DU vs. Northern Michigan Tonight @ 6 PM .... DU Will Honor Murray Armstrong Before The Game & During The 1st Intermission .... Go DU .... Game & Ceremony Will Be Televised Nationally On FCS-Rocky Mountain

DU To Face Northern Michigan This Weekend

From: Upper Michigan Source

After a two-week break over the holidays, the Northern Michigan University hockey Wildcats will be back in action as they face the University of Denver on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 31-Jan. 1 at Magness Arena. DU will be without four of their top forwards this weekend.

Friday’s game will be played at 6 PM MT and will be televised on Fox Sports Network Rocky Mountain. FSN Rocky Mountain can be viewed nationally on DirecTV channel 683 or on Dish Network channel 414. Saturday’s game is scheduled to start at 7 PM MT and will not be televised.

Northern Michigan (9-8-3) enters into the series in a three-way tie for fourth place in the CCHA. DU (12-5-3) is tied for second place in the WCHA with Minnesota-Duluth, behind North Dakota who sits in first, just two points ahead.

DU forwards missing this weekend include, Drew Shore and Jason Zucker playing at the World Junior Tournament and Beau Bennett and Jesse Martin who are injured.

News & Notes From Around PioNation

The Denver Post has an article on the University of Denver hockey team and its many players from around the United States. DU only has four Canadians on the roster this season, which is probably the lowest number since Colorado College last won a National Championship in ice hockey (late Fifties).
The US National Junior Team defeated Germany last night 4-0. DU's Drew Shore did not score for Team USA and Jason Zucker did not dress after sustaining a head injury in the last game against Slovakia. The U.S. (3-0) remained undefeated with one game remaining in the preliminary round. The Americans will face Switzerland (2-1) on Friday night in a game that could decide the winner of Group A and an automatic bid in the semifinals.
The University of Denver will honor legendary head coach Murray Armstrong on Friday night. Armstrong died at the age of 94 on Dec. 8 after leading Denver to five NCAA championships and coached DU from 1956-1977. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 6 p.m. MT for the special pre-game ceremony. DU will recognized Armstrong and his accomplishments at approximately 6:05 p.m. MT. Fans are also encouraged to stay in their seats during the first intermission as the Pioneers will honor Armstrong with a 3-5 minute video tribute.

CC Star Jaden Schwartz Injured At World Juniors

(left) Jaden Schwartz will be out of commission for the next six weeks

From: USCHO.com

Colorado College forward Jaden Schwartz will miss the rest of the World Junior Championship with Team Canada after suffering a fractured ankle in Tuesday night’s win over the Czech Republic.

It’s believed Schwartz, the Tigers’ top scorer with 11 goals and 26 points, will be out of action up to six weeks.

DU Hockey Alumni Association Update

(above) Rod Summers (#3) in action back in the day

Many exciting changes are planned for the University of Denver Hockey Alumni Association in 2011. The group which represents former DU hockey players has just been granted a Raffle License by the State of Colorado. They will be holding "50/50 Raffles" on game nights at Magness Arena.

The Raffles will enable the Alumni Association to be self-sufficient and have a larger role supporting and promoting the University of Denver Hockey Program. President and former DU hockey player Rod Summers (1987-1990) has been working with the University and Athletic Department on this project.

The Board of Directors of the DU Hockey Alumni Association includes Summers, Spence Walden, Tom Sampson, Jim Wiste, Mark Rycroft, Jason Grahame, Gerry Powers, Marty Howe, Murray Dow & Harold Beier.

Chambers Blog Has Bennett & Zucker Updates

Mike Chambers of the Denver Post has injury updates in his blog on DU players Jason Zucker & Beau Bennett. Zucker is playing in the World Junior Tournament for Team USA and Bennett was supposed to suit up this weekend for the Pioneers against Northern Michigan.

Player Who Hit Zucker Suspended Four Games

From: IIHF Website

Dan Marouelli, the IIHF`s appointed Disciplinary Judge, handed out suspensions totaling six additional games to three players for flagrant violations in games played yesterday. The Slovakia-United States game produced five of those games to two Slovaks, the heaviest suspension going to Martin Marincin (three extra games). Peter Hrasko received two additional games while Canada's Zack Kassian got one extra game.

The IIHF has very specific rules regarding dangerous hits. These are not limited just to the head but to the neck area as well, which is defined by that part of the body above the collarbone and shoulder pads (i.e., unprotected areas).

All players were automatically given one-game suspensions for their match penalties for a hit to the head and neck area.

Slovakia’s Martin Marincin was assessed a further three-game suspension (four games in total) by the IIHF for his hit to the head and neck area on American forward Jason Zucker with 7:51 left in the third period of the United States-Slovakia game on December 28.

In making his assessment, Marouelli analyzed the play on DVD. As well, he received a verbal report from the IIHF’s medical staff and discussed the play with the referee supervisor and the Chairman of the championship.

Some of the criteria used to make this decision included the distance traveled by Marincin to deliver the hit. In Marouelli’s opinion, this was a premeditated act as the puck had long left the vicinity of the play. Marincin took advantage of a defenceless and unsuspecting opponent and deliberately targeted the head and neck area, resulting in an injury to Zucker.

USA Rolls Over Slovakia 6-1, Zucker Injured

(above) Video: Martin Marincin's cheapshot on Jason Zucker

(above) Drew Shore scores for Team USA

From: Star-Tribune
by Michael Russo

The USA World Junior team rolled to a commanding 6-1 victory over Slovakia on Tuesday night, but a head injury to University of Denver forward Jason Zucker dampened the victory. The Americans moved into first place in Group A with a 56-18 shot edge, powered by two goals by Kyle Palmieri, three points from Charlie Coyle and one goal from University of Denver forward Drew Shore.

Shore's goal was a fantastic individual effort. Going coast to coast, he deked his way around Andrej Kudrna before deking out the goaltender and putting the puck top shelf off the back hand with 6:28 left in the period.

"I grabbed the puck in the neutral zone and kind of had a one-on-one," said Shore. "I thought I had a chance to beat the guy so I slid it through his stick and I was able to beat the goalie so I was pretty happy to get that one."

"One of the things we wanted to do was be disciplined going into the game and they took some penalties early so I think that was one of the reasons we were able to be successful," added Shore who finished with a goal on six shots and a plus-one. "Palmieri got us off to a great start and we were just able to role from there."

