Finnish Goaltender Commits To DU

The Sioux Falls Stampede announced that goaltender Juho Olkinuora (6'0 181 lbs.) has committed to the University of Denver for the upcoming 2011-12 season.
2011 Recruiting Class
D Scott Mayfield (Youngstown, USHL)
F Zac Larraza (U.S. Under-18)
D Joey LaLeggia (Penticton Vees, BCHL)
F Larkin Jacobson (Janesville Jets, NAHL)
D-F Wade Bennett (Wichita Falls, NAHL)
F Matt Tabrum (Omaha, USHL)
D Josiah Didier (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
F Daniel Doremus (Sioux Falls, USHL)
G Juho Olkinuora (Sioux Falls, USHL)

2012 Recruiting Class
F Tyler Pham (Indiana Ice, USHL)
D Dakota Mermis (U.S. Under-18)
D Matt Van Voorhis (Sioux Falls, USHL)
F Garrett Allen (Chicago, USHL)
D Nolan Zajac (Cedar Rapids, USHL)

2013 Recruiting Class
F Brad Hawkinson (Colorado Thunderbirds U-18)
F Landon Smith (Colorado Thunderbirds U-18)

Tierney Recaps DU's Epic Lacrosse Season

(above) Bill Tierney reflects on an epic season for DU Lacrosse
by Bill Alden

Bill Tierney is back east this month at some of his old stomping grounds, working at the elite “Top 205” lacrosse camps in the Baltimore area.

On Memorial Day weekend, the former Princeton University men’s lacrosse head coach and current University of Denver boss, returned to another stomping ground as he guided the Pioneers to the NCAA Final 4.

While Hall of Fame coach Tierney was an old hand at the national semifinals, having guided Princeton to 10 Final 4 and six national titles, Denver was a surprise guest at the lax party.

Denver had never won an NCAA tournament game until topping Villanova and Johns Hopkins this spring on the way to the Final 4 and no program west of Notre Dame had ever made the semis.

For Tierney, Denver’s run conjured up memories of his first trip to the Final 4 in 1992 when the Tigers toppled North Carolina and Syracuse on the way to the program’s first national title.

“It did remind me of my first time around,” said Tierney, whose sixth-seeded squad fell 14-8 to eventual national champion Virginia in the semis to end the season at 15-3. “It was the first time for the program. It was all new and they were the underdogs.”

While much of the lax world may have been surprised to see the upstart Pioneers in the Final 4, Tierney had believed for some time that his squad had the potential to challenge for a national title.

“We were thinking about the Final 4 since September,” said Tierney, who was in his second year at Denver and had led the Pioneers to a 12-5 record in his debut season in 2010.

“We knew we were good but the kids didn’t believe it. We set high goals and if we didn’t meet them, that would be OK.”

The dreams of the Final 4 seemed to be fantasy when Denver opened its 2011 season by falling to Syracuse 13-7 in late February.

“Going into the spring, we were thinking we could be pretty good and then we got punched in the nose by Syracuse,” said Tierney. “It is a tough place to play.”

The Pioneers bounced back by winning three straight games and then showed how tough they could be as they narrowly lost 10-9 to No. 3 Notre Dame in mid-March and later upended No. 4 Duke 12-9 on April 9.

“The Notre Dame loss was a turning point; we did everything right except outscore them,” asserted Tierney.

“The Notre Dame game showed us we we could play with the big teams and the Duke game showed we could beat them.”

The win over Duke helped Denver earn a home game in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, the first time a game in the tourney had taken place west of the Mississippi River.

The Pioneers made their home fans happy, overcoming Villanova 13-10 in a topsy-turvy contest.

“Getting a home game was something we wanted but it put a lot of pressure on the guys,” said Tierney. “It turned out to be a great day, it was a great crowd and a tough game.”

A week later, Denver produced what turned out to be the greatest day of its season as it stunned traditional powerhouse Johns Hopkins 14-9 in the NCAA quarters to punch its ticket to Baltimore and the Final 4.

“We were playing with house money; the guys were loose and we had nothing to lose,” recalled Tierney. “That was the best we played. The offense came together and the defense held things together when they made their storm.”

The Pioneers, though, got caught in a storm in the early going against Virginia in the national semis, falling behind 9-2 by halftime.

“The day before the Final 4 was the first time they showed a nervousness about them,” said Tierney, noting that making semis spawned a storm of media coverage in Denver and sparked former players and coaching colleagues to reach out to him with congratulations.

“Playing a team like Virginia before a crowd of 45,000 was unlike anything they had seen. They did a good job in the second half. I give the kids a lot of credit. I felt bad that we lost but a week later you realize what a good season it was. They learned some things they had to learn. They learned what it takes and that it is hard to get there.”

Tierney, for his part, believes the Pioneers can make some more trips to his NCAA stomping grounds.

“We were hoping to get to the Final 4 in five years and we made it in two,” said Tierney.

“I think we can get back. It is really exciting. DU is a wonderful place to work; it is like a family. Our success brought the campus together; people were really into it.”

DU Adds Matt Thomas To Hockey Coaching Staff

Matt Thomas
The University of Denver will add Matt Thomas to the coaching staff in August as the volunteer assistant coach for the 2011-12 hockey season.  Matty is the older brother of former DU hockey captain Andrew Thomas ('08).

Matt was a four year player at the Naval Academy (2001-'05) and co-captain his Senior season. For the past two seasons Matty was an assistant coach for the Navy hockey program while he was stationed in Washington DC at the Navy's Military Sealift Command.  Prior to that he spent four years serving his country attaining the rank of Lieutenant stationed on the USS Monterey and the USS Elrod in the Persian Gulf.

Matty's father Larry was a long-time WCHA referee and younger brother Andy currently plays professionally for the AHL Albany Devils. Andy was a member of the 2005 University of Denver National Championship team. Profiles Scott Mayfield

(above) Kyle Okposo, Scott Mayfield & Islander owner Charles Wang
by Scott Burnside

Every once in a while, Scott Mayfield's mom, Jane, would see her teenage son on Skype at the end of a long day of practicing, schoolwork and workouts and wish she wasn't a 10-hour drive away.

