Countdown To The Start Of Hockey Season

Chambers Blog Looks At Defensive Rotation

Mike Chambers of the Denver Post looks at DU's incoming Freshman class and speculates how the playing time will be divided until six defensemen establish themselves on the blueline.  Freshmen Scott Mayfield, Josiah Didier and Joey LaLeggia will get plenty of playing time early in the season.

Video: Coach Miller Assesses Incoming Freshmen

DU Associate Head Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Steve Miller breaks down the incoming Freshman class

2011/12 DU Hockey Roster

(above) DU's 11 new players have been added to the Roster and assigned numbers

New Third String Goaltender Joins Team

(above) Zack Hope joins the Pioneers this Fall

Zack Hope [5'8 155 lbs.], of Barrington Hills, Ill., will join the University of Denver hockey team this Fall as a walk-on third string goaltender. Hope played hockey in high school at The Hill School in Pottstown, PA and graduated in 2009.

He is currently a Junior at DU.
2011 Freshman 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)
F Ty Loney (Youngstown, USHL)
G Zack Hope (Hill School, PA. HS) [JR.]

Chambers Blog Has Interview With Coach Lassonde

(above) Denver Post reporter Mike Chambers spoke to new DU assistant coach David Lassonde
Mike Chambers Blog has an exclusive interview with DU’s new goaltending coach and No. 2 assistant David Lassonde this week. The longtime New Hampshire assistant spoke about his reasons for coming to DU, his future coaching goals and how working under Coach Gwozdecky pads the resume. Its an interesting article.

Work Crew Lays Down Fresh Ice At Magness

(above) New banner hanging in the Ritchie Center
(above) The logos are painted on the ice
(above) Fresh ice for the upcoming season
DU_Hockey the official Twitter site for University of Denver hockey program posted these photos from Magness Arena.

You can also follow Mike Chambers on Twitter to get breaking DU hockey stories as they are written.

The DU Grilling Society also has a Twitter account that will keep you posted on the pre-game activities and BBQ's.

DU Hockey Game To Be Televised Nationally

Many were wondering why the University of Denver hockey game at Colorado College was moved to Friday, December 2nd. CBS Sports Network announced yesterday that the game would be televised nationally.

The game will face-off at a special 8 PM MT starting time. 

CBS Sports Network is available throught Colorado on Comcast Cable in High-Def. The Network is also available via satellite on DISH Network (Channel 152) and DirecTV (Channel 613). For more information on go to

"CC Sucks" Video Available On YouTube

DU student, Kaley Rickert (Class Of '15) made this YouTube Video

Breaking News: Denver Post Announces Latest Recruit

(above) Magness Arena will have great views of the Shore Line
Mike Chambers of the Denver Post has a breaking story on DU's newest recruit.  Its a familiar name for DU hockey fans.
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 (Unknown)
D Nolan Zajac (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
F Quentin Shore (U.S. Under-18)

2013 Recruiting Class
F Brad Hawkinson (Lincoln Stars, USHL)
F Landon Smith (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
F Connor Chatham (U.S. Under-17)
D Gage Ausmus (U.S. Under-17)
F Ray Pigozzi (Des Moines, USHL)
F Trevor Moore (Tri-Cities, USHL)

2014 Recruiting Class
F Jared Fiegl (Colorado Rampage, U-16)

Colorado Springs Will Host NCHC Headquarters

(above) The National Collegiate Hockey Conference Headquarters will be housed on the grounds of the El Pomar Foundation and the former estate of Colorado philanthropist Spencer Penrose
The new National Collegiate Hockey Conference, which will begin competition in the 2013-14 season, announced today that it will locate its headquarters office in Colorado Springs.

The conference athletic directors accepted an invitation from El Pomar Foundation and determined the Conference's first commissioner and staff will operate all functions of league administration from the Colorado Springs office in the Copper Building (1631 Mesa Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO, 80906), adjacent to the grounds of the world-famous Broadmoor Hotel.

News & Notes From Around PioNation has a complete wrap-up and videos of the first day of the Pro Camp held in Joy Burns Arena.  After the pros completed the drills they were joined on the ice by several current Pioneer players.  The performances of Drew Shore, Nick Shore and Adam Murray caught the attention of the former DU stars.
The Hockey News' 2011-12 Yearbook recently rated the Top 10 prospects of every NHL team.  Of the 78 players with current, former or future college ties, DU had the most number of players listed with 10.  Tied for second were the Minnesota Gophers and Boston College with seven apiece.
The University of Colorado's starting punter this Fall was offered a opportunity to walk-on DU's basketball team, but choose to go to CU instead.  Keep an eye on Darragh O'Neill, he sounds like a heck of an athlete.
The University of Denver's men's basketball team was bolstered with the announcement that forward Rob Lewis has been granted an extra year of eligibility because of a back injury last season. Lewis is in a master's degree program at DU.

DU Lands Elite Californian Forward Trevor Moore

Trevor Moore
The University of Denver's 2013 recruiting class received a boost when forward Trevor Moore (5'6 165 lbs) announced his intention to attend DU over the weekend.

The USHL Tri-City Storm selected Moore with the eighth overall pick in the 2011 United States Hockey League’s Futures Draft.

Moore was a member of the recent USA Under-17 Team that won first place at the Five Nations Tournament in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Team USA went 4-0 in the round robin format with victories over the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and Switzerland.

The Thousand Oaks, California native led the LA Selects with 41 points last season, including 19 goals and 22 assists in 35 games. Moore’s scoring helped the LA Selects to the best record in Tier I midget minor hockey.