The game was a mismatch from the start, with Team USA recording more goals than Slovakia had shots in the first period. The Americans scored twice on 22 attempts while holding Slovakia scoreless on just one opportunity. The U.S. team built a 6-1 lead and 43-11 shot edge through two periods.

DU forward Jason Zucker left the game with a head injury midway through the third period. Zucker checked Slovak defenseman Adam Janosik deep in the offensive zone, and when he turned to skate back he was struck in the head by Martin Marincin's elbow. Zucker spent several moments crumpled on the ice. Clearly groggy, he eventually was helped off by USA trainer Stan Wong.

Marincin received a match penalty for an attempt to injure, which carries at least a one-game suspension.

"It was a vicious, dirty hit," U.S. coach Keith Allain said of Marincin's play, which came after Zucker checked a Slovak player in the corner.

The U.S. already was shorthanded, playing without previously injured forwards Jeremy Morin and Warroad's Brock Nelson.

Allain had no update on his injured players and described himself as "extremely disturbed" with how chippy the game became. In the first period, Slovakia's Peter Hrasko was ejected after getting his shoulder up in hitting Jerry D'Amigo along the boards in the Slovak zone.

Zucker's injury was the second major one Tuesday. Czech Republic defenseman Petr Senkerik was communicating with doctors after being wheeled off the ice on a stretcher early in a 7-2 loss to Canada. The tournament's disciplinary judge, Dan Marouelli, was reviewing whether the hits merit a longer suspension.

USA vs. Slovakia On Tuesday Evening

NHL Network TV Coverage
USA vs. Slovakia Tuesday @ 6 PM MT

From: NHL.com

NHL Network-US
will provide live coverage of the U.S. National Junior Team games at the 2011 World Junior Championship, Dec. 26 to Jan. 5. NHL Network also will televise all medal-round games and five additional preliminary-round match-ups, airing a total of 15 games from the tournament, and provide nightly re-caps in its signature show NHL On the Fly.

Gary Thorne, Dave Starman, Fred Pletsch and Billy Jaffe will make up the broadcast team for the NHL Network's coverage of Team USA's games.

University of Denver players Jason Zucker and Drew Shore will play for Team USA.

Video: USA Highlights Against Finland

(above) Video highlights of Team USA's opening game against Finland

Zucker Scores In 3-2 USA Victory Over Finland

(above) Jason Zucker is congratulated by teammates on the USA bench after scoring in the second period

(above & left) Jason Zucker celebrates his second period goal against Finland with teammate Chris Brown

From: USA Hockey

The USA defeated Finland 3-2 in Overtime on the opening day of the World Junior Championships in Buffalo. University of Denver prodigy Jason Zucker scored a spectacular goal in the second period that gave the USA a 2-1 lead in the second period.

Finland gave the defending champions fits all night with a tight defensive system that took away scoring chances. The shot totals favored Finland 34-30 for the game and the Finns dominated a series of shifts in the second period.

Finland had several chances, including hitting the side of the net on an open shot, before they took advantage of a Team USA turnover with a Joonas Nattinen goal at the 13:50 mark of the second period.

Team USA responded to the adversity not by pressing for a goal or changing what had worked so far in the game, but by sticking to its game plan of solid defense and quick breakout passes. Goaltender Jack Campbell came up with two of his 32 saves immediately following the goal to keep the score tied. Then Zucker collected a loose puck off a Chris Brown check in the Finland zone and fired a goal to regain the lead.

Team USA's resolve again was tested in the third period when Finland surged to tie the game 13 minutes into the frame. Campbell again recovered from the setback with key saves and the teams went to overtime where Team USA won on Nick Bjugstad's goal with less than 2 minutes to play.

TSN's Bob McKenzie is reporting via Twitter late Sunday night that USA Hockey fears Chicago Blackhawks star Jemamy Morin may have suffered shoulder injury when he was struck by a puck. TSN is also reporting that North Dakota forward Brock Nelson may have also injured his shoulder. Neither player practiced on Monday, but they may play later in the Tournament.

The next game for Team USA is against Slovakia on Tuesday night at 6 PM MT.

Twin Cities Star Tribune Profiles Jason Zucker

(left) DU forward Jason Zucker faces Finland tonight at 6 PM MT

From: Star Tribune

by Michael Russo

In exit meetings at the Wild's summer development camp, Wild assistant GM Brent Flahr gave prospect Jason Zucker a few things to work on to continue his skill development.

But knowing full well that Zucker lived in sun-drenched, sweltering Las Vegas, Flahr asked if he thought he'd have trouble finding ice.

"Don't worry. I've got a roller rink in my backyard," Zucker told Flahr.

Of course he does.

Zucker might be a native of the gambler's paradise. But the Wild never considered that cashing in a third- and fourth-round pick for a third second-round pick so it could snag Zucker in June's draft was a risky wager.

The 18-year-old might be California-born and Nevada-produced, but make no mistake, Zucker is a hockey player.

His passion is hockey, and he wants to make it his life's work.

"I fell in love with the game as a little kid," said Zucker, who Sunday will begin his quest at helping lead the United States to a repeat title at the world junior championships.

Hockey's expansion in the United States has produced a glut of players from untraditional markets such as California (Casey Wellman), Arizona, North Carolina and even Florida.

But Zucker is as untraditional as it gets. Born in Newport Beach, Calif., Zucker moved to Las Vegas at 2 months old because his dad is director of construction for 13 Station Casino properties.

Zucker played roller hockey until age 6. But he learned to love ice hockey while playing with brothers Evan and Adam and working as a stickboy for the now-defunct IHL Las Vegas Thunder.

He was so good and had such a love, Zucker's parents, Scott and Natalie, let him move back to California at age 10 to play for the L.A. Hockey Club.

After two years, he returned home to play for the Las Vegas Outlaws AAA team before moving to Detroit at age 15 to play for Compuware. He later got into the U.S. Development program in Ann Arbor, and he took off.

Zucker and Dallas Stars first-round pick Jack Campbell were the only two U.S. players to win three gold medals in one calendar year -- 2009 and 2010 under-18 championships and the 2010 under-20 championships.

Zucker, 17 at the time, was the youngest player on that world junior team and came up clutch throughout the tournament.

