55th Annual Pioneer Hockey Awards Banquet

Friday April 22nd 6:00 pm

Cable Center 
2000 Buchtel Blvd
Denver, CO 80208

$50 per adult, $40 kids 12 and under

Heavy Hors d’ oeuvres during the silent auction and dessert served during awards program

Hockey Award Sponsorship Levels
Gold $1,000 (table for 8, $600 deductable)
Crimson $500 (table for 4, $300 deductible)
Copper $300 (table for 2, $200 deductable)

RSVP by April 15th, 2011
Website RSVP: denverpioneers.com
email Angel Field: angel.field@du.edu
Call Angel Field: (303) 871.7973

Westword Names DU Hockey "Best College Sports Team"

Westword has been good to us this month.  First they wrote about Metro State wanting to change their name to Denver State and now they've named the University of Denver hockey team the "Best College Sports Team" in the area.  Check out the article, they give props to Jesse Martin.

DU Recruit Zac Larraza Named To Team USA

USA Hockey today announced the 22-player roster for the 2011 U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team that will compete at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Men’s U18 Championship from April 14-24, in Crimmitschau and Dresden, Germany.

University of Denver 2011 recruit Zac Larraza was the only DU recruit named to the team.

Team USA will look to win its third consecutive gold medal after capturing the world title in 2010 in Minsk and Bobruisk, Belarus, and in 2009 in Fargo, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn.

Rhett Rakhshani Named to AHL All-Rookie Team

(above) Rhett Rakhshani broke the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers record for points in a rokkie season

The American Hockey League has announced that DU Alum and Bridgeport Sound Tigers forward Rhett Rakhshani has been named to the 2010-11 AHL All-Rookie Team.  Rakhshani was one of only six players named to the AHL All-Rookie Team.

Rakhshani, 23, earns his second notable league honor this season after representing the Sound Tigers at the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic earlier this season. The Islanders fourth-round pick (100th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft currently leads the Sound Tigers in goals (20), assists (35) and points (55), and is best among AHL rookies in assists, points, and power-play goals (10). In addition, Rakhshani recorded his first professional hat trick against Portland on Mar. 25, 2011, surpassing Jeremy Colliton’s team record for points in a season by a rookie (53). The Huntington Beach, Calif. native has also enjoyed two separate seven-game scoring streaks as well as a six-game multi-point streak and made his NHL debut this season, appearing in two contests with the New York Islanders.

Islanders Announce Matt Donovan Signing

From: NHL.com

The New York Islanders announced today that defenseman Matt Donovan has agreed to terms on an entry-level contract. Donovan will report to the Islanders’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, to play out the remainder of the 2010-11 season on an Amateur Tryout Contract (ATO). His entry-level contract will commence in the upcoming 2011-12 season.

Donovan, 20, led all University of Denver defensemen in scoring this season with a career-best 32 points (nine goals, 23 assists) as a sophomore.

The Islanders selected Donovan in the fourth round (96th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

Matt Donovan Will Sign With Islanders Today

( above) Matt Donovan will sign a contract with the Islanders today
LetsGoDU can confirm that the New York Islanders will sign Matt Donovan to a professional contract today.  Look for an announcement from the Islanders sometime this afternoon.

Donovan, a Sophomore from Edmond, Oklahoma established himself as one of the premier defensemen in college hockey.  Over the course of two season at DU he recorded 16 goals and 37 assists in 78 career games.

This season Donovan was +17 with 9 goals and 23 assists.  He scored the game tying goal with less than two minutes remaining against Western Michigan in the NCAA Regionals.

Donovan's career highlights include winning a gold medal as a member of the 2009-10 USA World Junior Championship team, 2010-11 All-WCHA 2nd Team, WCHA All-Rookie Team member in 2009-10 and a USHL All-Star with Cedar Rapids in 2008-09.

Denver Post Looks At DU's Roster Next Season

(above) Lots of questions in the offseason, but DU should be loaded next season
Mike Chambers of the Denver Post has a very interesting article on the players returning next season.  DU has three players who might turn pro early and two players who could potentially return as 'Red Shirt' Seniors.  

Chambers also lists the incoming Freshman class.  The Pioneers could potentially have their deepest team in years next season if it all breaks correctly.
2011 Recruiting Class
D Scott Mayfield (Youngstown, USHL)
F Zac Larraza (U.S. Under-18)
F Garrett Allen (Chicago, 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)

Video: Chase Carraro Talks About Lax Victory

(above) Is that a Coon Skinned Cap mascot on his Under Armour?