"I didn't like what I saw. He was too tired," Jane Mayfield acknowledged [read entire article].

DU Alum Chris Butler Traded To Calgary

(above) DU alum Chris Butler was traded on the eve of the NHL Draft to Calgary
From: Calgary Herald
by Vicki Hall

The newest member of the Calgary Flames defensive corps credits his mother for passing down the inner fire necessary for a career in the National Hockey League.

"I would say I probably get my competitive side from my mom a little more than I do my dad," Chris Butler said Saturday via cellphone from his off-season home in St. Louis. "She doesn't mess around."

The Boston Bruins actually selected Butler's dad Doug in the fifth round of the 1977 NHL entry draft. He toiled for two seasons in the American Hockey League before calling it a career.

Butler's mother Martha played field hockey at St. Louis University.

"You carry around a big wooden stick in field hockey," Butler said with a chuckle. "I think she knew how to use it pretty well."

Butler, 24, chooses to look at the positive side of Saturday's trade from Buffalo to Calgary. On Saturday morning, the Sabres finalized a deal that saw Butler and centre Paul Byron, 22, head west for defenceman Robyn Regehr, forward Ales Kotalik and a secondround draft pick in 2012.

"I just had a chance to talk to coach (Brent) Sutter," Butler explained. "He said they're really trying to get a group of defencemen there who are mobile and can contribute offensively but at the same time be responsible defensively.

"I like to hear that. I think that's the way I look at my game."

Butler broke into the NHL in 2008-09, registering two goals and six points in 47 games. The following season, the six-foot-one, 203-pounder suited up for 59 games and scored 21 points. One problem: he went minus-15 in the process.

"If you didn't read or know, he fell off a cliff in '09-10," said agent Allain Roy. "He never got going until late last year."

During the stretch run, Butler indeed logged steady minutes paired with Tyler Myers.

"Things turned around and were really headed in the right direction for me," Butler said. "So it was a good mindset for me coming into the off-season."

Buffalo GM Darcy Regier praised the developing rearguard.

"He's a terrific person," Regier told reporters in St. Paul. "A good player. Unfortunately, these are decisions you have to make . . . because of what you think are the needs. And Calgary was insistent on him being part of the deal. Chris Butler is an outstanding young man with, I think, tremendous upside in the league. Very good puckmover, very good skater. And I think he'll have a very good career."

Four DU Players Selected In NHL Draft

(above) Scott Mayfield all-access on NHL TV

Four University of Denver hockey players were selected in the NHL Draft on Saturday morning at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
2nd Round (#34) - Scott Mayfield D, New York Islanders
3rd Round (#82) - Nick Shore C, Los Angeles Kings

4th Round (#97) - Josiah Didier D, Montreal Canadiens
7th Round (#196) - Zac Larraza RW, Phoenix Coyotes

NHL Draft Day Questions For DU Prospects

The 2011 NHL Draft begins today from Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul at 5 PM MT. First round draft coverage will be on Versus, who once again will be simulcasting the feed from TSN (Canada's version of ESPN). The NHL Network will be airing its First Round Draft Recap starting at 9:00 p.m. CDT.

Saturday's draft coverage will be broadcast beginning at 9 AM MT on NHL Network and features rounds 2-7.

Four University of Denver hockey players are likely to be selected, but heading into the draft three questions face the Pioneer prospects.

1). Will Scott Mayfield be selected in the first round?

2). Could all four DU candidates be drafted in the first 100 selections?

3). Joey LaLeggia's BCHL stats and league awards are amazing and yet no one mentions him as a draft candidate. Why not?

Denver Post Looks At DU's NHL Prospects

From: Denver Post
by Sarah Kuta

The University of Denver has several early-round prospects for the NHL draft today and Saturday. Coach George Gwozdecky spoke highly of the four prospects, and added that the players demonstrate the success of recruiting efforts at DU.

"You're only as good as the players you have in your program," Gwozdecky said [read rest of article]. Profiles Beau Bennett

by Michael Crechiolo

Beau Bennett is a changed man.

A lot has happened in the year since he was selected in the first round (20th overall) by the Penguins in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, with the most noticeable change being one of a physical nature.

Bennett has packed 23 pounds of muscle onto his 6-foot-1 frame since the draft, going from 173 pounds to his current weight of 196 pounds.

He also just finished his freshman year at Denver University, where not only did he have to make the transition to the college game from junior A hockey, but the 18-year-old California native had to adjust to living on his own for the first time.

As of now, Bennett plans on turning pro at the end of his sophomore season. But if he doesn’t feel ready by that point in time, he’s willing to continue developing as a player and person in the program that Denver offers.

“My goal from the get-go is two years of college, and hopefully I’m ready by then,” he said. “But if not, I’m at a great place in Denver with great coaches, great friends and great teammates, so I’m more than willing and ready to stay as long as I need to to feel ready for the next level.”

For now, he plans on continuing to enjoy playing the game he loves while becoming the best player he can be for both his Denver coaches and those in the Pittsburgh organization.

“I come to the rink every day excited to skate, ready to skate and I have fun with it,” he said. “I do know there’s things I need to get better on, but one thing I identified early that I need to get stronger and better defensively. It’s no secret, and I just need to keep pushing myself and that’ll make my coaches in Denver happy and then hopefully, down the line, the people in Pittsburgh as well.” [read entire article].

LetsGoDU Goes Over One Million Visits

It took 5 years and 8 months, but sometime Wednesday afternoon the one millionth visitor clicked onto LetsGoDU

Of course the Denver Post website gets a million visitors on a good day, so its all relative.  On the other hand LetsGoDU probably lost less money than the Post in the last year.

Thanks to everyone who contributes their time and energy to making this the most fun blog in college hockey.

Matt Brown Retires To Coach DU Lax Fulltime

(above) Matt Brown will devote his energies full time to the University of Denver lacrosse program
From: Denver Post

Major League Lacrosse veteran Matt Brown retired Wednesday from the Denver Outlaws, shifting his attention from professional lacrosse player to college coach.