Because the Americans shocked Canada last year, many consider the talented, fast, skilled team favorites this year. "We have a great group of guys and a lot of talent on this team, but we're only going to do it again if we can work as a team," Zucker said. "That's what we learned last year. We know it won't be easy. It'll take a lot of work. But my dream is to hopefully do it again."

Zucker's had a dream start to his collegiate career at the University of Denver. He is tied for second in the WCHA with 14 goals, leading all Division I freshmen. On Dec. 3, he notched his first career hat trick at Minnesota Duluth.

"He could have had six," Flahr said.

Thrashers GM Rick Dudley, who scouts more amateur hockey than any GM in the NHL, said he thinks the Wild snatched a diamond in the rough.

"[Zucker's] a guy with character off the charts, and he can really skate," Dudley said. "Shoots the puck extremely well, and he's one of those guys you cheer for because he's not a real big guy, but he refuses to know that. He plays like he's 6-foot-4."

Still, Flahr is measured in his praise of the 5-10, 175 pounder. He doesn't want to put added pressure on Zucker, doesn't want Wild fans to think he'll be a savior.

He' has offensive upside, yes, but "he has to get a lot stronger," Flahr said. "When we drafted him, we thought he'd have a chance to be a third-line guy that would bring energy and hopefully some scoring and speed, maybe complement a higher line than that.

"But we just want to be patient, hope he keeps getting better and let everything sort itself out."

Zucker talks weekly with Wild director of player development Brad Bombardir, but the Wild doesn't plan to rush him. "We've got to make sure he gets stronger to compete at the pro level night in and night out, because it's a grind," Flahr said. "But he's in the right place there. ... It's going to be up to him when he leaves."

When the Wild wants to sign him, Zucker said he'd discuss it then with his father and make the right decision.

"But I love Denver. If I stay four years, great," Zucker said. "Right now, I'm just thinking of the present, and that's world juniors, then DU."

Hockey's Future Profiles DU Recuit Scott Mayfield

Most NHL Mock Drafts and scouting reports project University of Denver 2011 recruit Scott Mayfield as a 1st Round draft selection next summer. This week Hockey's Future listed Mayfield as the #3 Draft eligible player in the USHL this season.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas From Boone To PioNation

Denver Post: Colorado Connections @ World Juniors

(above) DU star Jason Zucker (#16) is one of several players at the upcoming World Junior Hockey Tournament that people in Colorado will be keeping an eye on

From: Denver Post
by Nick Groke

Starting Sunday, the best prospects in hockey will skate against one another at the World Junior Hockey Championship in Buffalo, N.Y. It likely will be a knockout fight between the United States and Canada.

And some of Colorado's best will be front and center.

Drew Shore and Jason Zucker, standouts for the University of Denver, will suit up for the defending world champion Americans. And Colorado College's Jaden Schwartz will play for Canada.

The who's-who list of future stars is long. Tyson Barrie, the Avalanche's third-round draft pick last year, will play for Canada. Ryan Bourque, son of former Avs and Bruins star Ray Bourque, will line up for Team USA. And Avs draft pick Sami Aittokalia, a fourth-rounder this year, will be in goal for Finland [read rest of article].

DU Lacrosse Adds Duke To 2011 Schedule

(above) DU fans on the East Coast will be able to watch Denver take on Duke on Long Island

From: Denver Post

The Denver men's lacrosse team got an addition to its 2011 schedule, and it's a big one: defending national champion Duke on April 9 at the new Bethpage (N.Y.) High School lacrosse stadium on Long Island.

"Playing the defending NCAA Champions is both a challenge and an honor," DU head coach Bill Tierney said. "We know that playing such an outstanding team in the middle of our ECAC schedule is a risk, but the opportunity to measure ourselves against the best, is well worth it."

Tierney and Duke coach John Danowski grew up about 10 minutes away from the stadium in the town of Oyster Bay. The game is sponsored by the Bethpage Educational Foundation. The stadium's capacity of 2,700 will be increased to about 6,000 for the game.

Shore & Zucker Make USA World Junior Team

(above) Drew Shore was one of two Pioneers named to Team USA

USA Hockey today announced its 22-player roster the 2011 U.S. National Junior Team that will compete at the World Junior Championship Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Buffalo. University of Denver forwards Drew Shore and Jason Zucker were named to the final roster.

The U.S. will be defending its 2010 World Junior Championship gold medal, defeating Canada, 6-5, in overtime, to claim the title last year. For a full tournament schedule and ticket information, visit BuffaloWorldJuniors.com.

The U.S. roster includes 16 first or second-round NHL Draft picks, including nine first-rounders. A total of 13 states are represented on the U.S. preliminary roster, with Minnesota leading the way with five players.

All USA games plus several others will be televised live on the NHL Network.

Jesse Martin & Family Battle Medical Challenges

(above) DU hockey player Jesse Martin, his father Terry and their family have persevered through a lifetime worth of medical challenges in the past year

Edmonton Journal
by Cam Tait

It's little wonder Terry Martin and his family don't know what to give one another for Christmas gifts this year.

They have all they need: Each other.

The past year could have torn the Edmonton family of four apart. Terry's wife, Jacquie, was diagnosed with a brain tumor just before his daughter, Natasha, was injured in a car crash and required emergency surgery.

Then his son, Jesse, a 22-year-old senior who plays hockey for the University of Denver Pioneers, was injured in an Oct. 30 game against the North Dakota Fighting Sioux and carried off the ice on a stretcher with a spinal cord injury. Three days after getting home from visiting with Jesse in the U.S., Terry had heart attack.

"We're all having a little trouble buying Christmas gifts this year," Terry says. "I mean really, what material things could we give or receive that could provide greater happiness than what we are experiencing by simply being together?"

It's the gift of family.

"The serious medical challenges each of us faced recently certainly tested us as individuals with respect to inner strength and character. But how we came through it all is also a testament to how closely knit our family is," Terry says.

Jesse's injury -- a crush against the boards when he was looking down -- got a lot of attention because of a YouTube video of the hit. As of Monday, the video had been watched 131,192 times.

"Like every family, we have had our ups and downs, but the common thread has been that we never forget that we are there for each other no matter what, and we are always able to lean on each other for support," says Jesse.

Support has been strong.

