Saturday, August 30, 2008

Republicans Play The "Hockey Mom" Card

(above) America's most famous Hockey Mom

Senator John McCain astonished the political world on Friday by naming Sarah Palin, a little-known governor of Alaska and self-described “Hockey Mom” as his running mate on the Republican presidential ticket.

If the Clinton's rode the backs of Soccer Moms to the White House, what other differences are there between Hockey Moms and Soccer Moms?
LetsGoDU's Soccer Mom vs. Hockey Mom Comparison

Soccer Mom: Democrat
Hockey Mom: Republican

Soccer Mom: Drives mini-van
Hockey Mom: SUV with 250,000 miles on it driving to tournaments

Soccer Mom: Spends $200 per year on youth sports
Hockey Mom: Spends $10,000 per year on youth sports

Soccer Mom: Barely watches game while gabbing with the gals about tomorrow's Mahjong get-together
Hockey Mom: Yells at ref and intimidates opposing players

Soccer Mom: Fools around with tennis pro at country club
Hockey Mom: Sleeps with kid's hockey coach to get son on #1 Power Play unit

Soccer Mom: Has white collar career at Honeywell
Hockey Mom: Has second job to help pay for Power Skating Camp in Summer

Soccer Mom: Hosts bake sale to raise money for team
Hockey Mom: Billets three extra kids to help pay second mortgage

Soccer Mom: Reads Vanity Fair in spare time
Hockey Mom: Has Blog, MySpace Page & Hockey's Future Message Board Thread about her hockey playing kid to attract scouts attention

Friday, August 29, 2008

Why DId NHL Scouts Miss The Boat On Stastny

(above) 43 players were drafted ahead of DU Alum Paul Stastny in the 2005 NHL Draft

Its not very often that we post comments from Message Boards, but the comment below was interesting, so we're passing it along.
From: How Does Stastny Slip To The 2nd round?
Site: Hockey's Future Message Board
Posted By: bleedgreen

"I watched him live quite a bit at the University of Denver and to be honest, he never looked like a stud prospect. He wasn't fast, he never went end to end, he rarely beat goalies with a shot further away than ten feet, he didn't dangle anyone.

Most players in the NCAA who go on to be at Stastny's level in the NHL, were far more dominant individual players in college. He got points for sure, but not very often through highlight reel individual efforts. I'm sure the scouts thought he was too slow and not dominant enough for his game to translate.

Why he did is because of one thing, smarts. He is the closest player I've ever seen to Ronnie Francis. He is always in the right place at the right time, and that translated, as well as his vision and awesome passing. He makes exactly the same plays he made in college, and they're the kind of plays that work at any level.

Scouts couldn't have known that, as I'm sure a lot of guys look like that at lower levels. Stastny is the rare case of a guy being smart enough to fit in with anyone at any level, the better the players around him the more it all works.

I'm curious to see his transition to #1 center continue as the players around him have helped out. As Sakic moves on and the Avs become "Stastny's team," I wonder if he can become more individually dominant. Hopefully the Avs keep enough skill around him to not worry about it.

After watching him in college, I didn't think he would ever be more than a third liner, despite racking points and being a very good player at DU. He just didn't look like he was dominant enough. Ironically guys like TJ Hensick [University of Michigan] are the ones who look like studs in college and don't reach the same levels. Hensick is a guy who relies on his skill and speed to get him there; it may not be enough. Whereas Stastny relied on brains and sound instincts.

Three DU Recruits Named To US Under-18 Team

From: Anchorage Daily News
by Doyle Woody

DU recruits defenseman William Wrenn of Anchorage, goaltender Adam Murray of Anchorage and forward Drew Shore of Denver on Thursday were named to play on USA Hockey's Under-18 squad in the organization's National Team Development Program this upcoming season.

All three players spent last season with the program's Under-17 team. They already have committed to playing college hockey at the University of Denver beginning in 2009.

Wrenn last season furnished seven assists in 63 games for the Under-17 squad. Murray went 8-9-2 with a 4.21 goals-against average and .868 save percentage.

Shore led the Under-17 Team with 25 assists last season, while ranking second on the team with 38 points. The forward also netted three shorthanded markers, good for second on the squad.

More than a dozen Alaskans, the vast majority from Anchorage, have played in the development program since it debuted in 1997. That group includes current Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Matt Carle, former NHL winger Barrett Heisten (retired) and winger Jason Ryznar, who also has played in the NHL.

DU's Recruiting Classes

2009
D William Wrenn (U.S. Under-18)
D Matt Donovan (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
D Paul Phillips (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
G Adam Murray (U.S. Under-18)
F Drew Shore (U.S. Under-18)
F Shawn Ostrow (Camose, AJHL) (or 2010 class)

2010
F Jason Zucker (U.S. Under-17)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wiercioch Readies Himself For Hockey Career

(above) Incoming Freshman Patrick Wiercioch has spent his life preparing for a shot in the NHL

From: Maple Ridge News
by Jeremy Shepard

It was a slash. Just one motion. A hockey stick ripped into his hand, and at only 16 years old, defenseman Patrick Wiercioch wondered if his career had just been taken away from him.

Wiercioch had never been sure he was going to make it to the NHL, but he knew it wasn’t supposed to end playing for the Omaha Lancers in the United States Hockey League.

Craig Millin, the man who taught Wiercioch how to skate when he was five years old, had always told Wiercioch that his outlet passes were going to make him $10 million a year someday. But Millin had also talked about the hockey clock, that limited amount of time a player has to harness all his skills and make a run for the NHL.

In that moment, Wiercioch wondered if his time was up.

Besides taking him out of the Lancers’ lineup for 20 games, the injury also furthered his sense of isolation.

“I had just moved away from home, and the only people I knew were the 23 guys I played with,” Wiercioch said.

He considered playing through the pain, but when a doctor told him that any further damage to the tendon in his thumb would leave him without full use of his hand, Wiercioch opted for surgery.

A year later, sitting in a Maple Ridge Tim Horton’s and reminiscing with Millin about draft day in Ottawa, the scar on his hand was the only reminder of the future that almost escaped him.

With a screw in his thumb, Wiercioch rejoined the Lancers and helped them earn the best regular-season record in the USHL. The defenceman then notched nine assists in a playoff run that ended with Omaha hoisting the Clarke Cup trophy after a 4-3 overtime victory over the Waterloo Black Hawks. Wiercioch netted third star honours in the game for setting up two goals and scoring another.

Three months later, the Ottawa Senators selected the 17-year-old Maple Ridge native 42nd overall.

“It was surreal,” he said. “I wasn’t ready for it.”

The draft weekend was full of moments no sane person could be ready for. The Florida Panthers met with Wiercioch, and immediately tried to engage him in macho head games.

“They said, ‘We don’t think you’re much of a skater, so when we ask you what your best at, we don’t want to hear skating,’ ” Wiercioch said, doing his best bad cop impersonation. Wiercioch said the interrogation also included the gem: “‘We don’t think you’re much of a hockey player.’”

There was also a strange moment after he was drafted when a representative from Upper Deck hockey cards insisted Wiercioch take off his Ottawa Senators jersey and put on their Ottawa Senators jersey.

“It’s just so they can say it’s a draft day worn jersey,” said Wiercioch.

For Craig Millin, the owner of RPM hockey and an instructor for more than 25 years, none of it was too surprising.

“He’s the most receptive, most committed kid I’ve ever coached,” said Millin.

With a near father-son bond, Millin and Wiercioch are joined by a love of hockey and a competitive nature as relentless as the villain in a horror movie.