Recent DU forwards who came from California include Gabe Gauther, Rhett Rakhshani and Beau Bennett.
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 (Unknown)
D Nolan Zajac (Cedar Rapids, USHL)

2013 Recruiting Class
F Brad Hawkinson (Lincoln Stars, USHL)
F Landon Smith (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
F Connor Chatham (U.S. Under-17)
D Gage Ausmus (U.S. Under-17)
F Ray Pigozzi (Des Moines, USHL)

2014 Recruiting Class
F Jared Fiegl (Colorado Rampage, U-16)
F Trevor Moore (Tri-Cities, USHL)

DU's Pro Hockey Camp Begins Today

From: DU Athletics Website

The second annual University of Denver Hockey Alumni Pro Camp will be held Aug. 22-26 at Joy Burns Ice Arena.

The pro camp will allow current professional DU hockey alums and other professional players to train together in preparation for their upcoming 2011-12 seasons. DU Associate Head Coach Steve Miller and former DU assistant coach and current Green Bay Gamblers head coach/general manager Derek Lalonde will provide on-ice instruction for the five-day camp, which runs daily next week from 10:15 AM - PM. The camp is open to the public FREE of charge.

DU hockey professional alumni expected to participate in this year's camp Paul Stastny (Colorado), Rhett Rakhshani (New York Islanders), Joe Colborne (Toronto), Marc Cheverie (Florida), Brock Trotter (Montreal), Patrick Mullen (Los Angeles), J.P. Testwuide (Phoenix), Andrew Thomas (New Jersey), Aaron MacKenzie (Austria), Geoff Paukovich and Matt Glasser.

Other professional players expected to participate in the camp include Peter Mueller (Colorado), Cody McLeod (Colorado), Kyle Quincey (Colorado), Ben Guite (San Jose), Nathan Oystrick (Phoenix) and Steve Oleksy (Colorado).

Denver Boone: DU's Official "Student" Mascot

(above) Boone is Baaaaaaaack
photo credit: Tracy Ostrofsky

According to several DU students on Facebook, the administration of the University of Denver has approved a request to name Denver Boone the Official "Student" Mascot of the university.  The news is posted on Boone's Facebook Page.

Although details of the agreement have yet to be made public, it should mean more access for Boone at DU sporting events and hopefully merchandise sales. Thanks go out to student leaders on campus who worked over the summer to make this a reality.

Boone's Wikipedia page has the details of Boone's history at the University of Denver and the controversy arose in 2008.  In 2009 after the administration vetoed Boone's return as official mascot, twenty DU alums, students and fans contributed $6,000 to design and build the Boone costume.

Boone's appearance at the 2011 Baltimore Final Four Lacrosse Championship may have played a role in today's decision.  Boone was featured on the Baltimore Raven's Jumbotron, posed for hundreds of photos and showed the administration what a powerful brand he could be for the university.

Ray Pigozzi Commits To University of Denver

Ray Pigozzi
Ray Pigozzi (5'11 174 lbs. Evanston, IL.) committed to DU this week according to Heisenberg's Website.  Pigozzi was one of the youngest players in the USHL last season at 16 years old.
Pigozzi had been linked to Michigan, Wisconsin, and most notably New Hampshire on various recruiting websites.  David Lassonde's move from UNH to DU may have been the factor for the young left winger, but certainly DU was watching Pigozzi in the USHL last season.
Pigozzi will arrive at DU in 2013, after spending the next two seasons in the USHL with Des Moines.  He is described as a physical forward who's not afraid to mix things up.

Last season he appeared in 51 games for Des Moines and recorded 6 goals and 12 assists. He played his midget hockey with the Chicago Mission where he was a member of their Under-16 national championship team.
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)
F Ty Loney (Youngstown, 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 (Unknown)
D Nolan Zajac (Cedar Rapids, USHL)

2013 Recruiting Class
F Brad Hawkinson (Lincoln Stars, USHL)
F Landon Smith (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
F Connor Chatham (U.S. Under-17)
D Gage Ausmus (U.S. Under-17)
F Ray Pigozzi (Des Moines, USHL)

2014 Recruiting Class
F Jared Fiegl (Colorado Rampage, U-16)

Anthony Maiani To Play For ECHL Colorado Eagles

(above) Anthony Maiani was traded to the Colorado Eagles yesterday

The Colorado Eagles are bringing Anthony Maiani back to Colorado.

Maiani, a former standout at the University of Denver, was acquired Tuesday from the Wheeling Nailers in exchange for future considerations. Maiani becomes the first player on Colorado's roster who didn't play with the team last season.

A native of Shelby Township, Mich., Maiani spent the past four seasons at DU. He had 126 points (34 goals, 92 assists) in 158 career games for the Pioneers, his best season coming in 2008-09 when he had 41 points in 40 games.

Maiani signed with Wheeling after graduating from DU and played in one regular season game and three postseason games.

News & Notes From Around PioNation

Mike Chambers Blog reported last week that DU will once again host a Pro Camp, Aug. 22-26 at Magness Arena & Joy Burns Arena. DU’s assistant coaches run drills for the professional hockey players. Afterwards the coaches leave and current Pioneers join the pros for a non-contact, no-referee scrimmage. The camp is open to the public and free.
Former Pioneer Brock Trotter's career has had its share of twists and turns, but he now has a shot to make the Montreal Canadiens NHL roster.  SB Nation has a pretty interesting article about where things stand for Trotter.
DU Alum Bryan Vines begins his second season as an assistant coach at RPI under former Pioneer assistant Seth Appert.  The RPI Website has Bryan's bio.
Alum Nate Rohnert, who played for the University of Denver men's basketball team from 2006-10, will play for Denain ASC Voltaire in France this season.
DU soccer alum and goaltender for D.C. United, Joe Willis, was named Rookie of the Week by Soccer by Ives Blog.