Natasha remained in Edmonton to care for her 85-year-old grandmother while her parents were with Jesse in Minneapolis, where he was taken for treatment. Terry's brother Jim rushed from an African vacation to Minneapolis to lend support.

The hockey family also sprang into action.

"I had no idea that the outpouring of support from Denver, Edmonton, and even Minnesota would be so much that it really was overwhelming," says Jesse, who played for the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Spruce Grove Saints in 2005-06.

A telephone call came from Aaron Moser, an Edmonton native who became a quadriplegic in 1998 during a Junior A hockey game in Powell River, B.C.

"Speaking with Aaron was extremely uplifting and motivating," says Jesse.

'He's such an incredible guy that knowing his story and to have him call me meant a great deal to me because you have so many people saying they could imagine what you're going through, when in fact, he truly did know what I was going through."

The support has helped bring all four Martins back to their Mill Woods home for the festive season.

"I have always loved Christmas," says Jesse, who now walks under his own steam. "But now you don't take it for granted -- you cherish that time with your friends and family that much more."

Terry says each of the four rose to the occasion when they had to.

"Somehow, and really without being aware of it, we all seem to offer or derive inspiration when it really matters, each of us sort of taking turns being 'the rock' for the family," says Terry.

There will be much to celebrate Saturday, health being at the top of the list. Terry says he's much better. Natasha and Jacquie are making progress, too.

While Jesse might be the one who has the most challenging road, he's ready to tackle things head on.

"I think for all competitive athletes, there is a certain amount of competitiveness within you to succeed, therefore, having that mind-set, going into physical therapy and going through everyday life with that attitude helps everything, not just your rehab," says Jesse.

After returning to Minneapolis last week so the halo holding his spine in place could be removed, he now has a plastic collar to keep his neck straight.

He plans to return to Denver on Dec. 31 to resume his studies -- something that doesn't really surprise his father. He recalls what his son told him soon after the injury.

"Don't worry dad, I'm alive and talking, thinking well, and while some people see a glass as half full, and others see it as half empty, I'm just grateful I have a glass to look at."

"His humility brought me to tears," says Terry Martin.

USA WJT 3 - RPI 3 FINAL Overtime (Video)

(above) Video clip of the shootout

Team USA & Rensselaer (RPI) skated to a 3-3 Overtime tie on Sunday night. DU players Drew Shore and Jason Zucker played on the same line and each player had one assist.

The game went to a shootout so Team USA could practice for the World Junior Tournament. Zucker had two goals in the Shootout and Shore had one, but RPI prevailed in the shootout 6-5.

FSN Rocky Mountain To Change Name In 2011

DIRECTV Sports Networks announced that the company’s three regional sports networks – FSN Rocky Mountain (with sub-region FSN Utah), FSN Pittsburgh and FSN Northwest – will introduce a new brand identity to become ROOT Sports™ in Spring 2011. FSN-Rocky Mountain televises University of Denver hockey games.

The new ROOT Sports brand has been in research and development for more than a year.

“This rebrand effort is an incredible opportunity for our company to establish a clear, consistent and exciting brand identity for our key stakeholders and viewers,” said Mark Shuken, President and CEO of DIRECTV Sports Networks.

FSN Rocky Mountain has telecast rights to the Colorado Rockies, Utah Jazz, University of Colorado, University of Denver, as well as Big 12 football and women’s basketball, Pac-10 football and basketball and ACC basketball. The network’s serves more than 2.6 million cable and satellite homes in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico and South Dakota.

FSN Rocky Mountain is based in Denver and is a subsidiary of DIRECTV Sports Networks. The three networks combined reach more than 8.3 million viewers across 18 states. FSN Rocky Mountain will introduce a new brand identity to become ROOT Sports in Spring 2011.

DU Recruit Garrett Allen Traded In USHL

(left) DU recruit Garrett Allen has benefited from a change of scenery in Chicago

From: Fargo Examiner

Two weeks ago 2011 DU recruit Garrett Allen was traded in a two team USHL deal. Allen had been a big part of the Fargo Force team that went all the way to the Clark Cup Finals last season. Allen was traded to the Chicago Steel in exchange for defenseman Ian Young in early December.

So far the deal has worked out pretty well for Allen. In four games with the Steel he has two goals, two assists and is +1.

Allen scored 24 goals and 42 points in 60 regular season games last year. He also netted six goals and picked up 10 total points in 13 playoff games last season. This season, his point total has dropped to only three goals this year.

Young, a Missouri City, Texas native, scored twice last season and had 14 points in 31 games with Chicago. This season, Young has taken his game to a new level by scoring one goal and adding nine assists for 10 points in 20 games.

Allen is a University of Denver commit and Young is committed to play at Colorado College.

Western College Hockey Looks At Two DU Recruits

(left) DU recruits Josiah Didier & Zac Larraza were identified by Western College Hockey Blog as possible mid-round NHL Draft selections

Western College Hockey Blog recapped a recent USHL game between Cedar Rapids and the USNDP Under-18 Team. DU had a couple of recruits playing that night including Zac Larraza, Matt Van Voorhis and Josiah Didier.

WCH mentioned the play of Larraza & Didier in regards to the 2011 NHL Draft.
"Zac Larraza and Adam Reid have always been two pretty similar players. Both are big guys that looked absolutely lost when they first joined the NTDP last year, but their coordination has started to catch up, and while they're still projects, big guys with decent skill will always get a long look. Larraza is particular has come a long way forward and would make a decent mid-round pick."

"I was a little surprised defenseman Josiah Didier didn't get any sort of mention from NHL Central Scouting. Perhaps it's because he's a rookie in the league. In any case, he's about 6'2" 200 lbs., played a lot of solid minutes, and was on CR's top powerplay unit the entire weekend. He certainly looked like a solid mid-round draft pick."

2011 Recruiting Class
D Scott Mayfield (Youngstown, USHL)
F Zac Larraza (U.S. Under-18)
F Garrett Allen (Fargo, USHL)
D Matt Van Voorhis (U.S. Under-18)
D Joey LaLeggia (Penticton Vees, BCHL)
F Larkin Jacobson (Janesville Jets, NAHL)

2012 Recruiting Class
F Tyler Pham (Colorado Thunderbirds-U18)
D Dakota Mermis (U.S. Under-17)
D Josiah Didier (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
F Daniel Doremus (Sioux Falls, USHL)

2013 Recruiting Class
F Brad Hawkinson (Colorado Thunderbirds-U18)

DU Alum Tyler Bozak's Fear Of Flying

(above) DU Alum Tyler Bozak has 4 goals and 7 assists this season in 30 games

From: Toronto Star
by Kevin McGran

Ask Tyler Bozak about the worst part of being a professional athlete and the answer is easy.