“We used to skate lengths for hours,” Millin recalled. “And one time he put a cut on the bridge of my nose,” he said, laughing.

“I hate to lose,” Wiercioch said, a small smile lurking on his normally businesslike face.

Besides that competitive drive, Wiercioch attributes his success to his willingness to give everything to hockey.

“Not too many other kids sacrificed what I did,” Wiercioch said, as close to boastful as he seems to get.

“There’s hockey, academics, and a social life,” Millin agreed. “If you want to make it to the NHL, you have to choose two out of the three.”

When Wiercioch was 13, Millin took him on a five-day fishing trip to the Interior. It’s the only time in Wiercioch’s life he’s ever taken a trip without packing his skates.

“He would work on his weaknesses over and over,” said Millin. “Because in the end, it’s your weaknesses that get you.”

Wiercioch said his biggest deficiency is a lack of physical strength.

Two years ago, the defenceman showed up for his first year of junior hockey standing 6-1 and weighing 147 pounds. Because of his slight build, Wiercioch was forced to become more agile in order to cope with bigger, more physical players.

After watching Wiercioch being knocked around on the ice, Millin came up with an innovative training strategy to teach him how to shrug off hits.

While Wiercioch skated behind the net Millin would stand in the slot, ready to whip a soccer ball at his shoulder.

The moment the ball hit him Wiercioch would roll with the impact of the shot, brushing the soccer ball off.

“Then the soccer ball was too slow,” Wiercioch said.

Before long, Millin was hurling tennis balls at Wiercioch, and soon after Millin said Wiercioch became one of the most elusive players on the ice, even though at 6-4 and an only slightly gangly 187 pounds, Weircioch has now developed into a towering, if humble presence.

Last January, Wiercioch made a non-binding commitment to play for the University of Wisconsin Badgers in the elite NCAA first division, but a glut of blue line talent on the team meant he would likely not be a starter next season.

With the hockey clock ticking, Wiercioch decided instead to commit to the Badgers’ Western Collegiate Hockey Association rivals, the University of Denver Pioneers, this fall, where he’ll study business.

With the departure of defenceman David Carle, who was forced to retire from the game of hockey with a heart ailment, chances are good Wiercioch will net a ton of ice-time with the team.

However, Wiercioch only plans to stay for two years, to best take advantage of the window he’s earned into the NHL.

“If I stay for three years, I’ll be tempted to stay and finish my degree,” he said.

That leaves him just two years to get ready for the NHL, and Wiercioch is counting every second.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tyler Ruegsegger Featured On NHL.com


From NHL.com
By John McGourty, NHL.com Staff Writer


It's been a tough stretch in Toronto, where Leafs fans have seen their team miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the last three seasons. The team's roster is due for a shakeup, but it seems apparent from the offseason moves and from the comments of Director of Amateur Scouting Dave Morrison that the Maple Leafs won't not rush their prospects to the NHL.

Here's a look at the Maple Leafs' top prospects.

CENTERS

Tyler Ruegsegger -- Don't be surprised if the University of Denver wins the NCAA Frozen Four in one of the next two seasons. The reason: Team leader Tyler Ruegsegger wins everywhere he goes.

Ruegsegger led the Littleton (Colo.) Hawks AA PeeWees to the national championship in 2001, the first national title for a Colorado youth-hockey team. After that, he led Shattuck St. Mary's to a national title while playing with Taylor Chorney and Jonathan Toews. Ruegsegger then become one of six Coloradans on the University of Denver's roster and had 15 goals and 19 assists in 40 games as a freshman.

Named an alternate captain as a sophomore, Ruegsegger had a difficult season while battling an abdominal injury but still managed to post 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points in 31 games.

Ruegsegger appears to have added about 25 pounds since he was drafted in the sixth round (No. 166) in 2006. He weighed 170 then, but now is listed at 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds. That's good, because Morrison thinks he needs to be bigger and stronger to play center in the NHL.

Whatever message Morrison or Denver coach George Gwozdecky are trying to impart, Ruegsegger is likely to get it. He's one of the smartest hockey players in the NCAA, carrying a 3.8 grade-point average. "Tyler got hurt last year, an abdominal strain in the middle of the season," Morrison said. "Otherwise, he had a good year. He went to the World Junior tournament, which was good experience for him. I saw him play there. Tyler is a tenacious kid, a very good checker. He's the kind of player who wants to make things happen. He gets very involved."

WCH Ranks Three Of DU's American Recruits

Western College Hockey Blog's draft list of American players eligible for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, includes three DU recruits. 2009 recruits Drew Shore, William Wrenn & Paul Phillips made the list with Shore & Wrenn listed in the Top 10.

WCH just listed players that they've seen, so a few east coasters (such as John Henrion) that aren't listed and also left ogg the goalies to make things a simpler.

WCH called Shore, "A budding young power forward with excellent offensive skills" and Wrenn, "defensive defenseman, with an excellent shot from the point and can move the puck very effectively."

To see the entire list, details on Shore & Wrenn and comments from the peanut gallery
.

DU Alum JD Corbin Hopes To Move Up To AHL

(above) J.D. Corbin hopes to make the Colorado Avalanche's AHL affiliate this season

From: NHL.com

by Brian Compton


DU Alum J.D. Corbin was back in Colorado earlier this summer, but not to visit his family.

Left winger Corbin was born just outside of Denver and spent quite a few years near home before beginning his professional career. The 23-year-old was selected in the eighth round (No. 249) of the 2004 Entry Draft by the Colorado Avalanche.

Corbin was participating in the Avalanche’s Development Camp, which was held from July 9-16 at the Family Sports Center in Centennial, Colo. While plenty of time was spent by the players on the ice honing their skills, the main focus was to get guys like Corbin on the right path in terms of conditioning.

“They push us at the very beginning,” Corbin said. “They want us to learn. It’s not so much like a tryout week. They want to bring us in here and kind of start developing players at a young age. The big thing that I’ve learned is the off-ice stuff and what it takes to get to the next level and how to work out properly.”

Corbin appeared in 42 games for Lake Erie (AHL) in 2007-08, notching 3 goals and 6 assists. He had 9 points in 16 games for Johnstown (ECHL).

“I thought it was a pretty good season as far as getting my feet and learning what the game’s like and kind of adapting to the pro game,” Corbin said. “It’s sort of different from the college game. Getting used to that was a big part of last year. It was a good year for me personally. It was good to play down there.”

While most used college as an excuse to get away from home, Corbin stayed close with a four-year run at the University of Denver. His best season came in his junior year (2005-06), when he had 20 points (5 goals, 15 assists) in 38 games.

“Every year, you want to get better and shoot for the next level. That’s a goal of mine next year.” said Corbin

Corbin arrived in Denver after spending two seasons with the U.S. National Under-18 Team, when he spent a lot of time away from home. That all changed once he joined the college ranks.

“Everything fit,” Corbin responded when asked about his decision to stay close to home. “It’s a great program, great facility, it’s a great city. The coaches there are great. It was just a good fit for me. I played away from home for three years before that, so it was nice to come back home and play in front of my family.”

He’ll get to spend some more time at home before training camp opens in September, but once Tony Granato begins his second stint as Avalanche coach, it will be all business for Corbin. He is hopeful he can land a full-time job with Lake Erie this season.

“That’s what I’m hoping for,” Corbin said. “Every year, you want to get better and shoot for the next level. That’s a goal of mine next year.”

