Monday, March 07, 2011

News & Notes From Around PioNation

Rough weekend for former University of Denver assistant coach Seth Appert. His RPI squad was upset in the first round of the ECAC playoffs by last place Colgate and RPI dropped out of the Top 15 in the Pairwise. This is the second year in a row that RPI has exited in the first round of the ECAC playoffs, despite win totals of 18 games in 2009-10 and 20 games this season.
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Denver 2011 recruit Matt Tabrum was interviewed by Omaha.com about the trade that sent him from USHL Sioux Falls to Omaha earlier this season.  Tabrum grew up playing hockey in Colorado Springs and will enroll at DU in the Fall.
2011 Recruiting Class
D Scott Mayfield (Youngstown, USHL)
F Zac Larraza (U.S. Under-18)
F Garrett Allen (Fargo, USHL)
D Joey LaLeggia (Penticton Vees, BCHL)
F Larkin Jacobson (Janesville Jets, NAHL)
D-F Wade Bennett (Wichita Falls, NAHL)
F Matt Tabrum (Omaha, USHL)

2012 Recruiting Class
D Matt Van Voorhis (U.S. Under-18)
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)

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

I went to both games this weekend and it was pretty apparent that George's plan to call out the fans and bring big crowds to the rink fell on deaf ears. Just eye-balling it, it looked like both nights were about half full (or empty, depending on how you look at it). So, that rink maxs out at 6100, so 3000 fans showed up? No wonder these guys look so lethargic out there.
Its very strange to me that we have one of the top 5 college hockey programs in the nation, yet they get very little support from the community. The tickets are being purchased, but people are not filling the seats. Take a look at all the other WCHA teams, and most of them come from a small, isolated market where going to the weekend series is a big deal. With the exception of Minnesota, Denver is one of the biggest cities in the league. Obviously, there is a lot to do over the weekends in Denver (ski, go to the Pepsi Center want watch the Avs – oh yeah, nobody goes to those games either). If you are in the Springs on a Friday or Saturday night and have a CC ticket, that is the hottest event in town, so you are going to the game. Its sad that we cant get 6,000 people to show up at a few late-season games to support they guys when we are 3 times the size of the Springs.
Also, where were the students? I almost thought that it was Spring Break this week. Its very disappointing to see so few students show up to the game and see tons of empty seats in the section that should be the loudest. Let’s start showing some school and community pride by showing up to the games.

Student said...

agreed.

Anonymous said...

I agree as well. I was a student that went to both games and it made me sad to have only the first two or three rows filled with students. I personally love the hockey games and love going to them. I wish other people would feel the same way. Nevertheless, I will be at the games this weekend showing my support even if no one else will

Anonymous said...

Bye bye George

Imaws Kcup said...

There are a few exceptions, but for the most part the only people going to DU hockey games are (1) people who have some sort of connection to DU (e.g. alumni, child of alumi, etc.); or (2) you play or played hockey (e.g. the Littleton Hawks kids and teenagers and their parents).

In category (1), obviously DU is a small school so that limits our numbers right there. And, you can judge by the student section how many actual students are interested, let alone alumni. This base is further weakened by the amount of DU students that are from out-of-state (I'd imagine a very high percentage comparatively speaking) and the amount of those students that leave upon graduation (very high from my own personal experience).

Category (2) is growing, but still small since not many kids play hockey in Colorado.

The general Denver community, by in large, is just not that interested in DU hockey. How many people at your work (or wherever) talk about DU hockey unless they are talking to you? How many of those people go to games? (I know this figure is 0 in my case).

I see two ways to increase the fan base (with both being 5-20 year plans).

The first relates to point (1) and this is what DG and others have been doing a great job of doing. DU needs to create more of an atmosphere where people feel connected to DU. Boone, alumni relations, improving the game night experience, etc. Another thing that DU can do as a school is ensuring take that more graduates obtain jobs in Denver. It makes a lot more sense to go back home to Cali/Texas/NY/etc. if you don't already have a job in Denver.

Item (2) might have the most potential. More and more kids are playing hockey in Colorado and we are becoming increasingly successful on the national stage. These kids and their parents/relatives will support DU because of their love of hockey even if they have no connection to DU other than living in Denver. DU should support hockey in the Denver community at the grass roots level (I konw they already do some of this). This can increase not only the fan base, but also potential students and recruits.

dggoddard said...

Good comments all round.

(1) The games need to be fun for the students to attend

(2) The students need to feel that they are contributing to the success of the team

(3) The only people that can rally students to the games are other students

So what would be a low cost way to make the students feel special?

Take the seats out of the student section and replace them with bar height tables to set purses, backpacks or drinks on.

DU should also have alumni standing room only sections as well, but thats a subject for another day.

dggoddard said...

DU has had success building the pep band, D-Rah, Colorado College game nights, White Outs, Homecoming, School Spirit and many other projects championed by LetsGoDU.

I've been less successful for the past eight years getting the Athletic Department to feature Denver & Colorado prominently in everything that appears on game nights in Magness Arena.