The Maple Leafs center absolutely fears flying.

“I just get really nervous,” said the 24-year-old.

“I was never like that when I was little. When I got into high school it became a big fear. It’s not something I enjoy.”

He can’t quite put his finger on how or why he fears it.

“I get sweaty,” said Bozak. “In my mind I still don’t see how it all works. All that weight floating through the air. Just doesn’t sound right.”

His teammates rib him about it, saying things like “that doesn’t sound right” as the plane takes off, just to get a reaction from him.

Bozak said a flight to Long Island, N.Y., last year was the worst because of the turbulence.

“It was raining and windy,” he said. “It was a bad one for me.”

Bozak is far from being alone with this fear in the world of pro sports.

Bozak said the fear doesn’t affect his game, because the team travels the night before it plays and he’s able to calm down.

“Usually with this kind of fear, once they confirm everything is okay, it disappears right away,” said Min Zhou, a professor specializing in emotional fear and anxiety at the University of Toronto. “Our brain circuitry works like that.”

Zhou said the reason some people fear flying and not others is the same reason some are good athletes and not others: We’re all different.

“We know our brain is different. Each component, the makeup of individuals is different,” said Zhou. “Some people are sensitive or do good at some things and not good at other things. Same with fear.”

In the long term, Bozak said he might seek professional help.

“I’m just trying to get over it myself,” said Bozak. “I could see the (therapist) with the team. I hear the same things, all the stats — you’re more likely to get injured going to the airport, but that doesn’t do much for me.

“I used to be a lot worse. I’ve gotten better.”

In the short term, Zhou had a different suggestion.

“Usually, alcohol would help,” said Zhou. “If you drink alcohol, which affects your normal brain function, and you reach a certain point, then the guy doesn’t care anymore.”

Chambers Blog: More Murray Armstrong Stories

Mike Chambers Blog has several more stories about former University of Denver hockey coach Murray Armstrong and his legendary recruiting visits up to Canada in the Fifties and Sixties. Chambers talked to former DU player Jim Wiste and current Air Force coach Frank Serratore.

Denver Post Looks At DU's Midseason Form

The Denver Post looks at the University of Denver hockey team at the midpoint of the season. The article includes several quotes by Coach Gwozdecky.

Rhett Rakhshani Makes NHL Debut Tonight

(above) Rhett Rakhshani will play for the New York Islanders tonight

From: DenverPioneers.com

Former University of Denver star forward Rhett Rakhshani will make his NHL debut tonight for the New York Islanders at Nashville.

Rakhshani earned the promotion to the Islanders after leading the American Hockey League's Bridgeport Sound Tigers with 24 points (10g, 14a) in 27 games. He was selected in the 4th Round of the 2006 NHL Draft by the Islanders.

LetsGoDU Midseason Awards

(above) Great Brittain was an immovable object in the nets for the Pioneers in the first half of the season

The University of Denver by all accounts has exceeded preseason expectations. Sitting second in the WCHA, 6th in the Pairwise and #7 in the Polls, teamwork and overcoming injuries were the major stories of the first half of the season.
Midseason MVP - Drew Shore: Tied for the team team in goals, plus/minus & tied for second on the team in assists. Most impressive stat; scoring on 26% of his shots on goal.
MVP Contenders - Sam Brittain, Jason Zucker & Matt Donovan.
Midseason Defensive Player - Matt Donovan: Tied for second on the team in assists and second on the team in plus minus. Established himself as one of the elite WCHA defensemen.
Defensive Contenders - David Makowski & John Lee
Midseason Freshman - Jason Zucker: Tied for the team lead in goals. Easily one of the two best Freshman in college hockey.
Freshman Contenders - Sam Brittain, David Makowski
Most Under-rated Player - John Ryder: Four assists and plus 8 in the first half of the season. NHL scouts are taking notice of Ryder's big hitting game, while he quietly is fourth on the team in plus/minus.
Under-rated Contenders - Dustin Jackson, Chris Nutini, Luke Salazar & Paul Phillips
Most Inspirational Player - Jesse Martin: DU has gone 10-2-1 since Jesse's serious neck fracture.
Inspirational Contenders - Kyle Ostrow.
Most Improved Player - Drew Shore: Made the adjustment from role player to elite forward look easy.
Improvement Contenders - Luke Salazar, Dustin Jackson, Chris Knowlton


The University of Denver and Alaska-Anchorage skated to a 2-2 tie on Saturday night. DU was cruising to an apparent 2-1 victory, when UAA scored with eight minutes remaining.

DU breaks for Christmas, while Drew Shore and Jason Zucker head off to the USA World Junior Tryout Camp.

WCHA Standings

1st Period

UAA Goal - Kwas (Grant, Parkinson) [Power Play]
DU Goal - Donovan (Salazar)

2nd Period
DU Goal - Jackson (Maiani, N. Shore)

3rd Period
UAA Goal - Bruijsten (Parkinson, Leinweber)

No scoring

Zucker - D. Shore - Salazar
Maiani - N. Shore - Jackson(A)
Knowlton - K. Ostrow(C) - S. Ostrow
Dewhurst - Olszewski

Donovan - Nutini(A)
Ryder - Makowski
Phillips - Wrenn

Brittain - Murray

WCHA Website: Denver Reloads

(above) Drew Shore and Jason Zucker have propelled DU to near the top of the WCHA standings and Pairwise Rankings

Goal-scoring has been at a premium in recent years in the WCHA, so when Denver lost its high-scoring 1-2-3 punch of Rhett Rakhshani, Joe Colborne and Tyler Ruegsegger after last season, the Pioneers figured to drop from title contention to mid-pack status. But nobody told Jason Zucker and Drew Shore, who have filled the void.

"Coach Gwozdecky is a great recruiter, and he's brought in some great players who can score," said Zucker, a freshman from that hockey hotbed of Las Vegas, Nevada [read rest of article].