From: LaxPower.com

University of Denver junior Mark Matthews and sophomore Chase Carraro had three goals apiece en route to the Pioneers' 14-7 victory over Air Force on Saturday afternoon in front of a sellout, standing-room only crowd of 2,100 at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.

"Air Force is a tough team, but we came together in this one. When our defense failed our offense was there to pick them up. When our offense failed our defense was there," head coach Bill Tierney said. "We are starting to gel as a team, but we need to keep getting these ECAC wins."

Denver jumped to 6-2 overall and 2-0 in the ECAC with its third win in a row. Air Force falls to 2-6 overall and 0-1 in the ECAC. The Pioneers are now 12-2 all-time against the Falcons in NCAA Division I.

Junior Alex Demopoulos had three assists and two goals in the win. Senior Andrew Lay added two goals and an assist for the Pioneers. Carraro won 18 of 23 faceoffs and grabbed nine ground balls for Denver. Freshman Jamie Faus made nine saves in the win.

News & Notes From Around PioNation

(above) Security video from the lobby of the Aloft Green Bay Hotel appears to show a pasty faced red head tampering with the fire alarm at 7 AM on Sunday morning
DU started four Coloradans against the Fighting Sioux on Sunday.  Drew Shore, Luke Salazar, Chris Nutini and John Ryder.  Certainly a great indicator on the strides youth hockey has made in the state.
Mike Chambers Blog has a story about the fire alarms going off in the team hotel on Sunday morning.
DU's inability to score on several good power play chances early in the second period, cost them some momentum according to the Denver Post.
Good luck to DU's graduating Seniors: Joey Brehm, Jon Cook, Dustin Jackson, Anthony Maiani, Kyle Ostrow, Chris Nutini, Josh Rosenholtz, Jesse Martin & John Ryder.  Martin, Jackson & Ryder have eligibility left and may choose to play for DU next season or in the future.  The Seniors who depart, leave with over 100 career victories and four NCAA Tournament invites.  Both school records.
Congrats to Patrick Wiercioch on recording his first NHL point with the Ottawa Senators. Chris Neil’s goal was originally credited to Nick Foligno, with assists to Neil and Jesse Winchester, but was later changed to Neil from Winchester and Wiercioch.
Yesterday was the busiest day in LetsGoDU history with 2,407 visits.  This month almost 40,000 visits will be recorded.  Sometime over the summer we will receive our millionth visitor.  Thanks as always to our loyal readers, fans, alumni and students who have made this all possible.

NCAA Tournament: North Dakota 6 - DU 1 FINAL

(above) A great season came to an abrupt halt on Sunday night in Green Bay
The long and winding journey of the University of Denver hockey team ran into a final hurdle they couldn't overcome on Sunday night in Green Bay, Wisconsin. North Dakota jumped out to an early lead that proved too difficult to overcome and came away with a 6-1 victory.

Jason Zucker provided a glimmer of hope for DU fans, scoring a tying goal with 0:00.2 seconds remaining in the first period to tie the game at 1-1.

The rest of the game belonged to the Sioux and despite a game effort, there wasn't enough fuel in the tank for the Pioneers.

Video Highlights: DU vs. Western Michigan

Matt Carle Twitter Offers Congrats To Colorado College

(above) PioNation joins Matt Carle in congratulating Colorado College on another successful season

North Dakota Rematch Next Up For Pioneers

(above) DU will look for a better result on Sunday night
While the University of Denver hockey team was fighting for its life in double overtime against Western Michigan, North Dakota players were resting comfortably.  Six hours earlier North Dakota had cruised to an seemingly effortless 6-0 victory over R.P.I.

Fatigue would seem to be a concern for the Pioneers, but Denver coach George Gwozdecky doesn't think it will be.

"If we had to play in a few hours, I'd be more concerned," Gwozdecky said. "These guys are in great shape and we'll let them rest tomorrow and probably not skate (beforehand). We need rest more than we need practice. We will get them rehydrated and the proper meals.

"Those television timeouts take a long time, so I think those will help us (Sunday) at least early in the game."