Brown this month was promoted to associate head coach at the University of Denver under coach Bill Tierney . So the attackman left the Outlaws after five years with the team.

"Matt has been an important part of the Outlaws franchise from the very beginning," Outlaws general manager Brian Reese said. "I can't say enough good things about Matt. He is a great team player, a tremendous ambassador for the sport in Colorado and he is one of the best goal scorers in MLL history."

Brown scored 138 goals in five MLL seasons, all in Denver. He ranks second in team history in goals scored and third in points. He is ranked 20th in MLL history in goals.

Before playing professionally in the MLL, Brown was a four-year starter at DU.

Since "the day I accepted this position at DU, Matt Brown has been at my side," Tierney said. "Without him I would have been lost. He is loyal, trustworthy and tireless in his efforts for our program."

Beau Bennett Podcast

Beau Bennett was interviewed back in April. The podcast gives some good insight into Beau's Freshman season and his older brother Wade who will be joining the University of Denver hockey team this Fall.  

Also on DU's recruiting radar one day may be Beau & Wade's younger brother Shane (15 years old) who is trying out for the BCHL Penticton Vee's this summer.

Hockey's Future Evaluates Nick Shore

(above) Nick Shore draft status is profiled by Hockey's Future
Hockey's Future lists DU Sophomore forward Nick Shore as the #3 ranked college eligible player available in the NHL Draft this weekend.  D.J. Powers evaluates Nick's freshman campaign at DU and breaks down his game.

Shore is projected by ISS to be selected later in the second round in the NHL Draft.

Josiah Didier May Surprise In NHL Draft

The 2011 NHL Entry Draft is scheduled to be held on June 24–25, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. University of Denver incoming Freshman defenseman Josiah Didier (6'2 - 200 lbs.) may be selected sooner that his #108 Final Ranking by the International Scouting Service.  His projected draft position has risen steadily all season, and some think that he could be drafted as high as the second of third round.

Josiah Didier, D Cedar Rapids (USHL) - We're told that this kid is one of the bigger sleepers being mentioned in NHL circles and that someone could jump on him earlier than conventional thought. With good size, mobility and the raw tools to develop into a big league blue liner eventually, he's been under the radar for much of the season. Plays with an edge and will jump into the play/has puck-moving skills. He's got a lot to learn and may not have the instincts to be a two-way defenseman and regular in the NHL, but with his impressive physical attributes, is worth taking a chance on.

"Strong, raw defender who shows improvement. Skates and moves well. His arms allow him to use his stick to clog passing lanes, but still needs to play a tougher style and improve in judgement, skating, and offensive acumen," according to Bill Placzek

Mayfield Heads Into Draft WIth Confidence

Scott Mayfield

Scott Mayfield is a pretty bright hockey player, but he's also smart enough to understand there are things he doesn't know. Like why, when he messed up a drill with the Youngstown Hounds of the USHL, his coach would yell at him.

Spending the spring working with a peewee team near his home in Webster Groves, Mo., has given Mayfield a whole new perspective on the player/coach dynamic.

"It's frustrating when kids mess up a drill you just put together and drew it up on the board," Mayfield told "We still do that in the USHL. We mess up drills all the time. Just kind of happens. Gives me a different light on hockey.

"It's hard when you sit there and draw up a drill for 20 minutes and then it takes another 30 for them to get it, but that's just how it is. I think it only gets harder when you're dealing with 18- or 20-year-olds messing up drills."

Hockey coaches everywhere are nodding in agreement.

However, those same coaches have had few problems with Mayfield over the years. The 6-foot-4, 197-pound defenseman had 7 goals, 9 assists and 154 penalty minutes in 52 USHL games this past season. NHL Central Scouting ranks him 24th among North American skaters for the 2011 Entry Draft.

"Scott plays the body well and is physical but not in an overly rambunctious way," said Central Scouting's Gary Eggleston. "He can close off the forechecker up high and is controlled, poised and calm in his play. He plays like a seasoned veteran. Scott has a smooth, strong and effortless stride, his passes are crisp and he sees the ice well. He has a very good wrist shot and controls the play from the point on the power play."

Mayfield's season started off with a bang, as he helped the U.S. win gold at the 2010 World Junior 'A' Challenge and was named tournament MVP. He had just 1 assist in four games, but his strong defensive effort earned him recognition.

"I played a different style of hockey there than I had to play in Youngstown," said Mayfield. "I had to be a little more offensive in Youngstown, that's what the team needed. But at the Junior 'A' Challenge I was all shut-down defense. I had one point they told me in the tournament, but at the same time, I had four, five, six blocked shots a game. Confidence-wise that was huge for me."

Mayfield was less than thrilled how the rest of his season went, however. His offense dipped from the 10 goals and 22 points he had in 2009-10 with Youngstown, and the Phantoms missed the playoffs.

"I had some numbers in mind I didn't reach," he said. "I made it to the (NHL Scouting) Combine, which was a goal of mine. I wanted to be ranked by Central Scouting at the end of the year. That was a goal of mine. I hit some of my goals. I was fortunate to win a gold medal with USA at Junior 'A' Challenge. That was a great experience. Individual success there was also great. There were plusses to the season. But we missed playoffs by two points. I try to take the positives out of everything, and that showed every game matters. If we had won one more game we'd have been in playoffs and we would have stayed an extra two weeks, three weeks, four weeks even. That was rough, missing the playoffs. My offense wasn't as good as the previous year. But at the same time, I got bigger, I got stronger and just moving away (from home) helped me grow up."

He's going to be moving a bit farther from home in the fall, when he starts at the University of Denver. There are some family ties to the area, however. His father graduated from the University of Denver School of Law and his older brother, Patrick, plays club hockey less than an hour away at the Air Force Academy.

"I feel like it's the right fit for me," he said of the Denver program. "The coaches are great; the coaching style plays exactly how I play. I'm a little more offensive, I like to jump into the play and that's what they emphasize in their (defensemen)."

While Mayfield enjoys creating offense from the back end, he said he knows he can't forget about his other responsibilities.