DU Signs Big Name Assistant David Lassonde

David Lassonde

U.S. Hockey Report mentioned today that David Lassonde, who has been an assistant coach on Dick Umile's University of New Hampshire staff for the past 18 years, is leaving the program to take an assistant coaching job with the University of Denver, filling the position vacated by Derek Lalonde, who was hired as head coach of the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers.

Last week, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post mentioned that DU was interviewing Coach Lassonde.  Lassonde played goalie at Providence College from 1981-83, has spent 18 of his 24 years as a Division I assistant with the Wildcats; he also worked at Wisconsin and Miami (Ohio). He is the longest-tenured UNH assistant coach in the history of the program and has mentored All-American Wildcat goalies Ty Conklin, Kevin Regan, Mike Ayers, Jeff Levy and Brian Foster, according to his bio on the UNH hockey website.

DU Alum Records MLS Shutout In Pro Debut

(above) DU Alum Joe Willis makes a save On Saturday night for DC United
by Travis Clark

DU Alum and soccer goalkeeper Joe Willis (6'5 189 lbs.) found out Friday he was about to make his pro debut, and then went ahead and put together a performance to remember when he got his chance.

The rookie of out of the University of Denver looked more like an established vet than a newcomer on Saturday, making a couple of game-changing saves to set the table for a 4-0 rout of the Vancouver Whitecaps at RFK Stadium.

“I can’t speak enough about Joe Willis tonight,” said midfielder Chris Pontius, who scored two goals in the win. “He made a huge save in the first half and even in the second. If he doesn’t make those saves, I think the game changes.”

With No. 1 goalie Bill Hamid out because of a red card suspension picked up against Toronto last week, Willis and Steve Cronin were told at the beginning of the week that they would duke it out for the starting role.

And the 23-year-old Willis seized the opportunity, battling past the established MLS veteran to earn the start before he came up huge in his first pro game.

Willis’s first save came in the 40th minute, the score tied at 0-0. Whitecaps forward Camilo curved a free kick from around 30 yards out that beat the wall but couldn’t fool Willis, who

shuffled his feet and lunged, getting a hand on the ball and sending it off the crossbar.

The rebound set off a melee in front of goal, but Willis was quick to the ball, lunging to grab it and snuff out the threat after a favorable deflection helped keep the visitors from scoring.

“I thought he played fantastic,” DC goalkeepers coach Pat Onstad said. “He had a great game.”

The second big moment came after United took a 2-0 lead, with goals on either side of the half time break. Vancouver left back Jonathan Leathers got free on the flank, and sent in a teasing cross to Eric Hassli. The big Frenchman volleyed a shot that Willis saved, this time with with his feet.

“I actually thought that the one that really kind of sealed their fate was at 2-0, when he comes across and blocks it,” Onstad said. “At 2-1 it’s a new game and they’re back into it.”

After the game, Willis clearly enjoyed the moment, earning a pie in the face from his teammates, as well as numerous congratulations for his efforts. However, he’s not going to rest of the accomplishment for too long.

“It’s exciting. But at the same time, the season’s not over yet,” he said. “We still have a lot of work to do. I’ll enjoy it for now, but come Monday it’s back to work.”

Jason Zucker's Leadership Emerges For Team USA

(above) Jason Zucker will be a captain for Team USA this winter
From: Fox
by Adam Kimelman

The penalty wasn't good, but it was the response to it that helped Jason Zucker and the U.S. take a 4-1 win against Finland on Thursday here at the national junior evaluation camp.

With the U.S. already playing shorthanded, Zucker was sent off for high-sticking, giving Finland, already up 1-0, a two-man advantage for 1:29.

The U.S. killed the first penalty, and when Zucker's time in the box ended, he exploded out like a turbo-charged racecar.

Just 22 seconds after he stepped out of the box, his strong forechecking earned him a loose puck behind the Finland net. He found Nick Bjugstad open at the edge of the left circle, and Bjugstad scored to tie the game.

"For being a leader on this team it isn't a good penalty to take," Zucker told "I had to come out and show the guys that I'm here to be serious and I shouldn't have taken the penalty."

It was the kind of response a leader gives, and that's how this U.S. team views Zucker.

"He's going to be one of the captains," said coach Dean Blais. "I think he's a leader on the ice. In the locker room I don't know if he's very vocal or not. I think he tries to lead by example. He's always one of the first guys on the ice and does the drills the way you ask him. He's always trying to be better, he's always trying to get better. Even though he's good he's always trying to work on his game."

That game already is pretty good. As a freshman at the University of Denver last season, the 2010 second-round pick of the Minnesota Wild (No. 59) tied for the team lead with 23 goals and was second with 45 points.

"He's got the ability to make plays out of nothing," said Blais. "He's got a great shot, gets it off quick. … He had a great year for Denver, and every time we played them last year (Blais coached against him at the University of Nebraska-Omaha) he was noticeable. He was one of those players that when he touched the puck, he made something happen."

As much as Zucker is being counted on for offense, it's his experience that will be key to Team USA's efforts at the 2012 World Junior Championship.

Zucker was a fourth-line forward who made the 2010 team through sheer force of will. He wasn't invited to the summer evaluation camp; rather, he made the team through a strong first half of the 2009-10 season with the U.S. National Team Development Program, and never gave Blais a reason to send him home from that team. He had 2 goals in seven games with that team, and was a physical force.

"In Saskatoon he was kind of a player who was feeling everything out, was young," said Blais. "But we saw him during his year during the whole year, and he's a fierce competitor. We felt he'd be a player that as the tournament went along he'd get better and he did. Not to the point where he was a (Jerry) D'Amigo or (Chris) Kreider, a top-six guy. But when he had to sit out or was a fourth-line guy or wasn't on the power play or penalty kill, there was no bad attitude. He did whatever we asked of him."