Chicago Alumni To Watch DU vs UND Game

The Chicago DU Alumni invites you
DU vs. UND Hockey Watch Party

Gaslight Bar & Grille
2426 N Racine Ave
Racine & Montana - one block north of Fullerton
2 Blocks East of CTA Brown/Red, and 76 Bus, Street Parking

Sunday, March 27, 2011
DU Hockey vs. North Dakota
4:00 pm - 8:00 pm CST

Questions or need more info?
Kevin Friduss: kevinfriduss@gmail.com

NCAA Tournament: DU 3 - Western Michigan 2 OT

Trailing 2-0 with 5 minutes to play in the game, Coach Gwozdecky ordered a "Code Red." Kyle Ostrow soon thereafter nailed a power play goal to pull the Pioneers within one.

Then with two minutes to play DU won a faceoff and Matt Donovan nailed the one-timer home to tie the game.

In the second overtime Jason Zucker redirected his own shot that had been blocked into the net.  Zucker finished the game with a goal and two assists.

DU vs. Western Michigan TV Info

Denver's game against Western Michigan can been seen live on Altitude 2 and be heard live on FM 87.7 The TICKET and DenverPioneers.com.

NCAA Tournament Starts With A Shocker

(above) Click to enlarge
Friday's Results

Yale 2 - Air Force 1 OT

DU NCAA Viewing Party At Teddy T's

(above) The Section 18ers will be cheering & venting at Teddy T's this weekend
Where will the rowdiest DU viewing party be this weekend? Teddy T's on East Evans near S. Monaco.

Many of the Section 18ers, who stand all game at Magness Arena, will be hosting the event. With 10 plasma TV’s, Teddy T's is guaranteed to have full broadcast sound for the game.

Steve Lemonidis, a familiar face at Spanky's, has moved his operation over to Teddy T's. The Green Chili rocks. Its a fantastic place to bring your buddies, significant others and even kids! The menu is tops and drink specials will be offered.
Where: Teddy T's - 6635 East Evans  (303) 759-5536
When: Saturday 2:30 - 6:30 PM
Facebook: Event Info
Email: Kent Scantland

Kyle Ostrow Understands How Captains Are Judged

From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers

Senior Kyle Ostrow accepts responsibility and craves pressure.

He's not worrying about being Ostrow-cized.

As a proud member of the University of Denver's first class to qualify for four NCAA Tournaments, the Pioneers' captain will embrace the blame if the seniors become the first class in program history to lose four NCAA Tournament openers [read rest of articles].

DU's Boomer Sooner On The Blueline

(above) Matt Donovan looks to add to his trophy case
by Ryan Aber

The question doesn’t bother Matt Donovan.

He’s used to hearing people asking him, “You’re from where?”

Being a hockey player from Oklahoma who aspires to — and has within his grasp — play at the game’s top level draws plenty of strange looks and plenty of questions.

Matt Donovan Edmond native

“I don’t get it as much now as I used to,” said Donovan, a sophomore defenseman at the University of Denver. “People know me a bit better now and know my story more after the World Juniors last year.

“It’s kind of fun to tell people I’m from Oklahoma, though. There are not many people in this game who can say that, and I’m proud of it.”

The Edmond native and his Denver Pioneers start the NCAA Midwest Regional at 2 p.m. today against Western Michigan in Green Bay, Wis. The game can be seen online at ESPN3.com.

If Denver wins, it will face the winner of top-ranked North Dakota and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Sunday for a berth to the Frozen Four in early April.

Denver lost to North Dakota in double overtime last weekend in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s title game in St. Paul, Minn.

“It was exciting,” said Donovan, a 2008 draft pick of the New York Islanders. “It was kind of tiring and long, but it was a great game to be a part of.”

The Pioneers were 1-2 against the North Dakota this season, but the other two games came early in the year.

“It gave us a lot of confidence if we play them again,” Donovan said. “We’re definitely thinking about getting revenge. That put into our heads that we can hang with those guys and beat them if things go our way.”

Denver started the season slow but came on strong.

“This whole season’s been a learning experience,” Donovan said. “Before the last couple of games, we haven’t had very good starts. But we’ve finally started to figure things out lately.”

Donovan was solid as a freshman, with seven goals and 14 assists for 21 points.

He decided to put more emphasis on defense this season. It has paid off. He is providing the Pioneers better defense and better offensive numbers.

“It was really just more of a concentration on it,” Donovan said. “I think I was trying to do a little too much offensively at times. I’ve always been a good defensive player but wanted to concentrate more on that.”

Donovan has eight goals and 30 points and is plus-17 for this season.

The farther Donovan takes his game, whether it be the Frozen Four or if he makes the NHL, Donovan looks forward to telling the story about his Oklahoma roots.