"I have to find that median," he said. "I can't be in the offensive zone the whole game. With my size, my skating ability, I need to be back on defense, too. There's a median, but at the same time I'm never going to be just a stay-at-home defenseman. I love skating the puck up the ice. I feel like once I find that balance between both is when I'll play my best hockey."

Helping him find that balance will be the coaching staff at Denver. And based on his experiences the last offseasons, he'll have a new appreciation for how tough a job his coaches have.

"It's more about giving him a better perspective on the relationship with coaches," Dave Gareth, the Webster Groves Ice Arena Facility Manager who coaches the peewee team and works with Mayfield, told "Now he's looking at it from their perspective, rather than just a player's perspective."

Gareth also sees Mayfield's work with younger players -- something Mayfield also said he did in the Youngstown area -- as Mayfield's way of giving back.

"He loves the game," said Gareth. "He knows he's a fortunate kid and he was jumping at the chance to be on the ice, but also start putting something back into the game. That would be a life-long goal for him, to always trying to pay back."

Mayfield also said whenever his playing career ends, he could see himself behind a bench rather than sitting on one.

"I love hockey so much. I feel that if the NHL, if professional hockey doesn't work out, I want to stay around," he said. "Whether it's media, coverage, anything -- coaching, anything with hockey."

Before then, though, he'll continue working toward his goal of playing in the NHL, with a bit of a better understanding of what goes into getting a player there.

"I understood it in Youngstown, when the coaches get mad at different things I didn't understand. I get it a little more."

Photos: Boone Visits Coors Field & Colorado Rockies

Last Saturday Boone was invited to Coors Field by the Colorado Rockies baseball club.  Rookiefest was a kids event immediately before the Colorado Rockies vs. Detroit Tigers baseball game.

Boone posed for photos with Denver's other mascots including Dinger (Dinosaur/Rockies), Rocky (Mountain Lion/Nuggets), Miles (Horse/Broncos) and Jorge (Racoon/Rapids) as well as many fans and DU alumni.

Click on photo above to see individual photos.

Blog Gives Comprehensive Review Of Zac Larraza

(above) Zac Larraza saw his draft stock rise steadily this past season
The 2011 NHL Entry Draft is scheduled to be held on June 24–25, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. University of Denver incoming Freshman forward Zac Larraza (6'2 - 195 lbs.) will certainly be drafted, but the question is where?

Larraza has size and skating ability to be a high draft pick, but his statistics on the USNDT the past two seasons were underwhelming. In Lou We Trust, breaks down Larraza's game and lists many interesting quotes from NHL scouts.
Zac Larraza, Forward - As far as physical tools go, they don't come much better than this Arizonian. Good size? Check- 6-2, 195. Great skater? Check- rangy with quick burst and fluid stride and agility. Puck skills? Check- can make moves at speed and back defenses up. Where it gets dicey is in the intangibles department and thus far, he's not been able to put all of his impressive parts together. He's played better as the season progressed, and there is a lot of raw upside here, but some scouts just don't feel that he's ever going to get it. He's going to Denver University, so if he's going to develop into a legitimate NHL prospect, it will happen there or it won't happen anywhere. Worth a mid-round gamble because of what he brings to the table.

Slow Play Penalty Strokes Leads To DU Victory

(above) DU golfer C.J. Kim won the Colorado Public Links Championship by one stroke after his closest rivals were penalized for slow play
From: Denver Post

University of Denver golfer C.J. Kim shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday and won the Colorado Golf Association's Public Links Championship by one stroke after his two closest competitors were assessed one-shot penalties for slow play at Buffalo Run Golf Course in Commerce City.

Kim finished the tournament at 6-under 210.

CU golfer Derek Fribbs and Colorado State's Zahkai Brown held the lead during the final round. But their over-par rounds, combined with the penalties, left them in second and third place, respectively.

Fribbs (76—211) ended up a stroke behind Kim, and Brown (74—212) was another shot back.

"I understand they were going for the championship, but they're held to the same standard as every other group out there," Pete Lis, the CGA's director of rules and competitions, said of his decision to penalize the group.

R.I.T. Bad Boy Arrested For Money Laundering

R.I.T.'s Michael Colavecchia

Its the oldest story in hockey.  A Canadian hockey player comes down to the United States on a college scholarship.  Then when he returns home after his Freshman season he is arrested by the Toronto Police Department for money laundering, having fraudulantly obtained money in his bank account and conspiracy.  Oh yeah, his Mom and Dad are chucked in jail as well.
"Michael Colavecchia, who recently completed his freshman season (6g, 12a) at Rochester Institute of Technology, was arrested this week and charged with money laundering and conspiracy in an alleged scheme to defraud the Toronto Transit Commission [read entire article]."

Incoming Freshman Familiar With Denver

Scott Mayfield
by Tom Williams

Scott Mayfield said he is “more excited than anxious” in anticipation of next week’s NHL draft.

“It’s new chapter in new life and I am kind of ready for it,” said Mayfield in a telephone interview from his home in St. Louis.

On Wednesday the Youngstown Phantoms defensemen will travel to St. Paul, Minn., for the draft, which begins on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Excel Energy Center, the home of the Minnesota Wild.

Mayfield, who plans to play for the University of Denver this fall, is projected to be a middle-to-late first-round selection.

Mayfield will make the trip with goaltender Matt Mahalak, who was the Phantoms’ backup goalie during the 2009-10 season, the team’s first in the USHL.

Last season, Mahalak was a backup goalie for the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers. He had eight wins, eight losses, one overtime loss and one shootout loss.

In a ranking of North American goalies eligible for the draft, Mahalak is eighth.

Mayfield resumed regular skating two weeks ago in case he’s drafted by a team that holds a rookie camp after the draft.

“I have no idea what my summer will look like,” he said. “But if there is a camp, I know it won’t take up my whole summer.”

Even though his classes won’t begin until mid-September, Mayfield plans to be in Denver a month early to get acclimated. He looks forward to using the trail bicycle he purchased.

And he won’t be far from family as his brother, Patrick, is at the Air Force Academy about 90 minutes south of Denver in Colorado Springs.