Alum Kevin Ulanski Signs With Colorado Eagles

From: Loveland Reporter-Herald
by Adam Dunivan

DU Alum Kevin Ulanski is coming back to Colorado, where some of his most memorable moments as a hockey player took place.

The former University of Denver Pioneer signed with the Colorado Eagles today, becoming the first non-returning player signed by the team for the 2008-09 season.

Ulanski has spent the last three seasons playing for the Elmira Jackals. This will be his first experience in the CHL, but he said he is looking forward to the return to the Centennial State.

“Getting back to Colorado is going to be awesome for me,” said Ulanski. “I loved every bit of it when I was in college, and now getting to play with the Eagles is going to be exciting. They always are competing for the championship, and I like to win.”

If Ulanski is used to one thing in hockey, it’s winning. Another savvy player, he has plenty of big-game experience. He was the assistant captain for the DU back-to-back championship teams, as well as the MVP of the UHL’s Colonial Cup Championship playoffs in 2006-07 while with the Rockford IceHogs.

His time in the AHL, considered the “AAA” of minor-league hockey, proved beneficial, and he hopes to get there again, but he is gearing his focus on helping the Eagles for now.

“My goal has always been to play in the (AHL) … and I’m not cutting out the chance at moving up again,” Ulanski said, “but I’m going to be by my family, and I’m going to try and win and have fun while I’m playing again.

“I like to think of myself as a reliable forward on both ends of the ice, I like to score goals and set up plays, but I also pride myself on defense and doing what it takes to win.”

Kevin McClelland also said Ulanski was a player the Eagles had been looking at for a while, and he has the versatility to fill many roles.

“He’s a guy that’s going to bring a lot of speed to our hockey club, and a lot of experience,” McClelland said. “Anytime you get someone that’s won championships, they know how much you have to sacrifice to get to that level.”

Ulanski will reunite with Erik Adams, and he also said he knows Scott Polaski quite well from playing against him while Polaski was at Colorado College.

In 217 career professional games as a winger, Ulanski has registered 125 points (45 goals, 80 assists). His best year statistically came in 2006-07, when he scored 66 points in 61 games. He also has averaged about a point per game in the postseason, scoring 22 points in two playoff stints.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Washington Capitals Blog Covers CC's "Curse"

The Washington Capitals themed On Frozen Blog has dubbed Colorado College's championship futility the "Mile High Hockey Curse" and linked our article from yesterday.

Murray Armstrong Article In Denver Post

(above) The statue of Murray Armstrong at the Ritchie Center

Adrian Dater has written a great article in today's Denver Post on former Pioneer Coach Murray Armstrong.

The Chief still plays a lot of golf and watches the Pioneers on TV. Check out the article
BEST QUOTE - "I think I was a good recruiter. When I'd check on a player and go to (his) teacher or coach and they'd say, 'He's a good student and a good player, but' . . . the minute they'd say 'but,' I lost interest. In the 21 years that I was at the University of Denver, I never once had to go to the police for anything that my players had done. That has pleased the daylights out of me."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Did CC President Unleash Curse On Hockey Team?

The crack research staff at LetsGoDU has spent the summer looking into reports that Colorado College's hockey program is actually under a "Curse" that would explain why they haven't won a National Championship since 1957.

A sports-related curse is the effective action of some power or evil, that is used to explain the failures or misfortunes of specific sports teams, players, or even cities.

DU graduate students throughly reviewed Wikipedia's List of Sports Curses to find similarities or clues to CC's misfortune. Sports Illustrated is considered by many to be a breeding ground of curses, so a bulk of the research was conducted on back issues of SI.

Last weekend our researches found two possible clues in the 3/10/1958 issue of Sports Illustrated. Just five days before the University of Denver would defeat North Dakota to win the 1958 National Championship, Colorado College's then president Dr. Louis T. Benezet, threatened to revamp his school's hockey program to "reduce the number of Canadians on CC's roster." Its interesting to note that Colorado College was the defending national champion at the time.

However the DU researchers point to March 1957, when Colorado College raised a question regarding the eligibility of three University of Michigan players—John Randall, Neill Buchanan and Wally Maxwell—all of whom were declared ineligible by the NCAA eligibility committee on the eve of the national tournament in Colorado Springs. CC would go on to defeat a shorthanded Michigan team in the championship game 13-6.

The hockey gods, obviously, were not amused.

Thanks to Canada, western college hockey is tops. Even so, some Americans object

by Barron Beshoar
March 10, 1958

After dropping a game 3-2 to the Minnesota Gophers in late December, Harvard Hockey Coach Cooney Weiland had some on-the-line things to say about the Wild-West style of play of the Western Intercollegiate Hockey League. In tones of deep-seated displeasure, Coach Weiland laid down: "It wouldn't be tolerated in the East. The way it was played Saturday night you might as well use picks and shovels for hockey sticks. No hockey player worth the name will complain about a legitimate body check in the open. But when they charge a guy into the fence, put elbows and sticks in his face, use threatening gestures, and molest a player when he doesn't have the puck, it is time to call a halt."

Weiland and his easterners are entitled to their indictment, but it is an opinion altogether wasted on the western hockey fans. Indeed, it is doubtful that he could have found even one sympathetic listener among the thousands that crowded into the University of Denver's big arena or the Broadmoor Ice Palace in Colorado Springs last weekend. To those screaming fans, the fierce, brawling Canadian-style hockey that put Denver's Pioneers and Colorado's Tigers in a three-way tie with North Dakota was the best collegiate hockey being played in the U.S. And, as they had no concern for the method of the game, they had none for the fact that nearly every player was the product of such places as Portage La Prairie in Manitoba and Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan. Unfortunately, however this last is resting uneasy with many league members. In January, the Big Ten members of the WIHL—Michigan, Michigan State and Minnesota—announced they were withdrawing from the league. Later, Michigan Tech said it was leaving too.

The dispute breaking up the seven-year-old league is primarily because all but one of the teams are almost wholly Canadian and they cannot exist without constant importations from north of the border. In addition, the league, composed of seven teams from five different conferences, has always been an unwieldy, synthetic affair, racked by distrust and dissatisfaction since it was born in 1951.

There is no doubt about Canadian domination. But there is also no doubt these young Canadians are entirely responsible for the superior brand of hockey played by western teams. The seven teams have 150 players certified for eligibility, and of this number 109 are Canadians and 41 are listed as American. And certainly, some of these latter may have stepped across the line fairly recently to such places as International Falls, Minn. The University of Denver has 17 Canadians and one American; Colorado College has 18 Canadians and one American; North Dakota has 13 Canadians and three Americans; the University of Michigan has 17 Canadians and one American; Michigan State has 18 Canadians and eight Americans; Michigan College of Mining and Technology has 23 Canadians and two Americans. The University of Minnesota , coached by John Mariucci, an American who has been critical of the league and its Canadian domination, has but three Canadians and 19 Americans. Mariucci is among those who feel that many of the Canadian players have more at stake than college competition and that the WIHL may be in a sense a farm league for pro hockey. In a recent statement Mariucci summed it up: "You can't tell me that some players have not gone to professional tryout camps and had their expenses paid."

Actually, the incident that triggered the Big Ten withdrawal occurred in March 1957, when Colorado College raised a question regarding the eligibility of three Michigan players—John Randall, Neill Buchanan and Wally Maxwell—all of whom were declared ineligible by the NCAA eligibility committee on the eve of the national tournament in Colorado Springs . There were threats then to break up the league. Big Ten policymakers, who had not paid too much attention to hockey, took a long look at the WIHL and decided it was not for them. There were a number of other reasons: the difference in size and prestige of the schools, constantly mounting pressure for more American players, lack of league leadership and finally a Big Ten rule which provides that a player who is over 19 when he matriculates loses one year of competition for each year he is past 19. Interestingly enough, the rule applies only to foreign-born students.