Even though he had to move to Dallas just after he turned 16 and then to Iowa, where he graduated from high school while playing junior hockey, it was Oklahoma where Donovan’s path toward his dreams began.

“I had to do that to get to where I am now, but I had the right coaches when I was in Oklahoma that got me headed in that direction where it was a possibility. The right coaches are still there, and I think I’ve proved that you can come from Oklahoma and make it.”

David Makowski No Stranger To Green Bay

(left) DU's David Makowski is a pop culture sensation

From: Green Bay Press Gazette
by Rich Palzewic

For all that former Green Bay Gamblers player David Makowski did for the organization — helped them win two Anderson Cups and a Clark Cup — it's probably not what he's best known for.

He'll be remembered most for something he did on Feb. 19 while playing for the University of Denver.

With his team playing short-handed against Michigan Tech, Makowski fired a 190-foot wrist shot from behind his net that found its way past Tech goalie Kevin Genoe. The play even made the "Not Top Ten" list on ESPN's "SportsCenter."

"We were in our zone," Makowski said. "Drew Shore won the faceoff back to me and I was just trying to flip it out and got it over everyone's heads. It took kind of a wild bounce, and in that rink it's so hard to see the puck sometimes when it gets high and gets lost in those crimson-color seats. The goalie might have lost sight of it and I was pretty lucky."

Makowski returns to the Resch Center with his Denver teammates this weekend for the NCAA Division I Midwest Hockey Regional where they will face off against Western Michigan at 4 p.m. today in the second of two semifinal games. The championship game will be at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

"I think there will be quite a few North Dakota and Western Michigan fans, so it might almost be like playing an away game," Makowski said.

Makowski is one of eight Denver players to score at least 25 points this season. The freshman defenseman from Wildwood, Mo., has six goals and 22 assists.

"The (Green Bay) coaching staff is unbelievable at developing players, so the adjustment period wasn't too bad for me," Makowski said. "It took a couple games to get used to the different style — obviously the players are bigger, stronger and faster — but for the most part it wasn't too bad."

In 122 career games with the Gamblers, Makowski registered 88 points and had an amazing +53 plus/minus rating.

"The Gamblers organization is unbelievable from top to bottom," Makowski said. "The coaching, the fans and the game-day staff were great.

"I'm just really excited to be back."

Tyler Bozak Enjoys His Trip Back To Colorado

(above) Tyler Bozak celebrates his homecoming with a goal

From: Toronto Sun
by Rob Longley
If the Leafs hadn’t come calling when they did, second-year centre Tyler Bozak still would be a University of Denver Pioneer.

But the Saskatchewan native isn’t so far removed from his college life that he wasn’t going to enjoy a trip to the Rocky Mountain State.

Besides practising at his own rink on campus on Wednesday, Bozak had dinner with three of his former teammates before they took off for their regional playoff tournament.

“You miss school and you miss everything that goes on with school, but my goal growing up was to make the NHL,” Bozak said when asked if he was tempted to remain in college. “Whenever the opportunity comes, you aren’t going to sit and wait on it so I jumped as soon as I could.

“You miss being around your friends, it was a great group of guys. But it’s a great group of guys here.”

Though he has been too busy to hit the books in his whirlwind two seasons with the Leafs, Bozak says he still intends to finish his business degree by taking some summer courses.

“My parents are on me pretty hard about it,” Bozak said. “I’ll probably try to take a few more courses.”

Denver Post: Martin Feels Snubbed By North Dakota

(above) This article appeared on the front page of the Denver Post sports section today
Mike Chambers has a fiery article in the Denver Post today calling out the North Dakota hockey program and their response throughout the Jesse Martin injury.

Denver Post Profiles The Ryder Truck

(above) John Ryder has evolved into one of the most feared defensemen in the WCHA
From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers

If hard-hitting defenseman John Ryder wasn't already one of the most respected members of the University of Denver hockey team, he earned those stripes early in last Saturday's league championship game in St. Paul, Minnesota [read rest of article].

Hockey Alum's Son To Face DU On Saturday

(above) Craig Roehl scored 53 goals and had 45 assists for the Pioneers
by David Goricki

Derek Roehl will get to experience something his father never did: Compete in the NCAA Tournament in hockey.

Roehl, a junior forward at Western Michigan, also has an added incentive.

He'll play against his father's team — Denver — in Saturday's Midwest Regional semifinal in Green Bay, Wis.