USA Won't Have Home Ice Fan Support At WJT

From: Buffalo Business First

The Buffalo Sabres could earn between $10 million and $12 million in ticket revenue from the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships, which begins in three weeks. But the crowds will be heavily pro-Canadian as large numbers of tickets have been sold across the border.

The tournament, which features 31 games between the worlds 10 best junior national teams, runs Dec. 26-Jan. 5.

As of last week, the club had sold 11,800 of the 12,000 all-session ticket packages to HSBC Arena, which are available for $493, $833 and $1,250. The club has sold another 1,000 passes for the 1,800-seat Dwyer Arena at Niagara University, which will also host games. The club opened single-day ticket sales to season-ticket holders on Nov. 22 and sold 774 in a day and a half. The club also is selling single-, double- and triple-game packages.

According to team officials, 65 percent of ticket sales have come from Canadian buyers and, as reported in Business First, demand on the secondary market is rising.

This tournament is tantamount to the Final Four in basketball for Canadians, so for us being this close to Canada is huge, said Dan DiPofi, Sabres COO and minority owner. I dont think many NHL cities can appreciate the breadth of this tournament, but we can.

Last year, the tournament generated international buzz after the United States beat Canada 6-5 in a dramatic overtime game in Saskatoon, Canada to win the title.

DiPofi said he is confident the club will surpass its break-even number for the entire event, which is 75 percent capacity of the 18,690-seat HSBC Arena. He declined to give any estimated net profit from the event.

USA Hockey controls broadcast rights for the event, and is in the final year of a three-year partnership for U.S. rights with the NHL Network, which will carry the Jan. 5 championship game, as well as all American games and a select number of other games. TSN will broadcast the games in Canada, and will stream the tournament live. The website Fasthockey.com will provide online streaming to American viewers.

Also, two other Western New York communtiies Jamestown and Rochester will get a piece of the action by hosting pre-tournament games.

Buffalo beat out Minneapolis-St. Paul and Grand Forks, N.D., to host the 2010-11 event, which the IIHF awarded to the United States in 2007. Buffalos bid proposal for the tournament included an undisclosed ticket revenue share and a guaranteed $4 million payment from owner Thomas Golisano.

There was no question the [$4 million] was a factor in the evaluation, said Dave Fischer, a member of the bid evaluation team for USA Hockey. Were not yet comfortable with our hockey turnout to go to Dallas or some city in the South that cant support a two-week tournament.

The tournament has produced impressive revenue numbers for previous hosts. The 2008-09 tournament, which was hosted by the Ottawa Senators, sold 470,000 tickets and generated $14.5 million for Hockey Canada, $12.5 million of which came in a guaranteed payment from the Senators and the rest from shared ticket revenue. Senators President Cyril Leeder declined to disclose how much the team made from the tournament but said the tournament requires significant operations cost specifically in providing hospitality and transportation for 10 teams in two weeks. Despite the cost, Leeder said, the tournament was a financial success.

Its like hosting a major concert every day for 10 days, Leeder said. From an attendance point of view, its the biggest single-sport event you can host in Canada.


(above) DU's Jason Zucker scores in the first period Friday night against UAA

The University of Denver moved into a second place tie in the WCHA standings with a 5-3 victory over the University of Alaska Anchorage on Friday night.

DU jumped off to a 2-0 first period lead. UAA tied the score at 2-2 with a strong second period.

Chris Knowlton scored his first goal of the season in the third period. It was a big goal leveling the game at 3-3. From that point on DU controlled the game and the inevitable game winner was a beautiful tape to tape power play goal by Jason Zucker from John Lee and Nick Shore.

Adam Murray got the victory in the nets for DU.

1st Period
DU Goal - Zucker (Salazar, Wrenn)
DU Goal - D. Shore (Zucker, Ryder) [Shorthanded]

2nd Period
UAA Goal - Grant (McLeod)
UAA Goal - Bailey (Gellert, Haddard)

3rd Period
UAA Goal - Grant (Warner, Kwas) [Power Play]
DU Goal - Knowlton (Makowski, Donovan)
DU Goal - Zucker (Lee, N. Shore) [Power Play]
DU Goal - Salazar [Empty Net]

Zucker-D. Shore-Salazar
Maiani-N. Shore-Jackson
Knowlton-K. Ostrow-S. Ostrow


Murray & Brittain

Wall Street Journal: College Hockey Poised For Growth

(above) Michigan players practicing in "The Big House" this week

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article about college hockey. One of the extremely interesting quotes in the article is, "Michigan expects to generate $1 million more in ice hockey ticket revenue this season than from its basketball ticket revenue."

Check out the article.

Chambers Blog: Murray Starts In Net Tonight

Mike Chambers Blog has all the details on DU goaltender Adam Murray, who gets back in the goaltender rotation tonight against Alaska-Anchorage.

Earlier in the week we mentioned that tonight's game against UAA would be broadcast on a tape delayed basis at 10 AM MST on Saturday. According to this NHL.com Schedule that appears to be the case, however my DirectTV Guide shows Minnesota vs. Minnesota-Duluth. Tune in to find out I guess.

If they do show the DU vs. UAA game, the NHL Network will replay the comedy special Tiger Pride: Eight Decades of CC Hockey immediately afterwards. Should be good for a laugh or two.

Two Year-Old Article Sums Up Murray Armstrong

(above) Legendary DU hockey coach Murray Armstrong out on the links in Florida two years ago

Note: This article appeared in the St. Augustine Record in 2008

Murray Armstrong is 92, but you wouldn't know it by his schedule. Every Monday he plays golf at St. Augustine Shores. Wednesday, more golf. Saturday? Another round.

"I can't see very good," he said. "And that bothers me when I am putting. But excuses are for losers."

Spoken like a true national champion. As much as Armstrong loves golf, he can't hide the hockey coach in him.

When the seniors who play with Armstrong on Mondays and Wednesdays tee it up with Armstrong, many of them may not know that they are playing with a former National Hockey League player who went on to coach at the University of Denver from 1956 to 1977, where he led the Pioneers to 11 Frozen Fours (the hockey version of the Final Four) and five national titles.

Armstrong is considered one of the great coaches in college hockey history. He was enshrined in the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 1974. In 1977, he was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy, given by the NHL and U.S. Hockey for significant contributions to hockey in the United States.

"I was a much better coach than I was player," Armstrong said dryly.