Last year in Buffalo, he had more responsibility and finished with 1 goal in four games as the U.S. won the bronze. This year, his place on the team will be even greater -- and he relishes the opportunity.

"I definitely think I can (be top-six forward)," said Zucker. "Coach Blais has a lot of faith in me right now and I'm hoping to carry that through to the tournament and be one of the top guys on the team."

He'll be expected to produce offensively, but he'll also be counted on to lead. That's another role he relishes. He won't campaign to be team captain, but if nominated, he most certainly would serve.

"It's a role that I really want to take up," he said of the captaincy. "No matter who it is, I think they'll do a good job of leading. It's something I think I'm very capable of doing and definitely want to do."

"He's a great leader," Bjugstad told "He's vocal in the locker room, also. A great guy, and a great team guy.

"He's won a bronze and a gold -- that definitely speaks for itself. We're going to look upon him for the next game and hopefully at World Juniors."

Zucker already has his place in USA Hockey history -- the gold in Saskatoon was only the second in WJC history, and prior to the last two tournaments, no U.S. team ever had won medals at consecutive WJCs. He knows his legacy already is stamped, but he's not ready to close his trophy case. He said he's thought about what it would mean to win a third medal -- especially another gold.

"It would mean a lot," he said. "I take a lot of pride in that (Team USA) jersey and playing in this tournament. For me to be able to come away with three medals would be fantastic."

DU Hockey Alum Is CEO of Company in Maine

(above) Former DU hockey player Tom O'Brien is CEO of Tom's of Maine which is owned by Colgate-Palmolive
From: Maine Sunday Telegram
by J. Hemmerdinger

Tom O’Brien, CEO of Tom’s of Maine in Sanford, was drawn to the company by its values of sustainability, philanthropy and respect for the environment.

The experience made lasting impressions on O'Brien, now CEO of Sanford-based Tom's of Maine. It taught him humility, he said, and gave him an awareness of the impact businesses have on their communities.

"When you are working that close to the consumer, you get immediate feedback. It's a very humbling experience," he said. "When (people) don't agree with how you are doing business, they tell you very quickly," he said.

O'Brien was raised in Hull, a small town on the south side of Boston Harbor.

His dad owns Jake's Seafood Restaurant and Fish Market, which is the largest employer in Hull, said O'Brien.

After high school, O'Brien attended the University of Denver with dreams of becoming an NHL hockey player. He played for 18 months, then transferred to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he graduated with degrees in psychology and economics. O'Brien also earned an MBA from Harvard Business School.

He took a sales job in South Windsor, Conn., with Procter & Gamble, then advanced to district sales manager in Boston and managing director of the global deodorants and male toiletries business.

But O'Brien wanted to work in the natural products industry, and he considered starting or buying a company of his own.

That's when he met Tom Chappell, the now-retired founder of Tom's of Maine.

O'Brien said his values -- sustainability, respect for the environment and philanthropy -- matched Tom's.

"It became very clear we believed in the same things," he said.

In 1997, after nine months of discussions, O'Brien invested in Tom's of Maine and became chief operating officer.

He remained on staff through the 2006 acquisition of Tom's of Maine by Colgate-Palmolive Company, and became CEO in 2008 when Tom Chappell retired.

O'Brien lives in York Harbor with his wife Lisa. The couple have three children: 11-year-old Zachary, 10-year-old Matthew and 8-year-old Sophia.

When he's not working, O'Brien fishes with live worms for striped bass and bluefish with his kids.

This year, the fish haven't been biting.

"We fish every weekend for an hour or two, but have not caught one striped bass or bluefish," he said.

Mike Chambers Blog Features Fresh New Look

(above) Mike Chambers blog has a fresh new look

The Denver Post has moved Mike Chambers Blog over to "The Field House" section of their website.  You can always link to Chambers articles from LetsGoDU's sidebar under "DU Hockey Blogs & Websites."

Now that Terry Frei is no longer covering the NHL Colorado Avalanche for the Denver Post, Mike Chambers will now be reporting on hockey full-time during the winter.  He will rotate between DU hockey coverage and the Avs.  If he is out of town or has a conflict, Adrian Dater will fill in for Mike.

This means that two NHL hockey writers will cover the Pioneers this season.  Certainly no other program in the country will match that; especially during this difficult economic period for newspapers and media. For instance the Minnesota Gophers no longer have a full time beat reporter from the hometown Minneapolis-St Paul Tribune.

Congrats from PioNation to Mike Chambers on his new responsibilities.  He's done a fantastic job covering DU hockey in the past and his blog provides unparalleled access to the Pioneer program.  And welcome aboard Adrian Dater.

PioNation Awaits Kiki Boone's Arrival On Campus

(above) Incoming freshman lacrosse recruit Kiki Boone
Midfielder Kiki Boone will play women’s lacrosse at the University of Denver this season. She was voted a U.S. Lacrosse All-American and U.S. Lacrosse Academic All-American during her senior year at Cherry Creek High School in 2011. 

Boone scored 33 goals and had 18 assists in 2010 when Cherry Creek won the Colorado state championship. Cherry Creek finished the 2010 season ranked No. 1 in the West. She was selected to the Colorado academic all-state team and the All-Centennial League first team.

Boone was also a two-year letter winner as an outside hitter for Cherry Creek's top-ranked volleyball team in 2009 and 2008. She is a high honors student, and a member of National Honor Society and National Spanish Honor Society.

Another DU Assistant Gets USHL Coaching Job

(above) Steve Palmer adds to the growing roster of USHL coaches with DU ties
From: MLive
by Ron Rop

Last season Steve Palmer was the Volunteer Assistant coach at the University of Denver. This summer he was named an assistant coach with the USHL Muskegon Lumberjacks.