Denver, Colorado College, Michigan Tech and North Dakota, where hockey is a major winter attraction and hence a high-revenue sport, feel that the age rule is aimed straight at their use of Canadian players.

The University of Denver's dapper 41-year-old Coach Murray Armstrong, a veteran of 10 years of professional hockey with New York, Syracuse and Detroit and coach of the Regina team in the Western Canada Junior Hockey League for nine years, was indignant about the Big Ten rule. When it was brought up, he said angrily:

"The usual reason for an age rule is to protect younger boys from more mature players. But in this case the Big Ten wants to protect players only from mature foreign students. If an American student is older that is quite all right. We just cannot go along with this type of discrimination at all. If the rule were applied to all sports and to Americans as well as foreign students we would be glad to comply. Western League hockey is top-grade hockey because we do have Canadian players. Our players are attending the University of Denver because they want educations. They are good students, and they are not here just to play hockey. But they are good players; most have been playing since they were children."

Armstrong's counterpart at Colorado College this year, Coach Tom R. Bedecki, 28, a husky 6-foot-2, 200-pound native of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia , resigned a couple of days after Michigan Tech withdrew and said he would probably return to school for an advanced degree when his current coaching assignment ends. He agrees with Armstrong that Canadians are a necessity and that their presence in force in the Western League has provided followers of the game with a better brand of hockey than that offered in the East.

"Canadians are better hockey players than Americans, not because they are better athletes, but because they are trained in it from childhood, just as many American boys play baseball from the time they are small," he said. "You don't find in this country a sandlot type of hockey, and not many American high schools offer hockey as a sport. Where they do, a boy usually gets to play about 20 games a year for three years. When he comes to college he has played maybe 60 games. But the Canadian boys start playing as young as seven or eight. There are a number of different divisions for youngsters, and finally they play five years of competitive hockey at the rate of about 40 games a year. When they come to us, they have had about 200 games under their belts. They know how to play hockey."

The Canadians are recruited by U.S. colleges in several ways. Sometimes Canadian players read or hear about the exploits of one of the schools and write the coach, asking if they can enroll. Also, during spring vacations, the U.S. coaches travel to Canada to watch the Canadian playoffs in the hope of spotting talent. And Canadian junior teams are regularly brought into the U.S. for games with U.S. teams which provide the coaches a chance to do some scouting on their home ice. Finally, alumni in Canada watch for good prospects and pass the word on to the coaches.

"We have had to have the Canadian players to provide first-class hockey," Coach Bedecki explains. "It has been a two-way street. The fans have wanted good hockey, and the Canadians have given it to them. In their turn, the Canadians have enjoyed the enthusiasm and the support given hockey in this league. For example, a few days ago an American attendance record for a college arena was set when 17,430 fans watched two games between Minnesota and North Dakota in Minneapolis ."

Most of the U.S. schools have their own rinks and artificial ice. They have heavy investments and some of them—for example, the University of Denver—are carrying a large part of their athletic programs on the proceeds from hockey.

In Grand Forks, the fans are even hotter than in the Denver and Colorado Springs areas. Upwards of 5,000 of the town's 34,000 citizens have been regularly jamming into the North Dakota team's antiquated winter sports building to watch the Nodak games. Typical of the enthusiasm being shown is the story of the doctor who had to leave a North Dakota-Denver game in the second period to deliver a baby in a Grand Forks hospital. He and the new father, a little out of wind, made it back in time to see most of the third period.

Denver Coach Armstrong has some faint hopes that the WIHL may find some way of holding together when the WIHL and NCAA hockey rules committees hold their meetings in St. Paul in mid-March. Denver has a big investment and a money raiser to protect. It is Armstrong's hope that a four-team league composed of Denver, Colorado College, North Dakota and a fourth school, possibly the Duluth branch of Minnesota, might be able to carry on a balanced program, but most of those connected with the league consider it a deceased duck.

Colorado College is itself seriously considering withdrawing from the league and may so announce within a week or so. Dr. Louis T. Benezet, president of the college, would like to revamp his school's hockey program to get a more representative team. Said a college official: "We couldn't throw out our Canadians by any means, but we'd like to de-emphasize hockey, get it back on a more amateur basis."

Though college presidents may worry, the fan does not. He likes the sort of hockey he has been getting. One Denver fan put it this way: "All I care about is for our Canadians to beat their Canadians. I don't care where the players come from."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mannino and Skinner Reunited With Islanders

(above ) Peter Mannino

(above) Brett Skinner

From NY Islanders Website
By Kimber Auerbach

The hockey world is a small one. There are only 30 NHL teams with approximately 22 roster spots, but the connections with the minor and amateur leagues, whether you're playing college, junior or semi-pro, run deep. Members of the Denver University National Championship team of 2005—defenseman Brett Skinner and goaltender Peter Mannino—will be re-united this fall at Islanders Training Camp in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Islanders' General Manager Garth Snow was intent on helping the defensive structure of the organization, and signed both Skinner and Mannino earlier this summer.

"I was really excited to see that he signed with the Islanders on the same day," Mannino said. "I sent him a text message right away when the signings were announced saying how excited I was to play with him again."

The two prospects have not been teammates since that 4-1 victory against North Dakota in the National Championship game on April 9, 2005, in Columbus, Ohio. Mannino was a freshman goaltender, leading the Pioneers to its second trophy in as many years and was named the Frozen Four's most Outstanding Player, making 85 saves throughout the tournament. In the third period of the contest, Skinner got on the scoresheet when he assisted on Denver's third tally, putting the game out of reach.

"I had the privilege to win two championships back-to-back which is something that not many people get to go through," Skinner said. "It really helped in my development and having the experience I feel has really helped my professional career."

Skinner is entering his fourth professional season after a career year with the Providence Bruins last season. For Providence, Skinner scored 47 points (7 goals, 40 assists) to lead all Bruins defensemen.

"Joining Providence and the Boston organization was a new situation for me," Skinner said. "The coaching staff gave me the opportunity to play on the power-play and put me in situations that really helped my personal numbers."

Those impressive numbers earned Skinner a spot on the Canadian AHL All-Star team, along-side Islanders forward Jeff Tambellini. In Tambellini's Mic'ed Up video on Sound Tigers TV, the two shared a lengthy conversation with Skinner explaining his plus-minus rating and how he would have Tambellini's back during the All-Star Game.

The experiences that Skinner has had throughout his first three seasons are what he hopes to rub off on his former netminder. "We have spoken a little about playing at this level but not much because he is such a confident kid who works extremely hard," Skinner said. "We kidded about some of the inside jokes we had from Denver but overall I'm really happy to skate with him again."

That work ethic and determination are what helped Mannino lead his team as a freshman to glory and is what he hopes to carry over to the next part of his career in the professional ranks.

"This is a whole new challenge for me," Mannino said. "The guys in the pros have incredible skills and are at a whole new level."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Is Colorado College Recruiting Underage Freshmen?

(left) Questions have been raised about the ages of Colorado College latest recruits

The WCHA has ordered an investigation into mounting allegations that Colorado College hockey adminsitrators are covering up the true age of their Freshmen recruiting class because they are too young to compete.