Armstrong played in rough-and-tumble NHL of the 1930s, where protective helmets and multi-million dollar contracts were things of the very distant future.

"We didn't make any money then," Armstrong said. "I made $3,000 in the 1938-39 season. The next year, I finished eighth in the league in scoring and got a raise to $4,500. Boy, I thought I had the world by the tail."

Armstrong happily told his story from his tidy St. Augustine Shores condo that overlooked a small pond and the golf course. Armstrong and his Freda, his wife of nearly 66 years, have been here for eight years. He is content, clearly enjoying his golf-obsessed life.

"I've always played at private clubs," he said. "But I love it here (at Shores)."

There are no monuments to Armstrong's hockey accomplishments in the house. He believes his son, Rob, is the star of the family. Rob Armstrong has written five books, including three on golf in Ireland. Now retired, he was an award-winning commentator at CBS and now teaches communications twice a week at Flagler College.

The dedication on Rob Armstrong's book, Golfing in Ireland, reads: "To my mother and father, Freda and Murray Armstrong, for all their love and for teaching me the game."

In fact, Armstrong delights also in the success of his former players. Although it's been over half a century since he coached some of them, several still call him regularly.

"I took good boys," he said. "In all my years, we never once had to go to the police."

Jovial as Armstrong is, his voice took on an icy edge when the conversation turned to coaching philosophy.

"I never let them be smart alecks," he said. "If they scored a goal, I told them to take it in stride. Don't celebrate."

Armstrong relied on a valuable lesson he learned from his playing days.

"I saw so many coaches go on a road trip and cheat on their wives," he said. "I thought, 'If he'd cheat on his wife, he'd cheat on anybody.' I never smoked, drank or cheated on my wife. And my players respected me for it."

As if on cue, Freda, Armstrong's wife shuffled into the kitchen. She caught Armstrong's eye and smiled. They still laugh and joke like they fell in love yesterday. Quickly, the conversation turned from hockey to Armstrong's greater passions: his wife and golf.

Freda is 94 and still plays nine holes with him every Saturday.

"My wife used to be good golfer," he said. "But now she's as bad as me."

She wasn't to be outdone.

"We like to get out there," she said. "But I don't think you can call what we do 'golf' anymore. We need another name."

Articles About Murray Armstrong & His Passing

  • The DU Athletics Website has an excellent article on former coach Murray Armstrong's life and accomplishments along with quotes from several former DU coaches.
  • Mike Chambers of the Denver Post has an article with many of good memories and a list of Murray's most famous quotes.
  • The St. Augustine Record also reprinted an article written two years ago about Murray's golfing exploits and life lessons.

DU Legend Murray Armstrong Passes Away

(above) DU legends Keith Magnuson and Murray Armstrong

Sources: DU Penrose Library, DU Hockey Alumni Association

Legendary University of Denver hockey coach Murray Armstrong passed away peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday.

Born on New Years Day 1916 in Regina, Saskatchewan, Murray would play in the NHL (Toronto, New York Americans, Detroit) before becoming one of the greatest college hockey coaches in history, amassing five National Championships at the University of Denver.

With the arrival of Armstrong in 1956, the University of Denver Ice Hockey Program began an era of unprecedented success. The man often referred to as “The Chief” came to Denver after a stint as the head coach of the Regina Pats junior team in Canada. The relationship with the Pats would serve him well as he repeatedly made recruiting trips to Canada to reload the Pioneers during the offseasons.

Murray saw the potential for championships at Denver. Not only were the facilities there but the citywide support as well. He wanted to see his Pioneers win the national title within three years but they won the championship in just two. Armstrong went on to lead the Pioneers to five national championships (1958, 1960, 1961, 1968 and 1969). On four other occasions his teams finished as the runners-up. His 11 Frozen Four appearances and eight WCHA regular season championships will withstand the test of time. In 1977 Armstrong retired but he had established a tradition of excellence that lives on to this day.

Under Armstrong's watchful eyes, the Pioneers hosted several high-profile international opponents at the DU Ice Arena. Denver tied the Soviet Union National Team 4-4 during the 1958-1959 season and beat the American National Team with a score of 7-5 in 1960. That same American National Team won the gold medal at the Winter Olympics that year. The 1960-1961 Pioneers team is widely regarded as one of the finest collegiate hockey team ever assembled. They finished with an incredible 30-1-1 record on their way to another NCAA Championship.

The Pioneers won another two NCAA Championships in 1968 and 1969. During those golden years some outstanding players wore the Crimson and Gold, including George Kirkwood, Bill Masterton, Jerry Walker, Marty Howe, Grant Munro, Keith Magnuson, Cliff Koroll, Craig Patrick, Jim Wiste, Jim Shires, Gerry Powers and Marshall Johnson.

Murray retired to Florida in 1977 and played golf well into his Nineties.

Murray Armstrong 1916-2010

In accordance with Murray’s request, there will be no funeral services. His family plans to scatter his ashes on his home golf course according to his wishes. Any of the hockey fraternity that wants to send a card or note to Murray’s wife/family can do so at 607 Mulligan Way, St. Augustine, FL 32080.

ST. AUGUSTINE, FL (December 8, 2010) -- Legendary DU hockey coach, Murray Armstrong, has died of complications, following a series of strokes. He was 94, just 24 days shy of his 95th birthday.

Armstrong coached the DU Pioneers from 1956 until 1977, amassing one of the most impressive records in college hockey history. His teams won five NCAA Championships and finished as runners-up four times.

After playing junior hockey, he played 9 years in the National Hockey League in the 1930s and 40s, finishing his career with the Detroit Red Wings. After World War II he then coached the Regina Pats until he was hired by the University of Denver.

When he arrived he promised to give DU a national championship in three years or he’d quit. He delivered on the promise in only two years.

Armstrong often said his proudest accomplishment was “all of the fine young men” whose lives he touched. He was in contact with many of his former players to the end.

In 2009, his former players created a book of “Murray-isms” – some of his sayings that live on. They called it “Don’t Think, It Weakens the Club.” Among his favorite sayings: “Excuses are for losers.”

He retired to Venice, Florida in 1977 where he pursued his other sporting passion – golf. He played the game regularly until 2010 when he was 94.

In 2000, he and his wife moved to St. Augustine, Florida, to be closer to his son and his wife.