While the on-ice instruction won't begin until next month, there have been plenty of other things to do for the newest member of the coaching staff.

"Basically, I want to get to know as many players eligible for our team in the next few years," Palmer said. "I think I've been in Rochester, N.Y. more than in Muskegon this summer."

Palmer, along with fellow assistant Dave Noel-Bernier, is vital to the current and future success of the United States Hockey League club.

He's spent part of his summer learning the team's computer software for scouting players because it's imperative that all the coaches "all stay on the same page."

Palmer has been watching players born in 1996. They will be targeted in next spring's Futures Draft.

Not only has he been to New York, but he was in Ann Arbor this week watching players and a trip to Toronto is coming up to watch some "high end" kids.

And when the regular season begins in October, chances are either Palmer or Noel-Bernier will be out of town. The coach who remains in Muskegon will stand behind the bench with head coach Kevin Patrick.

"One of us will be building the future of the Lumberjacks and the one of us will be here coaching," Palmer, 37, said. Last season, with just Noel-Bernier as an assistant, those scouting trips during the season were rather limited.

"I am excited to do both the recruiting for the future and excited to help develop this team," said Palmer, who played 13 years of professional hockey overseas before joining the coaching staff at the University of Denver last season as a volunteer assistant.

"Steve brings a strong hockey background to the position," Patrick said. "He played for a long time and he played at a high level. He has transitioned well to the coaching side of things.

"Last year, he was with one of the elite programs in Division 1 hockey at the University of Denver," Patrick said.

Long before he got to Denver, Palmer earned his bachelor's degree in engineering and management at Clarkson University in New York. He was a two-time academic All-American and a Rhodes Scholarship nominee.

He had opportunities to play professionally in North America, but opted to play in Finland, Austria, Germany and Italy.

A series of concussions several years into his career kept him out for 14 months and pretty much ended his dream of playing in the National Hockey League.

However, the experience of playing overseas is one he will never forget.

"I loved the culture, I loved the hockey and I learned another language," Palmer said. "I would not trade it for anything."

After the 2008-09 season, he retired as a player and focused on coaching.

"I was excited to get into the next phase," Palmer said. "I was excited to be a coach and it wasn't a disappointment as it was for some."

Palmer, a native of Missisauga, Ontario, is married to Melissa. They have a 2 ½-year-old son named Chase.

"I had a few opportunities to coach in the USHL and in college, but the guys in Denver said working with KP (Kevin Patrick) would be a great experience so this was my first choice," Palmer said. "It was a no-brainer to get the opportunity to work with him and learn from him."

Nick Shore & Zucker Survive USA Cut List

(above) Jason Zucker made the final roster of the USA Evaluation Camp
Updated USA Roster

Twenty-nine of the original 44 players attending the 2011 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp will remain to face Sweden and Finland in a series of international games here this week. Two of those surviving are University of Denver players, Nick Shore and Jason Zucker.

The players are 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, 2011-Jan. 5, 2012, in Calgary and Edmonton, Alta.

Zucker was also a member of the gold medal-winning 2010 team and bronze medal-winning 2011 U.S. National Junior Team.

Boone Signs LOI To Play DU Women's Lacrosse

(above) LetsGoDU is trying to confirm if DU's incoming female lacrosse recruit is any relation to out mascot
University of Denver Women's Lacrosse team has added nine student-athletes, head coach Liza Kelly announced today. The list of newcomers includes three from Colorado, three from New York, two from Maryland and one from California.  But of all the signings, one name stood out; Kiki Boone from Cherry Hills, Colorado [read rest of article].
Kiki Boone was voted a U.S. Lacrosse All-American and U.S. Lacrosse Academic All-American during her senior year at Cherry Creek High School in 2011. Boone was named All-Conference First Team in 2010 and 2011, as well as All-Colorado First Team in 2011. Boone led the Bruins to the Colorado State Championship in 2008, 2010 and 2011, and a runner-up finish in 2009, while helping her team win the Centennial League championship all four years.

DU Misses Out On Last-Minute Defensive Recruit

Garrett Harr

When Northeastern University head hockey coach Greg Cronin left the school for an NHL coaching position with the Toronto Maple Leafs this summer, it set off a chain reaction. Several players looked into transfering, one star defected to major juniors and recruits considered decommitting. Prized blueline recruit Garrett Haar weighed his options, and with his stock on the rise, decided to see what schools might be interested.

In no time Haar had offers from Western Michigan, Boston College, Boston University, Denver and Minnesota-Duluth. On Monday he decided to attend Western Michigan.

Haar, an offensive defenseman, played for the USHL’s Fargo Force last season tallying 23 points (7 goals, 16 assists) and a plus/minus rating of plus nine in 51 games before being drafted by the Washington Capitals in the seventh round (207th overall).

Capitals’ General Manager George McPhee called Haar “the biggest surprise of the camp,” in a July 16 Washington Post story on the team’s development camp. “For a young man that was four picks away from not being drafted, he really played well here,” McPhee continued. “Liked his hockey sense, the way he competed I like the way he defends and he looks real strong on his skates.”

