Jarrod Mermis - DU's Most Improved Hockey Player

(above) Unleash The Mermis
by Pete Hayes

Midway through the recently completed college hockey season, University of Denver freshman Jarrod Mermis had an epiphany:


"I started kind of slow," said Mermis, a former Alton High Redbird and Telegraph Hockey Player of the Year. "I was struggling in some areas. The coaches told me to simplify my game. They told me not to try and do too much with the puck."

Simple meant improved for Mermis, who turned his season around so much that he earned a permanent spot at left wing and last week was awarded the team's Murray Armstrong Memorial Award as its most improved player of the season.

"I was surprised," said Mermis, 21. "It really means a lot to me. I wasn't expecting to be recognized for anything like that."

Mermis received his award at the team's 55th annual Hockey Awards Night.

"It's important to me because my teammates voted on it," he said. "I kind of look at it as the Hardest Working Player Award, because if I was the most improved, I probably had to work the hardest."

After the decision to simplify his game, Mermis went from seeing action in just 10 games the first half of the season to playing in 20 games the second half. He had seven points on four goals and three assists, including key goals against St. Cloud State and Bemidgi State.

The University of Denver has one of the top NCAA Division I hockey programs in the nation with seven national championships, including back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005.

This season was supposed to be a rebuilding one for the Pioneers, but they went 25-12-5 and came within a victory of advancing to the NCAA Finals — the Frozen Four. Denver lost to No. 2-ranked North Dakota 6-1 in the Midwest Regional final. It was the Pioneers' fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

"I thought our team performed unbelievably this year," Mermis said. "We had lost a lot of players from last year, but between the freshmen and upperclassmen, we shocked some people.

"Two weeks before (playing North Dakota in the regional final), we lost to them 3-2 in two overtimes," Mermis said.

Mermis has fallen in love with the school and with the city of Denver.

"I really like it in Denver," said Mermis, who is majoring in mathematics. "It's a great school and a great city. I'm so glad I came to Denver."

Even though hockey season is officially over, Mermis is putting his skates to use.

"I do about four workouts a week," he said. "I can't stay away from it."


dggoddard said...

Fun player to watch.

CO14ers said...

UNLEASH THE MERMIS! And, he's a math major to boot. Most excellent.

Aluuum said...

The line of Bennet, Mermis and Nick Shore really came into it's own during the last half of the season . Next year --watch out! It will be a breakout season for them.

Imaws Kcup said...

Gotta love the Mermis. He has the appeal of a hard-working guy like Glasser with a much better scoring touch.

Glad he likes Denver as much as we like him. At the time we recruited him, it seemed that he was toss-in player so we could get his younger brother. Such a pleasant surprise that he stands on his own and there's no doubt he would be a starter even without Dakota.

Something tells me Dakota is gonna be a Sioux killer.

Jordan said...

Too bad Donovan and the PP didn't get the same message about simplifying.

Anonymous said...

The Mermis brothers have had a great role model to watch- Randall McDaniel! Mean on the field, hard working, and a true class act off the field(ice) and one of the nicest, most humble guy you could ever meet. You can certainly tell that Jarrod loves Denver!

dusince59 said...

It was obvious as the season went along that he was improving at a high rate. He is a pleasure to watch play this simple game.

vizoroo said...

UNLEASH THE MERMIS! Became the rallying cry for many DU fans whem a burst of energy was needed. And I agree with Aluum Bennet, Mermis and Nick Shore will be fun to watch next year.

Anonymous said...

The Mermis destroys 6'4" cc defensemen in his sleep...while awake he destroys them and then scores awesome goals.

Anonymous said...

Wait until little brother arrives!!! Mean.

miller said...

Unleash the Mermis indeed!!!

Ok, I received notification today that's it time to pay for my season tickets. As far as I am concerned, this signals the start of what I like to refer to as "speculation season".

Let the predictions begin!

Aluuum said...

Miller --my prediction is Tampa in April.. I'm planning to be there right after we win the regional and hang out on the beach with umbrella and beer cooler for many days before face off time. I'm sure D.G. will show up pretty quick also.

Anonymous said...

Do we know who the captains are?