A WCHA official told LetsGoDU that because of "discrepancies" that have come to light about the age of Colorado College's recruiting class, an official inquiry has been launched that could result in CC being stripped of scholarships.

The investigation was triggered as a DU computer expert claimed yesterday to have uncovered Canadian government documents that he says prove many of the incoming Freshmen are only 16 - making them ineligible to compete in the NCAA - rather than 18, as officials in Colorado Springs insist are their age.

Mike Walker, a computer security expert, told LetsGoDU how he tracked down two documents that he says had been removed from a college hockey recruiting website.

There were also concerns about their mental health, because of the pressure of competing in the NCAA playoffs at such a young age, and that they were vulnerable to exploitation and even physical abuse by CC's coaches. Not to mention the pressure of trying to win CC's first National Championship in 52 years.

"They are obviously kids," WCHA Commissioner Bruce McLeod said. "15, 16 max - and they’re telling the world they are 18? What arrogance." Although DU has deliberately steered clear of the controversy, McLeod suggested the CC players were still losing their baby teeth. "One of the players has a missing tooth," he said.

Yet Giselle Davies, an NCAA spokesperson, said tonight that because of troubling new developments, the committee had instructed the WCHA, to investigate.

"More information has come to light that did point to discrepancies," Ms. Davies said. "We have asked the WCHA to look into it further. If there is a question mark, and we have a concern - which we do - we ask the conference to look into ... as to why there is a discrepancy."

The man who uncovered the allegations about the underage athlete, told LetsGoDU that he was not even a sports a fan, but decided to investigate the issue to determine if Colorado College authorities were lying. He eventually discovered two Excel spreadsheets on Chris Heisenberg's List of 2008 Recruits, that mentioned their names had recently being removed.

"There was a conclusion here," Mr Walker said. "These documents existed, on a nationwide recruiting website, and now they don’t exist, and this change has taken place recently. I was interested because these were documents that no-one could find. If there’s information to be found on the internet I’m a citizen journalist - it was a challenge."

He turned to a Canadian search engine, Slapshot.com. In its cache he found both documents. "The listing in there, quite clearly, their birth dates," Mr Walker said.

Colorado College officials responded immediately by providing LetsGoDU with Canadian passports, but still doubts lingered, not least because the athletes look barely past puberty.

Friday, August 22, 2008

James "JJ" Johnston Memorial Service

There will be a memorial service for the DU community and general public to remember the late Professor James "JJ" Johnston on September 6, 2008 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. The service will be held in Magness Arena, with a reception following in the Gold Club/Gottesfeld Room.

Guests are asked to wear DU colors of crimson and gold in commemoration of JJ's enthusiasm and support for the University.

Parking: Specific parking instructions to come.

Special Accommodations: Guests requiring special accommodations should please contact Haven Smith at 303.871.4517

Please visit http://www.daniels.du.edu/JJ for updates and to share your remembrances.

Hockey Season Begins For DU Recruit

(above) Shawn Ostrow is expected to be one of the top college bound players in Alberta this season

2009 (or 2010) DU recruit Shawn Ostrow begins his hockey season on Saturday as the Alberta Junior Hockey League's exhibition season kicks off. Ostrow's defending League Champion Camrose Kodiaks host the Spruce Grove Saints.

Ostrow was one of the top rookies in the AJHL last season with 31 goals and 42 assists in 78 games. Ostrow is the younger brother of DU sophmore Kyle Ostrow.

The Kodiaks regular season will officially begin on Friday, September 5th, 2008.

News & Notes From Around The DU Universe

I think this would officially qualify as a slow news day...

Mark Seidel of The Hockey News isn't all that impressed with Joe Colborne.
As soon as the Bruins took our whipping boy, Joe Colborne, with the 16th overall pick we knew they weren’t going to be rated highly in this report. However, Colborne does have the tools to become an NHL stud if he figures it out. His indifferent play all year drove us crazy, but his skills are undeniable. For the Bruins’ sake, we hope he puts it all together at Denver University over the next four years.
A mid-rise apartment building is going to be constructed near the University of Denver light rail station and Magness Arena.

A memorial service for DU Professor Emeritus James “JJ” Johnston will be held Sept. 6, 10–11:30 a.m., in Magness Arena.

DU opens a new dorm today and guess what, more copper.
One of the structure’s distinguishing characteristics is a 24,000-pound, cone-shaped copper cover for a tower, which matches other copper enhancements throughout the campus. Energy-efficient design elements include low water-use faucets and shower heads, dual-flush toilets and windows that open.
The DU women's soccer team opens its season today.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

PioneerVision To Televise DU Hockey-For A Fee

The DU Athletics Website provides details of PioneerVision hockey coverage for the 2008-09 season. DU will offer 10 live webcasts of hockey in its fall lineup announced today.

PioneerVision is located on the front page of www.DenverPioneers.com and is subscription based. PioneerVision costs $8.95 monthly or $59.95 for the entire 2008-08 sports calendar. In other words, about $6 per hockey game if you buy the yearly subscription.

To check out a free demo of PioneerVision and to see DU's 2007-08 Hockey Highlights go to DU's Media Player.

PioneerVision 2008-09 Hockey Schedule
Oct. 4 - Alberta 7 p.m. (Exhibition)
Oct. 11 - Notre Dame 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 - Wisconsin 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 - Ohio State 7 p.m.
Nov. 7 - Minnesota Duluth 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 8 - Minnesota Duluth 7 p.m.
Nov. 21 - Minnesota 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 22 - Minnesota 7 p.m.
Nov. 28 - Colgate 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 29 - Air Force 7 p.m.

CSU D-1 Hockey Movement Hits Roadblock

The CSU Hockey Petition Movement hit a stumbling block yesterday when the organizer, Brett Tatman, met with Colorado State Athletic Department officials. Although the meeting netted an expected result, the excuse proffered by the CSU brass rings hollow with college athletics observers.

There are plenty of schools such as the University of Texas and other college sports super-powers, who have unbelievable support and yet they aren't adding new sports, much less hockey. There is something rotten in Denmark and we are heading towards a day when college athletics is nothing more than "club sports" and a very few "professional sports."

D-1 athletic departments are averaging a $3.3 million deficit and until and unless skyrocketing football expenditures, Title IX compliance and "facility arms race" issues are rectified, many sports are going to be relegated to club status.

The release from the CSU Hockey Petition Website:
UPDATE 08/19/08:
As many of you already know, I spoke with the Athletic Director and Associate Athletic Director today. First and foremost, I want to say that both Paul and Mike are great guys and straight shooters and I appreciate that. Second, it is a very difficult time to be adding a sport (any sport) to the current line-up of programs at CSU.

That said, I am not very easily dissuaded from the task at hand and I will be working on a strategy moving forward. One of the best things we can do is to help the athletic department bring their existing programs up to a world-class level. When their existing sports are performing, they are more receptive to adding other sports. We also will be determined to keep our momentum and our cause in front of the Athletic Department, so that when the time is right for adding a sport, ice hockey will be at the forefront.

In order to accomplish that goal, I will need to formalize our efforts into some sort of organization. If you are interested in contributing to this as yet unamed organization please visit here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

David Carle To Become Student Assistant Coach

From: NHL.com
by Mike Morreale

The sudden end to the playing career of 18-year-old David Carle has presented a path to a new beginning as the newly appointed student assistant coach at the University of Denver.

In June, Carle was prematurely forced from the game he began playing as a 4-year-old after receiving word he was suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a thickening of the heart that results in sudden cardiac death with overexertion.