CC Game In The Springs Moved To Dec. 2nd

The University of Denver announced today that the Nov. 11th game at Colorado College has been moved to Dec. 2nd.  Colorado College was recently named the top pot smoking school in the country by the Princeton Review.
Oct. 1 McGill [Exhibition]
Oct. 7 US National Development Under-18 [Exhibition]
Oct. 14 @ Boston College
Oct. 15 @ Boston University
Oct. 21-22 Minnesota State [Homecoming Weekend]
Oct. 28-29 @ Michigan Tech
Nov. 4-5 Minnesota-Duluth
Nov. 12 Colorado College
Nov. 18-19 Nebraska-Omaha
Nov. 25 Denver Cup [Providence vs. Miami, Princeton]
Nov. 26 Denver Cup [Providence vs. Princeton, Miami]
Dec. 2  @ Colorado College
Dec. 9-10 @ Bemidji State
Dec. 16-17 @ St. Cloud
Dec. 30 Union
Dec. 31 @ Air Force
Jan. 6-7 Alabama-Huntsville
Jan. 13-14 Bemdji State 
Jan. 27-28 @ UAA
Feb. 2 Colorado College
Feb. 3 @ Colorado College
Feb. 10-11 Minnesota
Feb. 17-18  @ Wisconsin [DU Hockey Alumni Road Trip]
Feb. 24-25 North Dakota
Mar. 2-3 @ Nebraska-Omaha
Mar. 9-11 WCHA Playoffs
Mar. 15-17 WCHA Final 5

Chambers Blog: DU Looking At UNH Assistant

Mike Chambers Blog is reporting that The University of Denver hockey program will interview longtime New Hampshire goalie coach David Lassonde this week. Check out the article on why it may be a big coup for DU.

Chambers also had a conversation with former DU assistant coach Derek Lalonde, who's departure created the opening in the coaching staff.

Corey Carlson Remembered By BCHL Team

(above) Vernon Lakers forward Corey Carlson hoists head coach Ernie Gare on his shoulders after the team won the 1989 Abbott Cup
by Roger Knox

University of Denver Alum Corey Carlson [DU '94] perished last week in a tragic plane accident that also claimed the lives of his wife and two daughters.

On the ice, Corey Carlson was a hard-worker with soft hands.

Off the ice, the Alaska native was laid back to the point he could never be suspected of playing a practical joke.

Carlson, 41, who helped lead the Vernon Lakers to the 1989 British Columbia Hockey League championship, and the team’s first of four straight appearances in the Centennial Cup (now Royal Bank Cup) Canadian championship tournament, was killed, in a mid-air float plane crash in Alaska last weekend.

“He was such a good player to start with and a class individual, very caring,” said Vernon’s Ernie Gare, the head coach of that Lakers’ 1988-89 squad, shaken by the news of Carlson’s death. “He got along well with his teammates. He was certainly a pleasure to coach and was just a great kid to be around.”

Carlson worked as an Anchorage-based manager for a branch of General Electric, involved in oil and gas production. He immersed himself in the pursuits that draw so many to Alaska.

“Hunting, fishing, catching shrimp, skiing down the mountains and doing all that young stuff,” said Don. “And when he got married, he decided to get an airplane. He always wanted to fly.”

His wife Hetty, a fourth-generation Alaskan, worked as a pharmaceutical company representative.

She and Carlson married in Hawaii eight years ago, and when their girls were born, she stayed home to take care of them.

About six years ago, Carlson began flying. The couple and their girls loved going out in the plane, relatives said, referring to the plane as the family’s “minivan.”

Carlson played just one season in Vernon, appearing in 59 of 60 regular-season games. He scored 23 goals and added 64 assists for 87 points, good for sixth in Interior Conference scoring, and was one of six Vernon players named to the Interior Conference squad for the league’s all-star game which the Lakers hosted at Civic Arena that year (1989).

The Lakers defeated the New Westminster Royals in five games for the Fred Page Cup BCHL title.

“We were both rookies on that team and I remember Corey was always so laid back all of the time,” said Carlson’s Lakers roommate, Cam Sylven. “He had a lot of good jokes. He was a hard-working player and what always stuck in my mind was his attitude that good things happen to guys that work their tail off. He was just a super all-round guy.”

On the way back from New Westminster, it was the quiet, laid-back Carlson who put shaving cream on the head of an unsuspecting, sleeping newspaper reporter from the Vernon Daily News.

Carlson and the Lakers would go on to defeat the Red Deer Rustlers and Humboldt Broncos to qualify for the Centennial Cup, where the team went 0-3.

“He was a great kid, the son I never had,” said Mel Lis, the Lakers’ owner and general manager in 1989, and father of three daughters, who convinced Carlson to play in Vernon.

“Corey was always asking questions. He thought enough of me that he used to look at me sitting in that little cubicle at the Civic Arena every time he was on the ice.

“He was a first-class kid. This news is so tragic. It shouldn’t have happened.”

Carlson’s play and attitude earned him a hockey scholarship to the University of Denver.

DU Womens Hoops Receives Commitment

(above) Houstonian Paige Bradley will come to DU in 2012
From: Houston News
by Keith MacPherson

Paige Bradley (5'9") has made her decision, but that doesn’t mean she's ready to relax.

The All-Montgomery County point guard for The Woodlands (Houston, Texas) girls’ basketball team verbally committed to the University of Denver on Friday and is ready to get to work for what looks to be a big senior season.

Bradley’s commitment to the Lady Pioneers ended a strenuous recruiting process that saw a total of seven teams offer scholarships before she ultimately chose between Denver and SMU.

Bradley, who averaged 10.5 points and 7.2 assists per game as junior last season, attended a camp at the Sun Belt Conference school in June and liked what she saw.

“The best thing about Denver was the people,” Bradley said. “They were awesome. I knew I was going to be around these people for the next four years, so that was important to me. Everyone was real nice and I got to talk to freshmen that were there. It was just a great experience. When they want you to go there, you want to go there too.”

Though not your prototypical college town, Bradley said being in Denver is a big plus and the Rocky Mountain atmosphere helped draw her in as well.

“The city is beautiful,” Bradley said. “Everything about it was great. The atmosphere, the coaches, their style of basketball, I fell in love with everything. I know I’ll love playing basketball there.”