"Words can't describe how excited I am to be playing in the NCAA Tournament," Roehl said. "I've always dreamed of playing in it. It's a chance of a lifetime. We're going to make the most of it. There's no guarantees you'll make it back.

"My dad had the (national) record for shorthanded goals. I followed college hockey and wanted to follow in his footsteps. Now, we'll be playing against his old school. It's pretty exciting."

Roehl's father, Craig, had eight shorthanded goals in 1977-78, helping Denver win the WCHA title. Denver was placed on probation by the NCAA, preventing it from playing in the Tournament.

"I'm very proud of Derek," said Craig, coach of Little Caesars Midget Minor team the last 23 years. "He's worked hard to get this opportunity. It's going to be a neat experience.

"It was a tough thing when we didn't make it. Our probation ended a week after the NCAA Tournament … It was kind of hard not to participate. We felt we had the best team in the country. We still feel we could have beaten BU (Boston University) and (Jim) Craig that year."

But now, the focus turns to the Broncos, who have been the biggest story in hockey.

With a new coach — Jim Culhane was fired after an 8-20-8 season and replaced by Jeff Blashill — and low expectations — Western was picked to finish 10th in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association — the Broncos reached the Tournament for the first time since 1996.

Roehl has three goals, including two winners, and 12 points for the Broncos, who finished 19-12-10 and reached the CCHA championship game. He had a goal and an assist in Western's CCHA semifinal victory over Michigan last week at Joe Louis Arena.

"I grew up going to the Joe, watching college games, so it was amazing to beat Michigan," Roehl said. "Everyone has a lot of confidence going into the NCAA Tournament."

Said sophomore Mike Leone, who plays on the line with Roehl and junior Kyle O'Kane: "I've never been around a team that has worked so hard … The team's success has been unbelievable. Coach just said we're coming to the rink to get better every day."

Leone, who was playing Division III hockey at Adrian last year, has six goals and 14 points, and had a goal and an assist against Michigan.

So, as Western attempts to punch another ticket — the Frozen Four is in Saint Paul, Minn., on April 7 and 9 — the question in the Roehl family is simple:

Who will dad root for?

"I'll be cheering for Derek and the Broncos," said Craig, who still follows Denver's program. 

"Blashill's done a great job. It's an incredible thing, what they've done in such a short amount of time. All the guys bought into the system. They've worked hard, played together and are very disciplined. They have had a chance to win almost every game."

Murray Armstrong's Widow Passes Away

According to Mike Chambers Blog, Freda Armstrong, the wife of late DU hockey coach Murray “Chief” Armstrong, died of heart failure on Thursday. The former Freda Hosler, known to everyone as Sis, was 97.

Murray and Freda met in Syracuse in 1936, while Murray was the leading scorer in the AHL for the Syracuse Stars.  A young woman with a job in a nearby loan company found the nerve to strike up a conversation with Murray. She was accompanied by a co-worker. Murray perked up when he saw the friend. He asked her to go dancing at the Hotel Syracuse and the rest is history.

Their wedding reception was at a downtown Syracuse restaurant. In an interview 16 years ago, Murray said that marrying Freda “was the best move I ever made.”  

Murray and Freda were married for 68 years.  From 1956 until 1977 they lived in Denver, while Murray coached the Pioneers to five National Championships.

The couple retired to Florida in 1977 and played golf together regularly. 

Murray passed away in December, 2010.

They are survived by their son Rob who has written five books, including three on golf in Ireland. Now retired, he was an award-winning commentator at CBS and teaches communications twice a week at Flagler College.

Westword Names DG "Commenter Of The Day"

(above) Click on photo to see Westword

My fame has reached dizzying new heights. :-)

Chambers Blog Visits DU & Maple Leafs Practices

From: Mike Chambers Blog

The Toronto Maple Leafs and University of Denver Pioneers practiced at the same time today inside the Ritchie Center on Wednesday. The Leafs were at Joy Burns Arena, the Pioneers at Magness Arena. With both Zamboni doors open, one team could see the other [read entire article].

Meet North Dakota's New Mascot

(above) This is what happens when DU Admissions accepts students from Grand Forks

Toronto Maple Leafs To Practice At DU Today

(above) Tyler Bozak's Twitter account mentions that he watched the Final 5 on TV
From: Toronto Sun
by Rob Longley

It will be just like old times for Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak when the NHL team practices Wednesday at Magness Arena. The Regina native played two seasons at the University of Denver before being signed by the Leafs. The team was scheduled to fly to Denver immediately following Tuesday’s game to prepare for a date with the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.