“My Dad went to law school at DU, so we’re familiar with the city,” Mayfield said.

He’s undecided on his major but is leaning toward Hotel & Restaurant Management, something he figures could come in handy once his playing days are over.

Website Profiles DU Recruit Scott Mayfield

(above) DU recruit Scott Mayfield is expected to be drafted in the first or second round next weekend
The 2011 NHL Entry Draft is scheduled to be held on June 24–25, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. University of Denver incoming Freshman Scott Mayfield is projected to be selected late in the first or in the second round.

Last month, Mayfield took part in the NHL Draft Combine in Toronto as he continues his journey toward the Draft. He and his family will head up to Minnesota on Wednesday before the draft.
Scouting Report Highlights: [from:]

Mayfield plays well at both ends of the ice, but isn’t particularly spectacular in any area at the young point in his career. Sees the ice well, and has a strong outlet pass. He won’t ever be a premier puck mover, but he will definitely contribute to the offense next year at the University of Denver.

“What everyone does agree on is that Mayfield owns the skills to be a first pair defenseman in the NHL. Also, he uses his 6’4” 200lb frame to play with a nasty edge. He skates well with a powerful stride that allows him to take ice quickly and move well laterally, Mayfield’s 1 on 1 skills were without par at the USHL level including the USNTDP squads. His long reach, good footwork and text book technique made him very difficult to beat.”

DU Soccer Adds Two New Players

Joe Eubanks
UC Santa Barbara transfer Joe Eubanks and Christian Volesky of Henderson, Nev., will join the University of Denver soccer team this fall.

Eubanks, a product of Mullen High School, earned his undergraduate degree in business but has two years of NCAA eligibility because of injuries his freshman and sophomore years. Because he has his degree he won't have to sit out a year. He played in 11 matches at UCSB in 2011, scoring three goals.

Volesky, a four-time state champion from Foothill High School, scored a state-high 32 goals and was voted the most valuable player of the Southeast Region.

Hockey Season Ticket Select-A-Seat Event

Annual season ticket Select-A-Seat Event

Magness Arena
Friday, June 24th
9:00am – 5:00pm

This is your opportunity to select your exact season ticket seat location for the 2011-12 Pioneer season. DU has several exciting options to choose from including: Premium Seating (Gold or Crimson Clubs), Full Season Ticket Locations (24 Games), and Friday or Saturday Power Packs (12 Games).

DU Adds Top-Notch Soccer Coach To Stable

Mike Freitag
The University of Denver Soccer program stunned the college soccer community this week signing a National Championship winning head coach as an unpaid assistant. Mike Freitag, one of the most well-respected coaches in American soccer, has joined the University of Denver men's soccer staff, head coach Bobby Muuss announced.

Freitag, spent 24 years at the Indiana University playing and coaching. Only St. Louis has won more National Championships than Indiana and Frietag was involved with most of Indiana's championships as a player, assistant coach and head coach.

Freitag is one of just three coaches in the history of the NCAA to lead his team to a national title in his first season as head coach, guiding the Hoosiers to the 2004 NCAA title. Freitag was part of three national titles as the head assistant for long-time head coach Jerry Yeagley in 1998, 1999 and 2003. He was also part of the 1983 national title as a graduate assistant.

"Coach Freitag and the experiences he has had as a coach instantly make the University of Denver men's soccer program better," Muuss said. "Competing for national championships is this program's ultimate goal, and Coach Freitag has been a part of five NCAA titles at Indiana - experience that our program can certainly benefit from. We are honored to have Coach Freitag join us here at DU, and the entire staff looks forward to working with, and learning from, such a great coach."

Freitag was 86-32-19 (.697) in six seasons as head coach at Indiana, before being controversially fired by an Athletic Director that wanted to replace Freitag with Jerry Yeagley's son.

In addition to his time at Indiana, Freitag also has spent time as the assistant coach of the U-17 National Team and currently holds the post of Executive Director of Colorado Youth Soccer (CYS). In 2009, Freitag was honored with induction into the Colorado Youth Soccer Hall of Fame.

Freitag holds a U.S. Soccer Federation "A" Coaching License and a Scottish Football Association "B" Coaching License. He has coached youth soccer at all levels in Indiana and Colorado, and was a staff coach for the U.S. Soccer Federation.

Freitag's success in the game began as a player, starring at Indiana from 1976-79 and earning All-America honors in 1979. After IU, Freitag moved on to the professional ranks, playing for the San Diego Sockers of the North American Soccer League and the Denver Avalanche of the Major Indoor Soccer League.

Former DU Players With Stanley Cup Ties

(above) DU alum and NHL Hall of Famer Glenn Anderson won the Stanley Cup six times
With Boston's Stanley Cup victory last night it brings up University of Denver alumni with connections to the Stanley Cup.  For all DU's success on the ice in college hockey, the Stanley Cup has remained an elusive prize for DU Alums.

DU alum and NHL Hall of Famer Glenn Anderson won six Stanley Cup as a player with the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers..

DU star John MacMillan played on two Stanley Cup winning teams in Toronto in the early Sixties  and has his name engraved on the Cup. MacMillan is the only DU player to ever win a National Championship at DU and a Stanley Cup.  He won each twice.

DU alum Ron Grahame's son and wife's names are engraved on the Cup.

Incoming Freshman forward Larkin Jacobson's step-father Ruslan Fedotenko has won it twice.

Former DU coach Ralph Backstrom won the Cup six times with Montreal.

Former DU player and head coach Marshall Johnston's name is engraved for being the Director of Pro Personnel for Carolina Hurricanes in 2005.

Former DU star Craig Patrick's name is on the Cup twice as General Manager of the Penguins in '91 & '92. Craig also won two National Championships at DU.  He is probably best remembered for being Herb Brook's assistant coach on the Miracle on Ice Team in 1980.  Craig's father and grandfather are also engraved on the Cup.  All three of them are NHL Hall of Famers.

DU star and current head coach of the Florida Panthers, Kevin Dineen, doesn't have his name on the Cup yet, but one of his brothers and father are on there.