"It's only been a few months since I learned about the condition and I really haven't formulated any sort of plan on what I'm going to do, but I do know I want to educate other athletes and the importance of getting checked out," Carle told NHL.com.

Despite the condition, diagnosed one day before the 2008 Entry Draft in Ottawa, the Tampa Bay Lightning selected Carle in the seventh round (No. 203 overall) of the 210-player draft. He had no indication he would be selected, particularly when his family advisor notified all 30 teams of his condition on the eve of the draft.

"(Tampa Bay co-owner) Oren (Koules) called and told me I worked too hard in my life to not get drafted and he just said to worry about staying healthy," Carle recalled. "He told me he drafted me more for the person I am."

Additionally, University of Denver ice hockey coach George Gwozdecky informed the Carle family the school would still honor his scholarship and make him part of the team.

"He'll be a student assistant coach, a position that is still evolving here at the university," Gwozdecky told NHL.com. "He'll have sessions with fellow student-athletes during and after practices and, on occasion, attend coaches meetings and plan and coordinate practices. I will not put him in a position to critique fellow players, but I do want him to listen in and learn the process and, maybe, a few years down the road, he'll be able to offer opinion."

In addition to assisting the coaching staff, Carle will also be a contributing writer for the university's web site and ESPN.com. He'll use that platform to enlighten all athletes of his condition and its consequences.

According to Gwozdecky, the team's head coach for 15 seasons, Carle's situation is unique in that the university has never had a scholar-athlete forced into retirement before even stepping foot on campus.

"I've seen situations where, during an athlete's tenure at the school, he was injured and sidelined and we still honored the scholarship, but this marks the first time I can recall when a young man was forced to retire before the start of his freshman year," Gwozdecky said. "There was never any question about us honoring his scholarship. This is something we all know David could handle since he has that type of personality and courage."

According to Carle's 23-year-old brother Matt, who, as a senior at the University of Denver, won the Hobey Baker Award as the top collegiate player in 2006 and now plays for the Lightning, his little brother personifies courage.

"I think over the last three years the transformation he had made in his game was unbelievable," Matt told NHL.com. "Once he figured out what it took to improve his game, he really began dedicating so much time to it. He worked out with me every day, went on a good nutritional program and turned himself into an elite athlete. That's why having everything come to an end was so unfair.

"It's great knowing that he will be using his time to educate others about HCM since not too many people know about it," Matt said. "If you can catch it early enough, perhaps it'll make a difference as it did with Dave."

Gwozdecky still remembers the first time he saw David Carle on the ice.

"I first saw David play three years ago, when he was a sophomore at Shattuck-St. Mary's," Gwozdecky said. "The thing that popped out in my mind and what I marveled at was that fact that if you didn't know it was David Carle on the ice, his skating style and movements were so very close to his older brother. He matured and progressed so well."

Carle went from No. 74 to No. 60 on Central Scouting's final report for North American skaters as word spread how eerily similar his style of play was to Matt's. As such, he was invited to participate in the NHL's Scouting Combine in Toronto last June.

It was there that Carle, like all other invitees to the Combine, underwent a series of medical and fitness evaluations during which an abnormal EKG indicated undiscovered problems. The medical staff encouraged Carle to be checked out further, which ultimately revealed his heart condition while at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

"There's a 50-percent chance of inheriting the condition genetically, but since no other person in my family suffers from it (after being checked), it appears it's not genetic in my case," Carle said. "Basically, this is a thickening of the heart wall, in the apex where the chambers meet, that limits the volume of blood my heart can pump and hold. The risk of sudden death is caused from an adrenaline rush and fluctuating heart rate. While my heart cannot get any thicker than it is now, the risk is just too great.

"The symptoms are overlapping from other things and are fairly minor and, oftentimes, the first symptom you show is your last. It's very hard to detect so you need to be proactive about it."

Gwozdecky is glad that Carle, who'll leave for the University of Denver later this month, is determined to get his message across.

"I think it's great he's willing to come out and want to help others who might have this malady, but who aren't aware of it," he said. "If his message could help someone else, then that's the greatest gift."

Former athletes who have died as a result of HCM include basketball stars Hank Gathers of Loyola Marymount (1990) and Reggie Lewis of the Boston Celtics (1993), figure skater Sergei Grinkov (1995) and University of Massachusetts swimmer Greg Menton (1996).

Matt Laatsch Named Assistant Coach In AHL

(left) Matt Laatsch will be an assistant coach with a new team next season next season

From: Hockey Fights.com


The Anaheim Ducks announced today that the National Hockey League (NHL) club has named Gord Dineen head coach of the Iowa Chops, Anaheim’s primary development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL). In addition, the Ducks named DU Alum Matt Laatsch assistant coach at Iowa.

Laatsch, 28 (8/19/80), served as one of two assistant coaches in Portland last season, where the team advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals of the Calder Cup Playoffs. Prior to joining the Ducks organization, Laatsch was an assistant coach at the University of Denver during the 2006-07 season. Laatsch was a member of both University of Denver teams that won back-to-back NCAA National Championships in 2004 and 2005.

Gord Dineen is the brother of former DU players Shawn & Kevin Dineen.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

CSU D-1 Hockey Movement Making Progress

Sign The Petition

Colorado State University alum Brett Tatman has made progress in his quest to bring NCAA Division I hockey to his alma mater. Over 850 people have signed the Petition that will be presented to the powers that be at CSU.

Today Tatman will meet with CSU's AD Paul Kowalczyk and Associate AD Mike LaPlante. Let's hope CSU doesn't put the kibosh on "The Movement."

Tateman's Website includes several interesting features including a timeline of his progress, a section to sign the Petition, links to pertinent websites and a message board. Check out the site.

Included below is the Timeline. We've highlighted several points of interest.

07/29/08
- Petition created.
07/31/08 - First Day of Petition - 200 signatures and counting. Keep it going.
07/31/08 - I will be meeting with the Athletic Director at CSU in the next 2 weeks.
08/01/08 - 380 signatures and counting. Keep forwarding this web address to everyone.
08/03/08 - Had a complaint about throwing Nebraska under the bus, so changed homepage.
08/03/08 - A big thanks to NCYH and Mountain States Youth Hockey for their help.
08/04/08 - 527 signatures and counting. Talked with CSU's Associate AD. Open to the idea.
08/05/08 - A thanks to Jamie O'Leary for getting the petition to Highland Hills, Boulder, YMCA
08/06/08 - 621 signatures so far. Thanks to Joel Cantalamessa at RamNation for the help.
08/07/08 - Meeting with Paul Kowalczyk (AD) and Mike LaPlante (Assoc. AD) on Tues. the 19th.
08/12/08 - 700 signatures and counting.
08/13/08 - Coloradoan will be doing an article on the petition. Either tomorrow or Friday.
08/13/08 - Thanks to Denise and Tara at Citizen Print for the logo design.
08/15/08 - Read the article in the Coloradoan here.
08/15/08 - 789 signatures. Big props to Sean Duff at the Coloradoan for the article.
08/15/08 - Set up meeting with David Tenzer (Director of Hockey Operations at Denver Univ.)
08/15/08 - Contacted by Frank Anzalone (ex D1 and pro coach). Interested in helping.
08/17/08 - 847 signatures.
08/18/08 - A big thanks to Damien Goddard at LetsGoDU Blog. Thanks for the leads.
08/18/08 - DU Head Coach George Gwozdecky signs the petition.
08/18/08 - Colorado Hockey Insider will be running a piece in their Sept. Issue.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Joe Colborne Breaks 200 lb. Barrier

(left) Is Joe Colborne on the "Phelps 12,000 Calorie Diet?"

