by Terry Frei
With the University of Denver looking ahead to a two-game set at home against defending NCAA champion Boston College this weekend, it's clear Pioneers coach George Gwozdecky faces several long-term challenges this season.
One is to keep his players interested, which didn't happen last season, when his stars gradually began to worry more about their imminent pro futures than about playing for the Pioneers. That's not Gwozdecky's fault, but it's also one of the realities of the bizarre relationship between the NHL and NCAA hockey, and all decent teams face those potential distractions.
Another is to show that Gwozdecky himself won't be deflected by his not-so-secret dissatisfaction with his deal at DU in the wake of the derailment of contract extension talks. His 12-year contract runs through 2014 and leaves him paid significantly less than men's basketball coach Joe Scott, whose team draws mom, pop and girlfriend crowds.