Bozak commented on his Twitter Account at 2 AM, "Just landed in Denver. Can't wait to see all the friends."

Bozak frequently tweets about the fortunes of the NCAA Pioneers, where he was an all-star player, WCHA academic performer, still takes off-season classes towards his degree and trains with the Avalanche’s Paul Stastny in the summer.

Hockey News Profiles DU Recruit Scott Mayfield

(above) DU recruit Scott Mayfield is projected to be an NHL first round draft pick this summer
From: The Hockey News
by Ryan Kennedy

The USHL Youngstown Phantoms have all but been eliminated from playoff contention, but for the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Mayfield, at least they’re in the hunt this year.

“I think our attitude is a whole lot different than last year,” he said. “We have something to play for.”

With Youngstown in just its second United States League campaign, growing pains were expected, but at least Phantoms fans can hang their hat on having a legitimate first round talent on the blueline. Mayfield was part of Team USA’s winning entry at the World Jr. A Challenge this season and has embraced his role as a leader in Youngstown, helping newcomers find their place in the room.

“I know it’s hard your first year,” Mayfield said. “That was my first goal this year, to help out and lead by example.”

Though his offensive numbers are down this season, Mayfield noted that with Youngstown adding more offensive pop this year, he could concentrate more on defense. Either way, scouts love Mayfield’s physical attributes and the blueliner is aware of what makes him a highly ranked prospect.

“I try to focus on my skating and my size,” he said. “I can get the puck out of the zone, kind of grind it out and block shots.”

Mayfield still wants to work on his decision-making in the offensive end, but with a commitment to the University of Denver next year, he’ll be getting top teaching to round that out. Draft eligible in 2011.

Patrick Wiercioch Plays First NHL Game

 The Ottawa Senators called up former DU defenseman Patrick Wiercioch from their AHL affiliate, the Binghamton Senators. It's the first NHL call up for Wiercioch, a native of Burnaby, B.C., who was Ottawa's second-round pick (No. 42 in the 2008 Entry Draft).

Wiercioch played against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night and appeared in 9 minutes of action.  Although he was -2 on the evening, he was on the ice for teammate Colin Greening's first goal of the game.  The Senators lost 4-3.

Wiercioch, 20, was fourth among Binghamton defensemen in scoring with 4 goals and 16 points in 64 games. Prior to joining Binghamton for his first pro season, Wiercioch played two seasons with the University of Denver, where he scored 18 goals and had 62 points in 75 games.

DU Tickets For The NCAA Regionals

The University of Denver will face Western Michigan University in the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis., on Saturday, March 26 at 3 p.m. MT.

Pioneer fans can purchase tickets from DU's team allotment by contacting the Ritchie Center Box Office at (303) 871-3573. Ticket packages for the three-game NCAA Midwest Regional are available for $68.

Western Michigan Hockey Team's 7th Man

(above) Gideon Schripsema has played an integral role in Western Michigan University's success this season

Big 10: Minnesota & Wisconsin To Leave WCHA

From: Big Ten Website

The directors of athletics of Big Ten institutions which sponsor men's ice hockey unanimously announced intention today to recommend to the Big Ten Council of Presidents in June the establishment of men's ice hockey as an official conference sport for the 2013-14 academic year with participation by Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin.

The recommendation includes both the establishment of the inaugural Big Ten Men's Ice Hockey Tournament in March of 2014, with the winner earning the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship, and a 20-game conference schedule with each team playing the other five schools four times (two home games and two away games). In addition, the Big Ten's men's ice hockey programs will continue to proactively work to maintain a strong schedule of non-conference competition with the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) and Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA).

In September of 2010, Penn State announced the establishment of men's and women's ice hockey programs set to begin competition in the 2012-13 academic year, giving the Big Ten six institutions sponsoring men's ice hockey. Big Ten rules allow for a conference championship when six institutions sponsor a program in any given sport.

Since Penn State's announcement, the conference has researched and investigated the establishment of men's ice hockey as a conference sport. The conference has sought input and communicated both internally with conference chancellors, presidents, administrators and coaches, and externally with members of the hockey community, including the CCHA and WCHA.

Green Bay's Resch Center To Host DU's Regional

(above) The Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin
Green Bay, WI - The Resch Center is a 8,800 seat multi-purpose arena in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin. Built in 2002, it is the home of the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay men's basketball team, the Green Bay Gamblers USHL ice hockey team, and the Green Bay Blizzard arena football team. The arena was located across the street from Lambeau Field.