Skiing videos, Colorado themed music [Rocky Mountain Way, Rocky Mountain High], video messages from Colorado celebrities, playing up the Boone angle and supporting Colorado history. And of course drumming up the DU hockey teams amazing history. In other words immersing the fans with a "Denver Game Night" experience.

This stuff may sound silly, but all the uber successful schools do it from Texas to Alabama to Nebraska.

Anonymous said...

The DU Athletic Department definitely needs to step up their entertainment at the hockey games. I know on Friday and Saturday night without the pep band, in between playing hockey it was very boring. Also, even during other games when the pep band is there, there seems to be a lull halfway through the second period where it gets boring until DU scores another goal. If the athletic department were to have entertaining events throughout the whole game it would definitely create a better atmosphere and it would help to attract more students.

Aluuum said...

How can you expect the pep band to be playing for our nationally known flagship sport when they are shipped to some red neck town in Arkansas(?) to play for our crappy round ball team in some unknown tournament?
That should be a loud and clear message about where Doope's priorities are. Remember where she is from.

dggoddard said...

PioNation remains angry this week.

I like it.

Playoff intensity.

Anonymous said...

Weren't the students in the initial stages of finals this past weekend? I seem to remember that the first round of the WCHA tournament always falls on the weekend when spring break starts. If you thought it was empty this past weekend, wait until this weekend...

Anonymous said...

The song that is played during player introductions is horrible!! Last year U2 was the theme, which was decent. This current song sucks and gets no one excited.

Silky said...

I'm just kinda bummed that Mankato laid a turd at home this weekend, costing us a matchup with Bemidji and the associated Beaver jokes. Stupid landcows... at least it has been something like 8 years since Mankato has won in Denver. Take em in 2, boys...

Aluuum said...

At Fenway park they play Sweet Caroline during the 8th inning break. The entire 38,000 fans sing it with gusto. We should do the same during a two minute commercial. It would take the entire two minutes so would have to be started right at the start when a T.V. break is on. It's a great crowd sing along, something the students would look forward to and make coming to the game more attractive.

Anonymous said...

Reading the comments on this blog is like watching the movie ground- hog day. Get over it, your student base is primarily made up of academic types from very wealthy families. This is not your typical student body that eats and breathes sports, or for that matter, ever even played a team sport.

Additionally, the DU administration is made up of the same type of academics who "just don't get it" when it comes to sports. If they can get the enrollment maxed out, that's their priority. DU hockey attendance is a long way down the list.

"A top 10 hockey program", I'll agree with that.

Sorry DU hockey faithful, but you have a very large hill to climb when it comes to increasing support/attendance.

Anonymous said...

I saw one, that's right, one fan wearing a DU hockey jersey in St. Paul last year at the final five.

If DU shows up this weekend and makes it to St.Paul, maybe DG and the blog faithful should put their money where their mouth is and support the team at the conference tournament.

Talk is cheap.

Anonymous said...

We need to start filling our home arena first, then worry about the Final Five. You gotta walk before you run.

Anonymous said...

According to the newspaper this past weekend, the attendance was more like 5300-5600, so it was a little more that half full. I think this is all about marketing. It takes money to make money - and DU ain't going to spend money on the kind of ideas we're throwing out - plain and simple. It's not like the team stinks and nobody cares; and not like they're going to CHL or NAHL , or high school games instead of DU games.
I also think if the Avalanche turns thier program around and starts filling up Pepsi - it would overflow to DU hockey games. There's no problem filling up the CSU and CU football stadiums in the fall....... why?
We need more mainstream media news coverage. Rarely a mention on chanels 31, 4, 7 and 9 Sports segments.

Anonymous said...

5:35....well said. We need a full house at home before we start worrying about other venues.

Question for the fellas on campus: does every single one of you have a booty call every Friday and Sat night during the season when DU plays at home? Doubt it. There's no other excuse for not supporting your team. Unless you're getting your knob waxed, get out there and support the Pioneers. Come on fellas!!!

1980 said...

DU students were still in class this past weekend (they still are), so thats the reason. They will be in the middle of finals this weekend, so expect even less of a turn out.

Bottom line, people (student, alumns, community) aren't that into it. I have been to nearly every Friday night game for the past 12 years, and its been pretty consistent (except they year of the NHL lockout) in lack of enthusiasm. I go just because I like hockey. I grew up going to Division III games in northern NY with way more enthusiastic crowds.

DU hockey is what it is, a solid on ice product, no fan base. But I will go this friday (and sunday if need be) and still enjoy it.

1980 said...

typo above
first sentence should have said:

"DU students were still in class this past weekend (they still are), so thats NOT the reason"

Chelsea said...

At Anon 4:56 I'm a student and my friends and I have been going to St.Paul to support our boys for the past three years, we're planning on going again this year. To be fair there was not that many of us going but it has been more than one, which is a step in the right direction. If you are up in the club section be sure to stop by and say hi, fellow supporters are always welcome in our section.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Boone choose Hot Springs over the St Cloud series?

Just sayin - don't blame the band.

puck swami said...

This is complex issue that has been explored many times.