From: Boston.com
by Kevin Paul Dupont

Joe Colborne, the Bruins' top pick in the June draft, has already posted some impressive numbers this summer.

"I'm happy to say, for the first time in my life, I'm over 200 pounds," said Colborne, reached late last week while he was in the midst of wrapping up a family vacation in British Columbia. "Pretty neat, and I feel a lot stronger."

Colborne's weight gain has been managed through workouts and a high-protein diet. He is some 10 pounds heavier than when he reported to the Wilmington development camp at the start of July, and 10-12 pounds heavier than when he began his final year of junior hockey last fall. Ideally, he says, he'll be around 220 when he launches his NHL career (perhaps as early as 2009-10).

"You look at some of the bigger guys now, like [Joe ] Thornton and [Vinny] Lecavalier, they're both pretty thick," he said. "But when they were 18 years old, they weren't all that thick. Now they're up around 220-230. That's where I'd like to be, eventually, and maybe 205 by the time this season starts."

Colborne will be front and center in the University of Denver lineup for 2008-09. He will return to his home in Calgary this week, continue workouts with an assortment of NHLers (Rhett Warrener and Cory Sarich among them) and fly to Denver Aug. 31 to begin school. Practices begin almost immediately, as do classes. His courses will include US history, calculus, English, and one or two on finance.

He also plans to be inside the Pepsi Center the night of Oct. 9 when the Bruins kick off their 2008-09 campaign against the Colorado Avalanche.

"Yeah, how crazy is that?" said Colborne. "Hopefully, I'll be there to watch the guys get their first win of the year."

Hockey News Ranks CC's Logo "Worst In WCHA"

(left) Colorado College's tiger seen here without "Blackface," ranked 10th in the WCHA by The Hockey News

When the prestigious Hockey News comments about Colorado College, its usually just a blurb about another playoff collapse or an under sized CC forward has been selected in the 7th Round of the NHL Draft.

Needless to say LetsGoDU was pleased to see that The Hockey News called out Colorado College's logo this weekend.

Hockey News Quote
"True, they’re one of the oldest teams in NCAA hockey and their logo reflects it, but it’s not the best tiger in the world."

Chris Butler Profiled On NHL.com

(above) Chris Butler is expected to play for the AHL Portland Pirates this season under coach & former DU player Kevin Dineen

From: NHL.com

Former DU player Chris Butler, a native of St. Louis, chose the University of Denver because he thought he could learn from defense-playing upper classmen Matt Carle and Brett Skinner. He became the Pioneers' 34th All-American selection last season when his three goals and 14 assists led Denver back to the NCAA Tournament. He led the Pioneers with 110 shots.

Butler weighed 170 pounds when Buffalo drafted him in the fourth round (No. 96) in 2005 but reportedly added 30 pounds by his sophomore year. He has a knack for excellent plus-minus numbers. He led the USHL in 2005 at plus-36 and was plus-9 and plus-10 in his last two seasons in Denver.

"Chris is another guy that is going to play in the NHL," pro scout Jon Christiano said. "We expect great things. He has speed, power and awareness. Chris thinks like a defenseman and he has a good skill set. He's a lot like his former Denver University teammate, Matt Carle. He's in great shape. He's a great physical fitness guy with very little body fat at 198 pounds.

"This is his third development camp with us, and he has always been very athletic. His quickness and power rank at the top of our list. We can't ask for much more than that."

NHL.com Profiles Brock Trotter

(left) Brock Trotter

From: NHL.com

Former DU player Brock Trotter, 21, is an interesting pickup for the Montreal Canadiens organization and a player whose size and ability to rebound from serious injury was questioned by teams and scouts when he went undrafted in 2005 and 2006. He was a star for the Dauphin Kings of the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League and then had a strong 2004-05 season for the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League. That got him into the University of Denver, where he played only five games his freshman season after severing his Achilles tendon in a game against North Dakota.

Trotter had 16 goals and 40 points in 40 games for Denver as a sophomore and moved into a leadership role last year. But after posting a team-high 13 goals and 31 points in 24 games, he left the Pioneers for reasons never explained. He first tried to return to Lincoln, then signed with Montreal and was assigned to Hamilton, where he had three goals and nine points in 21 games.

"Brock was a free agent who has really come along," Timmins said. "He was one of the most improved players at development camp. He has added some size and strength and has bettered his shot. Like Ben Maxwell, Brock is a smart play-maker. He's also a good person who comes from a good family. Brock was on our draft list and our scout visited his family before the draft. We knew the player and the person. When he indicated he was coming out of college and turning pro, we were Johnny-On-The-Spot."

DU Professor Loved Hockey, DU & The Law

(left) Jim"JJ" Johnson taught over 30,000 students over his 60 year career at the University of Denver

From: Denver Post
by Virgina Culver


Jim Johnston, who taught an estimated 30,000 business-law students during 60 years at the University of Denver, died of cancer Aug. 6. He was 86.

A memorial at DU is planned Sept. 6, but the time and location haven't been determined.

Johnson "was a favorite teacher to a lot of people," said Jim Wiste, a former student and now owner of the Campus Lounge north of DU.

"He loved teaching and he loved the law. His door was always open, and everyone went to him for advice," Wiste said.

Johnston rarely forgot students because he kept seating charts for years, as well as index cards carrying students' names and other information.

And they didn't forget him.

JJ, as many people called Johnston, was entertaining, often wearing a half-mask on Halloween, said Alan Hendrix, who shared a suite of law offices with Johnston. But he "had a bombastic style. If someone nodded off in class he'd slam a textbook on the person's desk. Bam! The student would practically fly out of his seat."

"He thought law was most important in life," said his wife, Jean. "And he had the luxury of doing two things he wanted to do: He taught law classes in the morning and several nights a week, and practiced law during the day.

"He didn't harbor incompetence," said his wife, and always told students that he didn't grade on the curve — they had to earn the grade.

He also told students the previous years' exams were on file and he would use the same questions. "But each year I change the answers," he'd say.

Johnston became famous for his Good Friday lectures in which he summarized the trial of Jesus. He portrayed Jesus as a "rabble rouser who had been mistreated," said Jean Johnston, and painted the trial as "unfair."

Besides the law, Johnston loved hockey and rarely missed DU hockey games. Many times a year he and his wife would entertain hockey, soccer or ice skating students for apple pie. But the reason for the gatherings was to give the students a review of the class sessions they had missed while playing games out of town.

"I made quite a few apple pies," Jean Johnston said.

James J. Johnston was born Dec. 29, 1921, in Estherville, Iowa, and earned his law degree at the University of Iowa.

He came to Colorado in 1945, hoping the dry climate would alleviate his asthma. He got a typewriter and rented a small office near the DU business school, then in downtown Denver.

He began teaching part-time at DU and was told by the man who was dean of both the law and business schools that it would be wiser to teach in the business school, freeing him to have students as clients.

He and his wife were married May 4, 1948. The two met on a blind date and "he misled me into thinking he liked late-night jazz places and good coffee," said Jean Johnston. It worked in keeping up her interest in him, but "he had no passion for jazz," she said, laughing.

Johnston retired from law practice five years ago and from DU two years ago. But the school hired him back as a fundraiser.