Armstrong is survived by Freda, his wife of 68 years, and his son, Rob.

Memorial donations should be directed to: Community Hospice Foundation, 4266 Sunbeam Road, Jacksonville, Florida 32257.

UAA Giving Away Free Tickets To DU Series

UAA Fan Blog has a blurb today with a link to Ticketmaster. Fans in Anchorage can can go online and "buy" up to four tickets each night of the UAA-DU series for only the $3.50 handling charge. That's 87 cents per ticket.

We went online to see where in the arena the tickets were available. Section 114R, Row 7, Seats 3-6...Center Ice seats on the 7th row.

NHL.com Profiles Beau Bennett & His Injury

(above) Beau Bennett has impressed the Pittsburgh Penguins this season

From: NHL.com
by Sam Kasan

Penguins 2010 first-round draft pick Beau Bennett will miss several weeks of action after suffering a knee injury playing for Denver University. Though it is a short-term setback, all indications are that the injury isn’t too severe [read entire article].

Denver Post: Beau Bennett Injury Update

(above) The Denver Post has an update on Beau Bennett's injury

Mike Chambers of the Denver Post has up to date information about Beau Bennett's injury obtained during a Wednesday morning interview with the star forward.

The University of Denver hockey team departed for Anchorage this afternoon and will arrive at midnight after a layover in Seattle. DU will practice on Thursday afternoon for the series this weekend at UAA.

USA World Juniors Tournament News & Notes

From: DenverPioneers.com

The U.S. will be defending its 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship gold medal, having defeated Canada, 6-5, in overtime, to claim the title last year in Saskatoon, Sask. For a full tournament schedule and ticket information, visit BuffaloWorldJuniors.com
The U.S. preliminary roster includes 18 first or second-round National Hockey League Draft picks, including nine first-rounders. Additionally, six players are NHL draft eligible in 2011.
A total of 13 states are represented on the U.S. preliminary roster, with Minnesota and Massachusetts leading the way with five players each. New York and California are right behind with four players apiece, Drew Shore is Colorado's lone representative.
Since 2000, Team USA has a .642 winning percentage (42-3-5-19-5/W-OTW-OTL-L-T) in the IIHF World Junior Championship and has medaled on three occasions, including gold in both 2004 and 2010.
Keith Allain, head coach at #1 ranked Yale University, is the head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. He will be assisted by Mark Osiecki, head men's ice hockey coach at Ohio State; Phil Housley, head coach at Stillwater (Minn.) high school; and Joe Exter, goaltending coach at USA Hockey's National Team Development Program.

Jay Z Named WCHA Rookie of The Week

(above) Jason Zucker picks up some WCHA hardware this week

From: WCHA.com

University of Denver left winger Jazon Zucker is the WCHA Rookie of the Week for Dec. 7, 2010 as a result of his outstanding efforts in a two-game road series at Minnesota Duluth last weekend.

A 5-10, 175-pound freshman from Las Vegas, Zucker helped Denver to a two-game split at then No. 1-ranked Minnesota Duluth. He netted his first collegiate three-goal hat trick and four-point effort, including an assist on the game-winning goal, to help boost the Pioneers to a 5-4 overtime victory over the Bulldogs last Friday. He also added a team-leading nine shots on goal in the series, eight hits, three blocked shots and had +2 plus/minus rating.

A draftee of the NHL's Minnesota Wild, Zucker ranks first in goal scoring in league play with 12 in 12 games and is third in scoring overall among league rookies with 18 points (12g, 6a) in 18 games.

Coach Gwozdecky Becomes An American Citizen

University of Denver hockey coach George Gwozdecky revealed on his radio show on Tuesday evening that he became an American citizen earlier in the day. He mentioned that he had been diligently studying his U.S. Citizenship Handbook at home to prepare for his test.

DU Fan Gives College Hockey Rag The Business

(above) Click to enlarge

One alert PioNation fan was so enraged by the bogus Inside College Hockey Power Rankings this week, he/she fired off an irate email. The clowns at INCH had the temerity to drop Denver in their ranking after DU managed to split a road series against the #1 team in the country.

Then compounding their flawed logic, INCH lectured the public on Poll etiquette.

While INCH ranked DU #12 this week, the Pioneers moved up six spots to #3 in the Pairwise Rankings after the split with Minnesota-Duluth. DU remains #1 in the LetsGoDU SuperPoll (Colorado College is last).

USA Hockey Names WJT Tryout Roster

Team USA's Camp begins 12/17 in Troy, Rochester, Jamestown and Amherst, N.Y.

The camp will include exhibition games against RPI 12/19, the Czech Republic on 12/21 and 12/23 against Norway. The final U.S. national junior team 22-man roster will be announced on 12/23.

Three defensemen & four forwards will be cut from this roster

Jack Campbell - Windsor Spitfires
Andy Isles - Cornell

Adam Clendening - BU
Brian Dumoulin - BC
Justin Faulk - UMD
John Ramage - WI
Nick Leddy - Rockford Icehogs
Derek Forbort - UND
Jon Merril - MI
Jamie Oleksiak - Northeastern
Philip Samuelsson - BC
Patrick Wey - BC

Nick Bjugstad - MN
Ryan Bourque - Quebec Remparts
Connor Brickley - VT
Chris Brown - MI
Mitch Callahan - Kelowna Rockets
Charlie Coyle - BU
Jerry D'Amigo - Toronto Marlies
Emerson Etem - Medicine Hat Tigers
Rocco Grimaldi - USNDT U18
Chris Kreider - BC
Jeremy Morin - Rockford Icehogs
Brock Nelson - UND
Matt Neito - BU
Kyle Palmieri - Syracuse Crunch
Brandon Saad - Saginaw Spirit
Drew Shore - DU
Jason Zucker - DU

Chambers Blog: Shore & Zucker Get USA Invite

Mike Chambers Blog was the first to report that University of Denver players Jason Zucker and Drew Shore will report to Albany, N.Y., next week at the final U.S. World Junior camp [read entire article].

The purpose of the camp is to cut the roster from 28 players down to 22 and prepare the team for the Tournament.

The preliminary roster for the 2011 U.S. National Junior Team will be unveiled Tuesday morning at a press conference. The event is scheduled to begin at 9 AM MST and will be streamed live at USAHockey.com.