Former DU Captain, Paul Messier's little brother Mark, won the Cup six times.

Former DU player Keith Seabrook's older brother Brent won the Cup with Chicago last season.

DU Alum Patrick Mullen is the son of 3-time Stanley Cup winner and Hall of Famer, Joe Mullen.

Former DU player Alex Shibicky's father, also Alex, won the Cup with the Rangers in 1940.

Danny Talbot's father, Jean-Guy, won 7 Stanley Cups with Montreal between 1956 and 1966.

Jim Bales uncle, Bobby Taylor, won 2 Cups with the Flyers in 1974 and 1975.

Brian Morenz's distant cousin was NHL Hall of Famer Howie Morenz who won 3 Cups with Montreal.

Jim Wiste, Keith Magnuson, Peter McNab & Matt Carle lost Stanley Cup finals.  Peter McNab's father and brother are engraved on the Cup.

There may be others....

Seattle University Invited To Join WAC

Louisiana Tech
New Mexico State
Utah State
San Jose State
Texas-San Antonio
Texas State

From: Sam Marcos Record
by Tyler Mayforth

When the Western Athletic Conference last publicly discussed expansion in Nov. 2010, Seattle University was among four schools considered for inclusion. The Redhawks, however, were on the outside, looking in, when WAC commissioner Karl Benson extended invitations to only Texas State, Texas-San Antonio and the University of Denver.

Seven months later, Benson finally let SU join the party. Benson announced Wednesday that the Redhawks accepted an invitation to join the WAC as a non football-playing member beginning July 1, 2012.

“Timing is sometimes everything,” Benson said of SU’s invitation. “When those other schools made their presentations to us in Dallas back in November, it was a different WAC landscape.”

So what changed in seven months? For one, the WAC needed another member after losing the University of Hawaii in December.

When the Warriors announced they’d be leaving the WAC to join the Big West and Mountain West, Benson’s pride and joy was back in scramble mode. The WAC was left with only seven football-playing members beginning July 1, 2012.

Benson and the remaining athletic directors scrambled to find a football-playing member from January to April. Yet, they couldn’t find a suitable option.

“We have been in contact with at least 10 or 12 FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) and FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) football-playing schools, but the state of the economy hasn’t allowed some of those schools to move up,” Benson said. “We decided to shift our focus to finding a non football-playing member at that time.”

Once Benson narrowed those other choices, the WAC was left with three options — SU, Cal State Bakersfield and Utah Valley University. At the end, SU was the only school left standing.

“Those other schools made presentations as well and while we applaud and respect what they’ve done, at this time, the WAC board of directors believed Seattle University had the athletic and academic characteristics as well as media market the WAC needed at this time,” Benson said.

Boone To Appear With Mascots At Coors Field

(above) Last month Boone was in the Ravens stadium in Baltimore, on Saturday its Coors Field before the Colorado Rockies face the Detroit Tigers
photo credit: Andrew Fielding

Boone will be representing the University of Denver at the Rockies Rookies Kid's Carnival before the Colorado Rockies baseball game Saturday. The Rockies will be facing the Detroit Tigers at 6:10 PM, but before the game Boone will appear with various other local mascots plus Dinger, the official mascot of the Colordao Rockies.

Check out Boone's Facebook Page for further details and updates.

DU Lacrosse Coaching Staff Shakeup

(above) Bill Tierney announced some major changes on the DU coaching staff yesterday
The University of Denver athletic department announced a surprising reorganization of the men's lacrosse coaching staff yesterday. Assistant coach Matt Brown has been promoted to associate head coach, while volunteer assistant coach Dylan Sheridan has been named the second assistant. Assistant coach Trevor Tierney will step down as a full-time coach to become the Pioneers' volunteer assistant.

The announcement comes just three weeks after the Pioneers amazing run to the 2011 NCAA Lacrosse Championship weekend.  DU's website has a detailed explanation with interviews of all involved.  Check it out.

Landon Smith Commits To DU In 2013

(above) Landon Smith
Forward Landon Smith (5'11 165 lbs) has committed to play college hockey at the University of Denver in the fall of 2013.

Landon played for the hometown Colorado Thunderbirds organization for the past three years playing on the U15 Midget Minor, U16 Midget Minor and U18 Midget Major teams. Smith has played in three USA National Championships with the Thunderbirds.

He was a member and captain of the 2010 Tier 1 U16 National Championship team, that won Colorado’s first Tier 1 hockey championship ever.

“Landon was a great leader for our championship team and is a young man that has not even come close to reaching his potential as a player. DU is getting a very special young man with a tremendous upside,” states Coach Ricci. “As a program, the Colorado Thunderbirds strive to prepare and produce young athletes that are ready to take the next step in their career. Landon is a fine example of the type of player that the Thunderbird program works to develop and move to the next level,” added Coach Ricci.

Smith was selected in the 5th Round of the USHL Draft May by Cedar Rapids and will be joining them this fall.  He is the third member from the U18 team to commit to play for the Pioneers.
2011 Recruiting Class
D Scott Mayfield (Youngstown, USHL)
F Zac Larraza (U.S. Under-18)
D Joey LaLeggia (Penticton Vees, BCHL)
F Larkin Jacobson (Janesville Jets, NAHL)
D-F Wade Bennett (Wichita Falls, NAHL)
F Matt Tabrum (Omaha, USHL)
D Josiah Didier (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
F Daniel Doremus (Sioux Falls, USHL)

2012 Recruiting Class
F Tyler Pham (Indiana Ice, USHL)
D Dakota Mermis (U.S. Under-18)
D Matt Van Voorhis (Sioux Falls, USHL)
F Garrett Allen (Chicago, USHL)
D Nolan Zajac (Cedar Rapids, USHL)

2013 Recruiting Class
F Brad Hawkinson (Colorado Thunderbirds U-18)
F Landon Smith (Colorado Thunderbirds U-18)

Bleacher Report Looks At DU Injury Ramifications

(above) The Bleacher Report takes a look at life without Sam Brittain early next season
DU Alumnus Adam Odekirk ('06) has started a column in the Bleacher Report dedicated primarily to the University of Denver hockey program.  Odekirk takes a no-holds barred look at Sam Brittain's recent knee injury and the ramifications for DU next year and in coming seasons in goal.