In addition to his wife, Johnston is survived by his daughter, Jennifer Duniphan of Denver, five grandchildren and his sister, Elaine Burket of Kansas City, Mo. He was preceded in death by his two sons, Jeffrey Johnston and Jay Johnston.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Phillips Nets Game Winning Goal Against Swiss

(left) DU recruit Paul Phillips netted the biggest goal of his career on Saturday for Team USA

From: USA Hockey.com

DU 2009 recruit Paul Phillips (Darien, Ill.) tallied the game-winning goal with less than seven minutes to go in the game against Switzerland. With a delayed penalty coming against Switzerland, the U.S. pulled goaltender Casey DeSmith in favor of an extra attacker, and Phillips scored on a shot off the post to account for the 6-5 final.

With the victory the U.S. Under-18 Select Team finished in 7th place at the 2008 Under-18 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament. Caleb Herbert, who scored two goals, was named Team USA's Player of the Game.

"It's good to see the guys find a victory in a difficult game and end the tournament on a strong note," said former DU assistant and Team USA Head Coach Seth Appert (Albany, N.Y.). "We knew we were playing in a tremendously difficult bracket, so it is great to end it with a win."

Herbert opened the game's scoring when his wrist shot from the high slot beat Swiss netminder Remo Trub through the legs with Team USA on the power play at 12:06. Switzerland scored twice before Herbert tallied his second of the game, knocking in a long pass from Collin Bowman (Littleton, Colo.) at 17:44, to tie the game, 2-2.

After Switzerland took the lead at 8:02 of the second frame, Steven Whitney (Wakefield, Mass.) scored on an across-the-crease pass from Christopher McCarthy (Collegeville, Pa.) at 9:16 to again tie the game for Team USA. Switzerland a 4-3 lead at 11:31 before Brendan Rempel (Willington, Conn.) knocked the puck out of the air and into the back of the Swiss net at 14:28 to knot the game at four. Nick Oliver (Wannaska, Minn.) re-directed a slapshot from Bowman at 17:31 to give the U.S. a 5-4 advantage after 40 minutes.

Switzerland scored at 8:41 of the third, before Phillips' heroics talling the game-winning goal less than a minute later.
Team USA 2008 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament Results
August 12-16 • Breclav, Czech Republic and Piestany, Slovakia

USA Results & Scores
August 9 Canada* L 4-6
August 10 Slovakia* W 6-2
August 12 Russia L 1-5
August 13 Finland L 5-6
August 14 Czech Republic L 2-5
August 16 Switzerland W 6-5
* exhibition game

Tournament Results & Scores
Gold Medal - Canada
Silver Medal - Russia
Bronze Medal - Sweden
4th Place - Finland
5th Place - Czech Republic
6th Place - Slovakia
7th Place - USA
8th Place - Switzerland

Friday, August 15, 2008

DU Hockey Blog Updated

DU Hockey Blog previews the five most exciting upcoming weekends at Magness Arena this season. They also have details of two goaltender camps that Marc Cheverie attended and will attend this Summer. Former volunteer assistant coach PJ Deluca has a new gig and Adrian Veideman will be playing in the AHL next season.

Berkhoel Signs With AHL's Wilkes-Barre Scranton

(above) DU alum Adam Berkhoel joined the Pittsburgh Penguins organization today, signing with Wilkes-Barre/Scanton in the AHL

From: Our Sports Central.com

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have signed goaltenders Adam Berkhoel and Curtis Darling, it was announced on Friday by Pittsburgh Penguins Assistant General Manager Chuck Fletcher.

Berkhoel helped lead DU to the NCAA National Championship in 2004 backstopping a 1-0 victory over the University of Maine. His shutout was only the second shutout in national championship game history.

Berkhoel, 27, appeared in 31 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL) last season, posting a 10-14-4 record with one shutout and a 2.93 goals against average. A former eighth round draft pick by the Chicago Blackhawks (240th overall in 2000), Berkhoel has appeared in nine NHL games during his four-year career (all with the Atlanta Thrashers), going 2-4-1 with a 3.80 goals against average.

The native of St. Paul, Minnesota has appeared in 49 AHL games with Grand Rapids, Rochester and Chicago, going 15-24-4, and 82 ECHL games with Gwinnett and Dayton, going 42-31-9. He spent four seasons at the University of Denver (2000-2004), posting 55-27-10 record with 10 shutouts and a 2.47 goals against average. He helped the Pioneers to an NCAA title in 2004.

Presumably Berkhoel will join fellow DU alum Connor James, who helped lead Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton to the AHL Calder Cup Finals last season.

DU Cheer Team Kicks Ass At Camp

(above) Hope the DU cheerleaders are taking skating lessons this summer

From: DU Athletics Website

The University of Denver Cheer Team attended its first Universal Cheerleading Association camp in Santa Barbara, Calif., August 8-10.

DU's collegiate cheer team is relatively new to the University at this capacity and continues to build its program.

The camp was comprised of private and state colleges and universities throughout the county. Over 750 cheerleaders attended.

The Denver Cheer Team placed in both competitions for their division. However, the biggest & proudest accomplishment came at the conclusion of camp when the team was awarded the 2008 All Camp Leadership Award and the team most others would want to be a part of.

DU's cheer team exemplifies character, leadership, support and overall spirit.

CSU Petition Drive To Add D-1 Hockey

From: The Coloradian
by Sean Duff


As posted in LetsGoDU two weeks ago, Colorado State University graduate Brett Tatman wants his alma mater to add an NCAA Division I hockey team. But resistance from the CSU Athletic Department makes the dream a longshot at best.

A local online petition to gather support for his proposal has gathered decent support in the past two weeks.

Tatman, president of Snaptron, Inc., in Windsor, has received more than 700 signatures on his petition and hopes to have a few thousand by the time he meets next week with Colorado State University athletic director Paul Kowalczyk and director of development Mike LaPlante.

“I played hockey growing up, and I played (club) hockey at CSU,” Tatman said. “I have two sons that play youth hockey. Seeing the (Colorado) Eagles and their success really prompted me to push to see if we couldn’t get a higher level of hockey here.”

CSU has had a club team for years that has been successful on the ice and off. The Rams have won national club titles and routinely play to big crowds at EPIC.

"It pains me to see Division I hockey at schools such as Nebraska-Omaha and not at CSU,” Tatman said. “Colorado is a hockey state. Nebraska is a state with half the population of the Denver metro area, and they support NCAA hockey. Surely Northern Colorado can do the same.

“It is my belief that not only would Division I NCAA ice hockey survive in Northern Colorado, but it would flourish.”

CSU AD Kowalczyk doesn’t think now is the time for CSU to add hockey or any other sport.

“We don’t support our current sports programs well enough to even consider adding sports at this point,” he said. “Our current sports have been underfunded for years, and until we get them to a position of solid funding and excellence, there won’t be any other considerations.”

Three Colorado schools play Division I hockey: Air Force, Colorado College and the University of Denver. Others, like CSU and the University of Colorado, have club teams.

Tatman, a 1997 CSU graduate, envisions the team playing the Budweiser Events Center, home of the Eagles. The Central Hockey League team has sold out every game at the 5,380-seat Bud Center since its inception five seasons ago.

Tatman acknowledges that it will take more than signatures to field a team. For example, Title IX regulations likely would force CSU to add a women's team in any sport if it added men's hockey or another men's sport.

"At this point I'm just trying to get signatures," Tatman said. "I'm meeting with Paul and Mike on Tuesday, and after our meeting we'll decided what hoops we need to jump through."

To sign the online petition that supports CSU adding an NCAA Division I men’s hockey team, go online to ramhockeypetition.weebly.com