A few thinga about the market:

1) We live in hyper-saturated sports city where DU is hockey is between #10-15 in local fan interest, compared to other pro and major college teams here, so getting publicity is hard. A DU hockey game is luck to make page 15of the Denver Post on most weekends, which means the community doesn't see the games as important. It's way down the pecking order here.

2) DU is an affluent school with a wide out of state population that would mostly rather be skiing. Student attendence is good for name brand opponents and rivals. Not so much for other schools.

3) Colorado fans in general don't get too excited about college sports - all CO teams strugle to fill seats in this state. CU, CSU, DU, etc all struggle at the gate.

4) The local Denver community has a hard time emotionally bonding with a small private school that they think is for rich people, so there are far less casual fans than in other places.

5) Denver is a transient city full of people who didn't grow up here and who maintain their old sports allegiances. It makes it tough to gain new converts.

6) DU is not marketing hockey much, as they sell about 85% of capacity at the box office. Now alot of people have tickets and don't come, which explains most of the empty seats. I think there is direct correlation between no-shows and opponent name brand/rivals. There are about 1,000 ticket holders who don't come to games with non-rivals or non-name brand schools.

Finally, the DU game night experiences now are much better now then five years ago. Band, fight song, Boone, student promotions, grilling society, etc are all fairly recent upgrades. We still have a ways to go, but at some point, the fans need to do their part and show up.

mexico said...

@ Chelsea 7:10

You're cute. Do you have a BF? Do you want to come down south this weekend and "chill" in my hot tub? Let me know so I cancel the male / female escort.

I'll even let you suck my TIGER BLOOD!!!

BBEF said...

@ Swami 8:51 Point # 4

We don’t have that problem down south… How do you explain that?

@ point # 5

C Springs is way more transient than the Mile High City. It’s true, bro.

@ point # 6

Yep, CC markets hockey. Bus stops to billboards. Word gets out.

@ Finally

I’ve never been to the Mag so this is hearsay – I’ve been told (by Denverites) that the CSWA is like a mini Pepsi Center and a much better place to see a game.

BBEF is mexico said...

BBEF - AKA - mexico

Sorry everyone – I also go by the name of mexico…

Anonymous said...

Cleveland Steamer World Arena, is a bland, generic pit! It does have great participation banners though. Gets good crowds cuz it's the only game in town.

Anonymous said...

@ anon 9:14

Grow a pair

Quit hiding dude. It’s embarrassing. Next subject

Anonymous said...

a pair of labia like you?

mexico said...

my bad... anon 9:43 now signed mexico...

I am on a drug. It’s called Charlie Sheen...

Anonymous said...

zzzzzzzzz

mexico said...

@ anon 9:14, 9:46 and 9:49

Go back to the troll whole where you came from.

Swami can stand up for himself.

I’m sure he will come up with a reasonable response and defeat this earthworm with his words.

I’ve got tiger blood and Adonis DNA!

puck swami said...

BBEF:

1. CC struggles with attendance even more than DU does. CC had to cut it ticket prices this year to make up the losses. Both play to about 85% of capacity.

2. Both Colorado Springs and Denver are full of transients. Both are private schools with small student bodies and both struggle to fill seats. CC has far less local competition that Denver does, even though Denver is the bigger city. Same story - we both compete with ski resorts that no other schools really do.

3. CSWA is a decent arena, but it's a municipal rink that has a far less collegiate feel than DU's arena. The townie fans at CC cheer a little more than DU's townies (especially after goals), but DU's game night atmosphere is a little better, IMHO. The band makes a huge difference at DU, and DU has a better student section.

All in all, both schools have a long way to go.

Anonymous said...

yawn, you're a loser using someone elses material. Take your kittie blood and pound sand.

Silky said...

@ mexico 10:00

I'm dealing with fools and trolls and soft targets. It's just strafing runs in my underwear before my first cup of coffee. I don't have time for these clowns.

Anonymous said...

also @ mexico 10:00

I'm sorry, man, but I've got magic. I've got poetry in my fingertips. Most of the time - and this includes naps - I'm an F-18, bro. And I will destroy you in the air. I will deploy my ordinance to the ground.

bring it on, dipwad.

mexico said...

@ silky
LOL!

@ 10:08
I love it!

@ Swami
I knew you would be reasonable but slow down dude.

Ticket prices weren’t cut as much as some people might like to think, especially for marquee games.

CC townies? It’s got to be 80 % townies here. I’m a townie and proud of it. You’re obviously not a townie. Townie is a derogatory term and you know it. Maybe that attitude drives the townies away?

No band… That sucks and you win… Where was your band this past weekend?

We both have a long way to go? Really bro? Where are we going to go? I can’t speak for DU but I think CC is top 10 team in annual attendance.

What is the population of the Denver metro area? 2.5 million? That’s more than just a “bigger city.” It’s a city 5 times the size of Colorado Springs.

What’s my point? No more doom and gloom. The BTHC is done deal. I’m not worried. Maybe I’m stupid. Maybe not. Chill out and enjoy the show. It’s March.