Denver Post Has Latest Brittain Injury Update

(above) Sam Brittain did not participate in on ice drills in Canada this past weekend
From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers

University of Denver goalie Sam Brittain on Monday said he is optimistic that he will return from major knee surgery in enough time to help lead the Pioneers into the playoffs next season [read entire article].

Wall Street Journal Article Mentions Jon Foster

(above) Former DU star Jon Foster still wears his DU helmet while playing roller hockey in Manhattan
From: Wall Street Journal
by Joshua Robinson

Every weekend, the home of the Manhattan Roller Hockey League, where teams of padded, charging men on roller blades face off in New York City's only roller blade league.

Jon Foster earned his Frozen Four undershirt by actually playing in the Frozen Four. He was there on his way to a pair of national titles as a left wing for the University of Denver. He still wears his Division I-sanctioned college helmet [read entire article].

Breaking News: Brittain May Miss Season With Injury

The Denver Post is reporting that University of Denver freshman goaltender Sam Brittain will undergo major knee surgery next Friday and could miss most or all of next season.

Zucker & Nick Shore Invited To USA Tryouts

University of Denver sophomore forwards Jason Zucker and Nick Shore are among 40 skaters invited by USA Hockey to take part in its National Junior Evaluation Camp this August in Lake Placid, N.Y. The players will be auditioning for a spot on the U.S. National Junior Team that will take part in the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Calgary and Edmonton [read entire article].

Chambers Blog Interviews Dustin Jackson

Mike Chambers spoke with University of Denver forward Dustin Jackson about his return for a fifth season.  As we've heard, the DU coaching staff really wanted Jackson back for his leadership as much as his potential contributions on the ice.

Jackson will still have to take an MBA entrance exam over the summer before he can officially return to the team next season.

Wiercioch Wins AHL Championship

Patrick Wiercioch

Former University of Denver star Patrick Wiercioch helped the Binghamton Senators win their first-ever Calder Cup championship on Tuesday night, earning a 4-2 series win over the Houston Aeros in the American Hockey League Playoffs.

Wiercioch dished out one assist and posted a +5 rating in 15 playoff games for Binghamton. It was the first professional season for the former DU defenseman, who made his NHL debut this season with Ottawa.

Great Brittain Interviewed On Pipeline Show

University of Denver goaltender Sam Brittain was interviewed on Edmonton Sports Radio 1260 on Tuesday night.  Sam talked about training this summer, preparing for Team Canada's world junior tournament tryouts and life as a Freshman at DU.

Rakhshani Talks About Breakout AHL Rookie Season

(above) Rhett Rakhshani established himself as on of the top rookie players in the AHL this past season
From: SoundTigers Website

During the ups and downs of a season, it’s hard for a player to remove himself from the situation and look at his performance objectively. Nearly six weeks removed from his first professional season, Rhett Rakhshani is now able to look back at his first pro campaign with that objective eye.

“It’s tough to grade my own performance,” Rakhshani said. “I look back and I was happy with a lot of what I did and what I accomplished personally. But there are still some things I could have done better. I’m always looking to improve [read entire article].”

DU Coach George Gwozdecky Lists Favorite Things

(above) Coach Gwozdecky talks about DU on College Hockey Inc's website
College Hockey, Inc's website introduces college hockey head coaches from around the country and provides some insight into their approach, their program and their background. This week University of Denver hockey coach George Gwozdecky listed his some of his favorite things about college hockey.

Gwozdecky even gave a shout out to Boone and mentioned attending various DU sporting events, other than hockey, as one of his interests.

College Hockey Inc. is funded by contributions from the NHL and its mission is to educate young hockey players about the advantages of playing NCAA hockey and receiving an education at some of the finest universities in the United States.

DU Alum Phil Heath Is World Class Bodybuilder

(above) Former DU point guard Phil Heath is one of the world's top bodybuilders

Phil Heath's Website

Its not everyday that a former college basketball player ends up finishing second in the worlds biggest bodybuilding contest. But that's exactly what happened to DU alum and basketball player Phil Heath at the 2010 Mr. Olympia contest.

Nicknamed "The Gift", Heath played basketball for the University of Denver (1998-2002) as a point guard before turning to bodybuilding after college. His hard work paid off when he won the overall title at the 2005 NPC USA Championships and earned the right to compete as an IFBB Pro. "The Gift" immediately made a splash in the IFBB, winning his first two pro events in 2006, which were The Colorado Pro Championships and The New York Pro Championship.

Phil placed fifth at the 2007 Arnold Classic, although fans and critics had him as high as 3rd place. Nonetheless, it qualified him to compete in the 2007 Mr. Olympia contest. Heath decided not to compete at the contest, stating that he needed more time to improve in order to be competitive.

This proved to be a good move, as he ended up winning the 2008 Iron Man show and placed second to Dexter Jackson at the 2008 Arnold Classic. Phil finished 3rd in his Mr. Olympia debut in 2008, and became the first rookie to place in the top 3 since Kevin Levrone in 1992 finishing second and Flex Wheeler in 1993. He was a heavy favorite for the 2009 Mr. Olympia title but placed 5th. Phil caught a stomach virus 24 hours before the Friday pre-judging and caused him to come in to the Olympia's first day roughly 10 pounds lighter than he had planned. Most recently, Phil took second place at the 2010 Mr. Olympia contest, placing second to Jay Cutler.

Peg Bradley-Doppes Lists DU's Accomplishments

In an open letter to DU Fans & Supporters, University of Denver Athletic Director Peg Bradley-Doppes lists DU's considerable accomplishments in athletics on both the playing fields and classroom.

Its an interesting insight into the Athletic Department and where DU ranks among peer institutions.  Check it out.

Air Force Won't Be Switching Conferences

From: Colorado Springs Gazette
by David Ramsey

Chaos could soon arrive in the long placid world of college hockey, but Air Force has no plans to join the frenzy.