The 5-foot-9 Bradley is rated No. 61 in the nation among prep point guards by and helped lead the Lady Highlanders to the Region II-5A quarterfinals last winter.

Recruiting began to heat up over the recent months while playing AAU ball with DFW Elite Washington Black. Bradley narrowed her choices down to Davidson, Texas State, Denver and SMU before eventually picking between the Lady Pioneers and the Lady Mustangs.

“It was definitely stressful,” Bradley said. “It’s a relief that it’s over, but it’s also bittersweet. It’s a different experience.”

Known for her court savvy and passing ability, Bradley said she hopes to add some strength to her game before heading off to college.

“I really want to improve my game before going to college,” she said. “I know everyone’s freshman year is difficult no matter where you are, but I hope to improve myself to make it a little easier. I want to get stronger, too. I just hope to improve as a player before I go up there.”

Now, with a college destination in hand, it’s time to go to work for Bradley.

“I’m excited about my senior season,” she said. “I want to go far in the playoffs and have a great senior year with my team. This is just the start of it.”

USHL Green Bay Gamblers Hire Derek Lalonde

(above) DU assistant coach Derek Lalonde has been named the head coach and general manager of the USHL Green Bay Gamblers
From: Green Bay Press Gazette
by Weston Hodkiewicz

Derek Lalonde has been hired as the new head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Gamblers, sources confirmed Friday.

Lalonde comes to Green Bay after five seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Denver and becomes the sixth head coach in the Gamblers’ 17-year history.

The Gamblers had been searching for a new coach since Eric Rud left last month to accept an assistant coaching position at his alma mater, Colorado College.

Green Bay will mark the first head-coaching stop for Lalonde, a native of Brasher Falls, N.Y., who played collegiate hockey at SUNY Cortland State from 1990-95.

The Denver Post first reported Lalonde’s hiring.

Lalonde interviewed for the position last week and was considered one of four finalists along with Gamblers assistant coach Jon Rogger, Air Force assistant Mike Corbett and former Michigan Tech assistant Pat Mikesch, who was a volunteer assistant with the Gamblers during their Clark Cup playoff run this past season.

During Lalonde’s five years with the Pioneers, Denver posted a 122-63-19 record and made four consecutive NCAA Division I tournament appearances from 2008-11. Prior to Denver, he served a four-year stint as an assistant at Ferris State.

It’s the second consecutive year Green Bay has considered an assistant from Denver for the team’s head-coaching position, as Pioneers associate head coach Steve Miller was a finalist for the position after the departure of Jon Cooper last August.

Lalonde inherits a team that went 41-15-4 in the United States Hockey League regular season and advanced to the Clark Cup playoffs finals, where it lost to Dubuque 3-1 in a best-of-five series.

Despite not being selected as the team’s head coach, Rogger is expected to return for a fourth season as the Gamblers’ assistant coach.

Denver Post: Lalonde Lands USHL Coaching Gig

Mike Chambers of the Denver Post has the breaking story on University of Denver assistant hockey coach Derek Lalonde accepting the head coaching job for the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League [read entire article].

News & Notes From Around PioNation

The University of Denver has dumped Ticketmaster and replaced them with a Comcast subsidary called Paciolan. The new ticketing service should mean lower fees for DU sports fans.  Additionally, DU students will now be able to buy tickets online in their dorm rooms and print them straight to their student ID cards.
DU Lacrosse 2012 recruit Patrick Karole won a Summer Lacrosse National Championship with the Tri-State Black in Baltimore two weeks ago.  Tri-State upset the Philadelphia Dukes who had won five straight championships.  Karole attends Montclair Kimberly Academy in New Jersey.
Former DU volunteer assistant coach P.J. DeLuca has been hired as the Florida Panthers video coach. DeLuca worked for the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild after his stint at DU.

Press Release: NCHC Announces Consultants

BETHESDA, MD, August 3, 2011 – The newly formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference has engaged two of the country’s leading sports consulting companies, The Goldwater Group and Stafford Sports, to handle planning, coordination and execution of several key projects.

After coordinating the July 13 news conference in Colorado Springs, CO, to officially announce the formation of men’s college hockey’s newest premier league, The Goldwater Group, based in Bethesda, MD, and Stafford Sports, of Medford, NJ, will work on multiple tasks on behalf of the conference’s six founding members: Colorado College, University of Denver, Miami University, 2011 NCAA champion University of Minnesota Duluth, University of Nebraska Omaha and University of North Dakota.

The consultant team has simultaneously commenced work on a national search for the conference’s first commissioner; a research and assessment process of prospective, additional members with no specific, pre-determined limit on the final number of institutions; investigating the best-possible media platforms, including a broadcast package, to be in place before the conference’s inaugural season in 2013-14; and identifying viable venues for a post-season championship game.

“As the athletic directors were exploring the possibility of forming a new conference, the complexity of multi-faceted needs was very apparent and we were fortunate to engage and partner with The Goldwater Group and Stafford Sports as our consultants,” said North Dakota Athletic Director Brian Faison. “I know I speak for all of the founding members in saying we appreciate the broad expertise, knowledge, responsiveness and leadership of our consultant team.”

The two consulting firms have successfully collaborated on a range of sports, business development, marketing and venue management projects in recent years and were tapped to utilize their collective experience to cover the variety of disciplines the founding members required to launch the conference. The consultant team is led by Bobby Goldwater, the president of The Goldwater Group, and Carl Hirsh and Rich Oriolo, the principals of Stafford Sports.

Additional information relating to the search for a commissioner, the assessment process for additional member institutions and the other projects being handled by the consultant team for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference can be obtained by contacting The Goldwater Group at

DU Invades Sioux Country To Recruit Gage Ausmus

Gage Ausmus
East Grand Forks may be in Minnesota, but its only a short drive across the Red River to the campus of the University of North Dakota.  So it was a pleasant surprise to read in the Grand Forks Herald that the University of Denver had received a 2013 commitment from recruit Gage Ausmus [6'1 200 lbs.].