Resch Center staff has made new ice and painted it with the NCAA logos in preparation for the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Midwest Regional March 26 & 27. The event will be hosted by Michigan Tech University and PMI Entertainment Group.

The University of Denver, Western Michigan University, the University of North Dakota and R.P.I. will face off on Saturday.

Tickets available at the Resch Center box office, by phone 800-895-0071 or on-line at NCAA.com. Two-day championship all-session tickets (3 games) are $68 each. Single game tickets will not be made available until Monday, March 21 and will only be sold on availability.

You can also contact the University of Denver ticket office and make arrangements to sit in the DU section.

2011 marks the second time Michigan Tech has hosted the NCAA Midwest Regional at the Resch Center. The 2006 regional saw Wisconsin defeat Cornell 1-0 in triple overtime.

Western Michigan's First NCAA Tourney Since 1996

(above) Western Michigan will play DU in the 1st Round of the NCAA Tournament
From: Kalamazoo Gazette
by David Drew

Western Michigan University's hockey team knew it was headed to the NCAA tournament. It didn't make seeing it made official Sunday any less exciting.

The Broncos received an at-large bid and a No. 3 seed in the NCAA hockey tournament and will face the University of Denver at 5 p.m. Saturday at Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis., in the Midwest Regional.

Western Michigan lost 5-2 in Saturday's Central Collegiate Hockey Association championship game, but Friday's semifinal win over Michigan all but locked the Broncos into the NCAA tournament.

WMU last went to the NCAA tournament in 1996.

"It feels good," WMU coach Jeff Blashill said as players exited University Roadhouse after a team gathering to watch the selection show. "I think it's a great moment for our program. It's a great moment for the guys who have put in so much work throughout a great period of time to put themselves in this position as one of 16 teams playing to win four games to have a chance to win a championship.

"I'm extremely excited for our guys and extremely excited for Western Michigan that we're in this position."

The Western Michigan Department of Athletics in conjunction with the WMU Alumni Association are hard at work developing travel packages for alumni, fans and the Lawson Lunatics for Western Michigan hockey's NCAA Tournament game on Saturday against Denver in the Midwest Regional Semifinal at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis.

DU to Face Western Michigan In NCAA Tourney

(above) Click on image to enlarge

Denver Post: Doctors Give Martin Thumbs Up

(above) Jesse Martin introduced at Magness Arena earlier this season
From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers

Senior center Jesse Martin, who graces the cover of the University of Denver's postseason media guide, maintains hopes of playing hockey again after meeting with one of the neurosurgeons that repaired three fractures to his C2 vertebra in November.

"He said if I took the same hit today, my neck would have never broken," Martin said. "It's 10 times as strong as it was because of the screw and how well the bones healed around the screw [read entire article]."
"Before, he could not squeeze your hand, basically. Now, I tell him, 'Go easy on my hands, I make a living with these.' "
- Dr. Alejandro Mendez

Zucker Gets Trial Run In Xcel Center

Jason Zucker
From: Star-Tribune
by Michael Russo

Because so many people ask Jason Zucker if he thinks he'll sign with the Wild after the college season ends, the University of Denver freshman just assumed that's what was meant when he was asked how much he hoped to wind up back at Xcel Energy Center in three weeks.

"If it happens, great. If not, I'll be really excited go back to Denver. It's a great place, great coaching, great team ..." Zucker said after the Pioneers lost 3-2 in double overtime to North Dakota in the WCHA Final Five championship Saturday night.

Told the reporter meant the "NCAA Frozen Four," the WCHA Rookie of the Year said, "Oh, oh, oh. Yeah, that's the goal. To get back here. We've got to win two more games, and we'll give it our best shot."

Zucker, a force for much of Denver's season and especially in the first overtime Saturday, was excited to get a taste of playing at the X, where he hopes to play a lot someday. He missed much of the second period because of an elbow injury.

"It'll be fine," he said.

The Wild doesn't want Zucker, a 2010 second-round draft pick, to worry about becoming an NHLer yet.

"He's played in a lot of big games at the world juniors, and now he gets a chance to play for a national championship," assistant general manager Brent Flahr said. "It's great experience and great for his development."

The Wild will evaluate after the season whether it should sign Zucker. But it seems unlikely. Zucker is 19 and has a chance to be a true star at Denver next season.

"You just look at where's he best suited to develop," Flahr said. "Obviously he's got to put on weight and get stronger. He's in a good program. They're a good young team. They're going to be good again next year. I think he enjoys it there.