The Big Ten hockey conference will begin in 2013-2014, which means the Western Collegiate Hockey Association will lose Wisconsin and Minnesota and the Central Collegiate Hockey Association will lose Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State.

An eruption of change seems likely with a frenzied chase to reorganize conferences.

One thing seems clear:

The Falcons aren’t going anywhere [read rest of article].

Marc Cheverie Is An NHL Restricted Free Agent

Marc Cheverie
From: The Litter Box Blog

Understandably overshadowed by the 'Florida Panthers future in goal' Jacob Markstrom, two goaltenders in the organization, Tyler Plante and DU Alum Marc Cheverie each have an important role to fill in the near future.

After two dominant years with the University of Denver of the WCHA, Cheverie signed with the Panthers in April of 2010 with a two year Entry-Level Contract. A huge steal in the 2006 Entry Draft, Cheverie was drafted 193rd overall by then-GM Randy Sexton. Cheverie has found himself awarded the WCHA Player of the Year as well as a Hobey Baker award finalist. Since leaving DU, Cheverie played in 30 games with the Cincinnati Cyclones and 15 games with the Rochester Americans, going 2-7-1 with a 3.91 GAA and .888 SV%. Don't let these numbers fool you though, Cheverie was called up after Markstrom went down on a horrible Rochester squad.

Why Cheverie will be resigned:
As with Tyler Plante, there really isn't much of a reason not to resign Marc Cheverie. With Alexander Salak traded, Cheverie could be the best goalie in the system behind Markstrom, he's just farther down the road. Cheverie would be the likely fill in if a back-up is needed with the Panthers' AHL affiliate next season, but if not he will assuredly stay with the Cyclones. If Cheverie is resigned, expect a sizable pay-cut from the nearly 1 million cap hit he has now. Unlike Plante, Cheverie might be pursued by other teams being a more attractive RFA, but even then I doubt any team will go too high for Tallon to counter.

DU Professor Featured In Westword Cover Story

(above) DU professor Robert Hannum is an expert on poker
From: Westword
by Alan Pendergast

Robert Hannum is a professor at the University of Denver. Although his doctoral work leaned heavily toward the theoretical side of statistics, Hannum now carries the title "professor of risk analysis and gaming" — a tribute to his many years studying the odd collision of mathematics, marketing and fantasy that fuels the commercial gambling industry. Hannum has been the official mathematician in residence for the MGM Grand and the Aria Resort & Casino; other casino operators call on him to run the numbers on tricky new games or review the math behind special betting promotions that, despite the best of intentions, might actually end up costing their casino some money. He is their go-to guy, the probability king, the wizard of odds [read entire article].

Time To Stuff The Ole Ballot Box....Again

Here at LetsGoDU we're not adverse to using our clout to rig elections or stuffing the ballot box.  Who could forget our "2006 Danny King for Hobey Campaign" that netted several thousands votes for DU's 3rd string goaltender.  Or whenever Boone was involved in public opinion surveys at DU.

Mile High Sports is conducting all-star voting for 2011 teams on its website. DU is nominated in several categories including best local college team and best local college coach (Gwozdecky, Scott, and Tierney). There's also open spots to "write-in suggestions" for the categories of best college mascot (Boone) and best local must-see game (write-in DU/CC Hockey).

The the Media Poll there are a few opportunities to vote for personalities like DU hockey 's smooth play-by-play voice Jay Stickney. Don't forget to "write-in" LetsGoDU for best Denver sports news website. You could also write-in Mike Chambers for his excellent coverage of DU sports.

Vote Early & Vote Often!!!

Gabe Gauthier Launches 5280 Performance Hockey

(above) Gabe Gauthier's new website touts his hockey camps

Mike Chamber's Blog alerted us to DU legend Gabe Gauthier's performance hockey camps that will take place in Highlands Ranch this summer.  Check out the website.

Brittain Invited To Team Canada Goalie Camp

(above) DU goaltender Sam Brittain has been invited back to Team Canada's prestigious goaltender camp
bt Scott Cruickshank

Sam Brittain had no complaints last year.

When an injury forced Hockey Canada to hunt down another healthy body for its Program of Excellence summertime goaltending camp, Brittain answered the emergency call with joy.

He went. He enjoyed.

Now, a year later, Brittain is no fill-in.

The Calgary netminder, after a sparkling freshman campaign at the University of Denver, belongs on the original list of invitees. Which makes it even more special.

“It’s exciting,” said Brittain, who joins 15 others at the sixth annual camp next week at Norma Bush Arena. “I learned a lot last year. I’ll be able to use that to make sure I’m ready to go for this camp. It’s a tough weekend. I mean, skating twice a day and different things on the go, but it’s definitely fun. A great environment — guys from all over Canada, coaches from all over Canada.

“There’s going to be a lot of great goalies there. And it’ll be great to get some of the world-class instruction, and to be able to show them what I got.”

Which is quite a bit, if his single season of U.S. college toil is any indication.

Brittain, the second-youngest player at Denver, ranked first among NCAA rookies with 19 wins (19-9-5) and third in goals-against-average and save percentage (2.28, .921) and was named to nearly every all-rookie team imaginable.

On top of that, he earned the Keith Magnuson Memorial Award as the school’s top defensive player.

“I got some lucky breaks and I was able to get quite a few starts and did very well,” said the six foot three, 220-pounder.

“Going in there, it was tough to make goals and expectations because I’d never experienced it. It’s not like going off to the Western Hockey League — I hadn’t grown up watching a lot of college hockey.

“But it was definitely what I had expected from myself — and definitely a lot more.”

Of course, this camp is part of the lead-up to the world junior championship, hosted by Edmonton and Calgary.

Has he allowed himself to think about what it would be like to be part of that tournament — in his home town yet?

“I’ve definitely thought about it,” said Brittain, who, out of the AJHL Canmore Eagles program, was drafted by the Florida Panthers a year ago.

“It’s never an easy road to get (on Team Canada). But it would be an incredible experience to wear that maple leaf. And playing right here in Alberta would be very special.”

Selections for the elite showcase were made by Hockey Canada head scout Kevin Prendergast.