Ausmus will spend the next two seasons playing for the U.S. National Development Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Just last week DU received another commitment from Connor Chatham who will be a teammate of Ausmus for the next two seasons in Ann Arbor.

Ausmus is described as a shutdown defenseman who can handle the puck, makes outlet passes and gets the puck out of the zone

So how did the Pioneers land this elite defensive prospect?  One clue may be former University of Denver captain Judd Stauss [1998-01] who is from East Grand Forks, MN and volunteered his time with Ausmus' bantam team in recent seasons.

According to the Herald, Ausmus selected DU for several reasons. “I’m very excited. I love the town [Denver] and I’ve always kind of wanted to get away from East Grand Forks and try something new, and that’s what I’m doing.”

Ausmus selected DU after visiting UND, Minnesota-Duluth and Minnesota.
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)
F Ty Loney (Youngstown, 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 (Unknown)
D Nolan Zajac (Cedar Rapids, USHL)

2013 Recruiting Class
F Brad Hawkinson (Lincoln Stars, USHL)
F Landon Smith (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
F Connor Chatham (U.S. Under-17)
D Gage Ausmus (U.S. Under-17)

2014 Recruiting Class
F Jared Fiegl (Colorado Rampage, U-16)

Three Former DU Players Inducted Into B.C. HOF

(above) 1985-86 Penticton Knights
The 1985-86 Pentiction Knights [BCHL] hockey team was inducted into the British Columbia Hall of Fame on July 22nd.  Three members of that Canadian national championship team went on to play at the University of Denver.  Leading scorer Dave Shields, Defensemen Rod Summers and Marc Rousseau.

Dave Shields scored an amazing 54 goals and 76 assists in 51 games that season.  Shields would go onto become a Hobey Baker finalist his Senior season at DU.

Today Rod Summers is a very active member of the DU Hockey Alumni Association.  He has raised thousands of dollars for the DU hockey program and lives in Denver.

Marc Rousseau was drafted by the NHL Hartford Whalers but never played professionally.  He played four seasons on the blue-line at DU alongside Summers and Shields.

All three DU alums were reunited at the event.

The Knights posted a 44-8-0 regular season record and went 25-5 in the playoffs.  They won the Canadian Junior-A National Championship against host the Cole Harbor Colts [Nova Scotia] in the 1986 championship game.

Former Colorado Avalanche player and current Denver resident Joe Sakic was also inducted into the B.C. Hall of Fame on the same night as the DU alums. 

Former DU star and six-time Stanley Cup winner Glenn Anderson was inducted into the B.C. Hall of Fame  in 2001.

Colorado College Tops Pot Smoking Poll

From: Daily Camera

The phase "CC Sucks" took on a whole new meaning today as Colorado College was named the #1 Pot Smoking School in America by the The Princeton Review.  For the first time since 1957, Colorado College finally finished on top of a national poll at the end of a season.

The University of Colorado in Boulder — where more than 10,000 people gather each April 20 for the annual 4/20 pot smoke-out — moved up two spots to No. 4 on this year's "reefer madness" list.

But the Boulder campus was trumped by its southern neighbor Colorado College, a small private school that ranked in the "reefer madness" list.

Princeton Review released its annual college rankings today, and CU-Boulder also ranked No. 20 for "great college town" and No. 20 for "most politically active students."

Rob Franek, vice president and publisher of Princeton Review, said Colorado College has been a "usual suspect" on the marijuana list for the past few years, and this year surpassed CU-Boulder. Both schools, he said, have strong academic records.

"I have high respect for both schools," Franek said. (No pun intended).

The Princeton Review surveyed 122,000 students nationwide before compiling its lists.

"We go directly to whom we think would be experts, and that's current college students," Franek said.

But CU-Boulder spokesman Bronson Hilliard said the rankings are subjective and have no scientific backing.

"The media is way more interested in the rankings than we are," Hilliard said.

In the spring, Playboy ranked CU-Boulder the No. 1 party school in the nation, saying it's a "beer drinker's paradise" and citing the massive 4/20 gathering.

Colorado College students also scored #5 in another Princeton Review category [Birkenstock-Wearing, Tree-Hugging, Clove-Smoking, Vegetarians].

Former DU Player, Family In Tragic Plane Crash

(above) Corey Carlson (#21) scoring against Wisconsin in the '90s
(above) Former DU hockey player Corey Carlson and his family died in a tragic mid-air plane collision on Saturday
From: Anchorage Daily News
by Lisa Demer

A midair collision Saturday near Trapper Creek, Alaska killed a family of four, including former University of Denver hockey player Corey Carlson.  The pilot, Carlson, his wife, Hetty Barnett Carlson, and their two young children, Ella, 5 and Adelaide "Addie," 3, died in the accident; Corey's father, Don Carlson of Anchorage, confirmed on Sunday.

The two floatplanes collided about 2:15 p.m. Saturday near Amber Lake, about 12 miles southwest of Trapper Creek.

The second plane, a Cessna 206, was flown by Kevin Earp, 56, of Eagle River. Its floats were heavily damaged but Earp, a veteran Alaska Airlines captain, was able to get to Anchorage and safely land on a runway at Stevens International Airport, according to troopers.

Corey Carlson was flying his Cessna 180, which crashed and burned on the ground. The only part left was the tail section, according to a National Transportation Safety Board investigator.

Carlson, a lifelong Alaskan resident, played for the University of Denver between in 1989-94 scoring 23 goals and 42 assists. In recent years he worked for GE Drilling Systems, an oilfield services company [read entire article].