"I think it's a pretty good place to develop. We're happy, and I think he's happy."

WCHA Final 5 Championship Night Photos

(above) Planet of the Sioux

(above) Maybe one more cocktail

(above) It was a sea of green in the stands

(above) Live music between periods added to the festive atmosphere

(above) The line to cash unemployment checks

(above) Magness Arena could use a lot more of this...

(above) The Ryder Truck goes airborne

Colorado Has Three Teams In NCAA Tourney

(above) Air Force will play Yale on Friday afternoon while Colorado College will face Boston College later in the evening
From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers

Colorado's three Division I hockey teams landed at different regionals today as the 16-team NCAA Tournament was announced.

The University of Denver (24-11-5) earned the No. 2 seed at the Midwest Regional in Green Bay, Wis., and will open against No. 3 Western Michigan (19-12-10) on Saturday at 3 PM MT. The winner will play either No. 1 North Dakota (30-8-3) or No. 4 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (20-12-5) on Sunday [read entire article].

Mario Lucia Considering DU, CC & Notre Dame

(left) Mario Lucia, the top-rated recruit in Minnesota, is considering DU, Colorado College and Notre Dame

From: Star-Tribune Blog
by Roman Augustoviz

The top-rated, Minnesota high school prospect for the 2011 NHL draft is Mario Lucia, according to the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau.  He is expected to be a 1st Round Draft choice in June.

That's right, he's the son of University of Minnesota head coach Don Lucia. The junior forward at Wayzata  has a knack for scoring goals. He often stations himself around the net and is hard to move.

Mario, his father said, has not made a college decision yet. The Gophers might not be his choice.

"There is a lot to that," Don Lucia said on Wednesday. "Part of me wants to be his dad, not his coach. For him a lot goes into [his decision]. He is a different type of player. There are a lot of dynamics that go into your locker room. It is one thing if you are a coach’s son killing penalties, it is another issue if you are the coach’s son on the power play."

Mario will play on the power play wherever he goes. He is bigger already than his older brother, Tony, was. Mario is listed at 6-2.

"So what is best for him? There is more that goes into it because he is a different player than Tony," Don Lucia said.

Mario has said that he is looking at Colorado College, where his father once coached, and Denver as other WCHA options. Notre Dame, his father's alma mater, is probably another option outside the conference.

WCHA Final 5 Championship: DU vs. North Dakota

(above) Go DU - Beat The Sioux
"A Championship is something that no one can ever take away from you. Regardless of what you do for the rest of your life...if you win tonight, you'll be able to say: 'We won, I am a Champion!"
- Former DU Head Coach Murray Armstrong

WCHA Championship Game - Saturday 6 PM MT
NCAA Hockey Tourney Selection Show
ESPN2 - Sunday 9:30 AM MT

Pairwise Rankings

87.7 Denver Radio Broadcast

Erich Bacher's DU Live Game Chat

(above) Click on Lineup Chart to enlarge

Denver Restaurants Showing Final 5 Championship

(above) DU will look to add some WCHA hardware this weekend
Four locations in the Denver area will host watch parties for fans interested in supporting the 15-time WCHA playoff champion University of Denver take on the University of North Dakota in the championship game of the 2011 Red Baron WCHA Final Five at 6 PM MT.

The game will be televised live by Fox Sports Rocky Mountain and FSNorth, and broadcast live on 87-7 The Ticket.

Denver Hockey Final 5 Watch Sites

Crimson & Gold Tavern
2017 S. University Blvd.

Old Chicago
1280 South Colorado Blvd.

The Pioneer
2401 South University Blvd.

Campus Lounge
701 South University Blvd.

Photos From Day Two Of The Final 5

(above) DU student Matt Bick is interviewed before the game by the Xcel Center video team for a feature on the Jumbotron
(above) The Beaver

(above) Kyle Ostrow's helmet features many half eaten jelly donuts

(above) The Goal Czar inspects the troops before leading them into battle

(above) Think Jason Zucker doesn't like to play hockey?  He the first player on the ice, skates at 90 M.P.H. during warm-ups, is the last player off the ice and here helps the equipment managers pick up the pucks after warm-ups

Good times at McGovern's Pub after the game

(above) Sure he's arrogant, but when you're the best damn play by play radio voice in the W.C.H.A. you can get away with it.  Jay Stickney resting the pipes on the night before the Final 5 Championship Game