the period progressed the game began to open up a bit as Denver continued to dictate the tempo of the game.

At the 18:01 mark, Reno would once again take the lead when a high shot beat Jones for the score.

Denver came out with some good pressure to start the second period. About a minute and a half into the middle stanza, John MacMillan’s relentless drive to the net would draw Reno’s next penalty. The holding call came at the 1:53 mark, giving the Pioneers their second power play of the game.

Denver did an excellent job in moving the puck during this power play and it would pay off at the 5:08 mark. Jim Wiste tied the game after poking home the loose puck amid the mass of humanity in front of the Reno netminder. Don Cameron and defenseman Bob Peers would be credited with the assists.

One of the things that the Pioneers did very well throughout the game was having their defensemen involved in the offensive play. After Wiste’s goal, Denver continued to dominate both territorially and in puck possession.

At the 9:01 mark, Reno would once again regain the lead when a rebound was shot past Jones from just inside the right faceoff circle. The score was now 3-2 Reno.

The Aces nearly extended their lead at about the 10-minute mark when a bad Pioneers turnover led to a two-on-none situation. Fortunately for Denver, the puck looked to have rolled off of the stick of the Reno puck carrier before he could get a shot off.

At the 14:22 mark, Denver would once again knot things up with a goal by Pat Halas. The goal came as a result of a beautiful feed by Goodacre, who found Halas in the slot. Halas’ shot beat the Aces netminder just inside the near post for the score. Goodacre drew the lone assist.

At the 17:12 mark, Smith made his second trip to the penalty box when he was called for hold. One of the best power play opportunities came in the waning seconds of the period when a Reno player was attempting to fight off the coverage by Bill Pettinger. Pettinger did an outstanding job of tying up the stick of the Reno player to prevent him from getting at the loose puck.

The third period opened with Denver short-handed for the remaining 51 seconds of Smith’s holding call. While still shorthanded, the Pioneers generated a couple of good scoring chances. The best of which came just as the penalty was about to expire. Tom Miller fired a low shot through traffic that ended up going off of the post.

Denver stepped their pressure in the Reno zone after killing off the penalty. And their efforts would once again be rewarded at the 2:51. Wayne Wiste gave the Pioneers their first lead of the game when he tipped home Peter McEwen’s shot from the slot for the score, making it 4-3 Denver.

The Pioneers did an excellent job of maintaining puck control and in their forechecking in this period. And it would be two things that would frustrate the Aces for much of the remainder of the game.

At the 8:21 mark, Denver would get the opportunity to extend their lead when Reno was called for a trip. After successfully cashing in on their previous two opportunities, this time around the Pioneers had trouble getting their power play working, mainly due to passes not quite connecting.

The remaining 17 seconds of Denver’s power play would be negated when Pettinger would be called for a hook at the 11:32 mark.

The penalty would prove to be costly for the Pioneers. At the 14:04 mark, Reno tallied their first and only power play goal of the game off of a shot flipped up and over Jones for the score.

The Aces were given a chance to take the lead once again when Halas was called for a hook at the 15:04 mark. Denver would once again successfully kill of the Aces power play.

As the period and regulation time winded down, both team had some glorious opportunities that came in odd-man situation but neither was successful in finishing the plays.

At the 19:35 mark, McEwen nearly gave the Pioneers win but couldn’t beat the sprawling Reno netminder.

With the score tied a 4-4; the game went to overtime with no penalties carried over.

Denver came out as hard as they had finished regulation time. The Reno goaltender was clearly the busier of the two netminders in the extra session.

Jim Wiste would become the hero of the game at the 2:05 mark when he picked up the rebound and proceeded to flip a backhanded over the Aces netminder for the game-winner. Halas drew the lone assist.

Denver went 2-for-3 on the power play, while Reno went 1-for-4 on the power play.

Next up: Denver Pioneers vs. the Hodgepodge Elite on Saturday.


Official 2008 Denver Pioneers Roster (revised and updated)

Goaltender
#1 Tom Jones

Defensemen
#2 Wayne Smith (DU 1963-66)
#3 Bob Peers (DU 1963-66)
#4 Blake Emery
#5 Bob Brawley (Michigan State 1964-67)
#6 Peter McEwen

Forwards
#8 Tom Miller (DU 1967-69)
#9 Bill Goodacre (Colorado College 1958-62)
#11 Wayne Wiste (DU 1965-67)
#12 Don Cameron (DU 1964-67)
#14 Jim Wiste (DU 1966-68)
#15 Pat Halas
#16 John MacMillan (DU 1957-60)
#18 Bill Pettinger (DU 1969-71)
#19 Norm Kvern (DU 1964-65)


- DJ Powers Staff Writer - NCAA
Future Considerations (http://www.futureconsiderations.ca/)
[And your humble DU Snoopy Tournament correspondent]