Windor Spitfires To Target Will Butcher

Will Butcher
Will Butcher (5'11 175 lbs.) a slick puck moving defenseman from Sun Prairie [near Madison], Wisconsin committed to the University of Denver in September 2011.

Butcher is considered to be one of the best American defensemen in his age group and has been mentioned as a possible  first round draft pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.

Butcher is heading his second and final year of eligibility with the USDP and is slated to arrive at DU in 2013. The Windsor Star reported this week that he "hasn't crossed the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League off his list."

Windsor will make a strong push to sign Butcher away from DU, so it remains to be seen how this recruiting battle turns out.
2013 Recruiting Class
F Matt Van Voorhis (Sioux Falls, USHL)
F Tyler Pham (Indiana Ice, USHL)
F Brad Hawkinson (Lincoln Stars, USHL)
F Landon Smith (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
F Connor Chatham (U.S. Under-17)
F Ray Pigozzi (Chicago, USHL)
D Will Butcher (U.S. Under-17)
F Cody DePourcq (Penticton, BCHL)
F Trevor Moore (Tri-Cities, USHL)

2014 Recruiting Class
F Jared Fiegl (Colorado Rampage, U-16)
D Gage Ausmus (U.S. Under-17)
F Dylan Gambrell (Colorado Thunderbirds, AAA)
F Garrett Gamez (Tri-Cities, USHL)

DU vs. Wisconsin Rivalry Will Continue

As LetsGoDU mentioned back in Feburary, the University of Denver has been working on agreements to schedule the University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin after the WCHA shake-up. 

Andy Baggot at has confirmed that Wisconsin will play DU in upcoming seasons. Wisconsin will visit Colorado twice in upcoming years and play DU & Colorado College.
2014-15 -- UW will travel to Colorado for single games vs. CC and Denver.

2015-16 -- UW has tentative agreements to host a series with Denver.

2016-17 -- UW will play single games at CC and Denver.

News & Notes From Around PioNation

(above) When you Google "University of Denver" Boone's name comes up speculates that the Avs might make a run at signing DU alum Matt Carle.  No doubt it would be a popular move at the Pepsi Center ticket window.
University of Denver Athletic Director Peg Bradley-Doppes has been selected as the 2011-12 Division I West Region Under Armour AD of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).  A well desrved honor.
A group of DU students claimed the $1,000 first prize at the The Global Spa & Wellness Summit, the premier annual event for spa and wellness industry leaders, at the “Spa of the Future” Student Challenge Competition hosted by the Aspen Institute.  DU was followed by Cornell, the University of Houston and Penn State in the competition.
University of Denver women's lacrosse head coach Liza Kelly announced the addition of Matt Lawicki as an assistant coach.
Minnesota high school hockey player Jack Jablonski continues to make progress from a broken neck suffered in a game earlier this year.  Jack's progress is slow compared to Jesse Martin's amazing recovery, but its great to read that he's battling on.
DU Defeneseman Joey LaLeggia will attend the Edmonton Oilers 2012 Development Camp from June 27-July 2, 2012.  33 players will join LaLeggia at the camp.

GRAPH: Percentage Of College Players In NHL

(above) The number of former NCAA players in the NHL is growing

NHL Star May Have Helped Draft LaLeggia

(above) Edmonton Oilers star Ryna Nugent-Hopkins at the NHL Draft this weekend
From: Edmonthon Journal
by Jonathan Willis

The Edmonton Oilers drafted University of Denver defenseman Joey Laleggia in the 5th Round on Saturday.

Laleggia is an overage player who spent 2011-12 in college hockey after playing in the BCHL for the last few years. Bob Stauffer pointed out that Laleggia is also a close friend of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and that Nugent-Hopkins is a big believer in his ability to be a professional player.

Laleggia put up big numbers in the BCHL and really impressed in college hockey this year, scoring 11 goals and 38 points in 43 games. He played in all situations – including scoring while his team was shorthanded – and posted the best plus/minus on the Pioneers’ blue line. The bulk of his scoring came at even-strength – just 15 of those 38 points were power play production.

Corey Pronman had Laleggia ranked inside his top-100, and describes him (in part) this way:
"He’s a good skater with a great offensive mind who would be a nice shot in the dark pick in the mid-rounds due to his notable offensive upside. He flashes high-end hockey sense with his quick game processing and he’s really effective moving the puck out of his own end and controlling the blue line on the power play. Laleggia has solid puck skills as well, at times showing above average, but he is a much better passer than he is an individual creator. He skates well, moving fluidly in all four directions. His main weakness is his physical game, which is below replacement level. I’ve seen him listed at 5’10″, which is generous in my opinion as he looks pretty small on the ice, and he is not effective at all when he’s engaging. Despite his hockey smarts, I don’t see him as being effective defensively to any notable degree at the pro level."
This is another nice late-round pick. Because Laleggia is a college player, he’ll have more time to fill out and develop his game than a drafted defenseman typically does. This is a long-term pick, a player that might significantly outperform his draft number down the line. It’s a very similar selection to the Zharkov pick in that he’s a boom-or-bust guy who if he does turn out can turn out in a big way. Realistically, a Marc-Andre Bergeron-type career would be a very good return on this pick.

NHL Draft Kicks Off Tonight

The NHL Draft
5 PM MT on Friday
8 AM MT on Saturday

Joey Leggs Likely To Be On NHL Draft Bubble

(above) The NHL Draft kicks off tonight, but up to four DU players may hear their names called on Saturday
From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers

University of Denver defenseman Joey LaLeggia was passed over in the 2010 and 2011 NHL drafts and might not hear his named called in this week's selection process in Pittsburgh, in his final year of eligibility.

Despite leading all NCAA defensemen in scoring, finishing with a plus-13 rating during his freshman season and being named first-team Western Collegiate Hockey Association, LaLeggia is not ranked among Central Scouting's top 210 draft-eligible North American skaters.

"That's a joke," DU associate head coach Steve Miller said. "That's Central Scouting not doing their job" [read entire article].

Denver Post: NHL Draft Adds Recruiting Pressure

(above) Early departures are playing havoc with DU's recruiting plans
by Mike Chambers

This weekend's NHL draft has become one of the bigger annual events at the University of Denver, which has become the NHL development camp of the West. 

Sophomore-to-be defenseman Joey LaLeggia, classmate Ty Loney, a forward, and incoming freshman forward Quentin Shore and incoming freshman defenseman Dakota Mermis are expected to be drafted Saturday in Rounds 2-7. In which round they are drafted, and by what team, will give us a good idea about how long they will play at DU [read entire article].

DU To Play In Great Lakes Invitational In 2013

(above) DU will join Michigan, Michigan State and Michigan Tech in the 2013 Great Lakes Invitational

The University of Denver ice hockey team will take part in the 2013 Great Lakes Invitational Tournament.  The other three schools will be Michigan, Michigan State and Michigan Tech.

The 2013 event will be played in the historic Joe Louis Arena, home of the Detroit Red Wings.  The games will be played between Christmas and New Years.

The GLI was first played in 1965 after the idea for the tournament was conceived and implemented by Michigan Tech coach John MacInnes, Olympia Stadium GM Lincoln Cavalieri and Detroit Red Wings’ scout Jack Paterson. The tournament, which has been played in late December every year, has had more than 1.3 million fans in attendance since its inception.

Michigan Tech has won the GLI nine times in 47 appearances. Michigan has competed in 42 GLIs and has claimed 15 titles. Michigan State owns 12 GLI crowns in 38 tries.

Rhett Rakhshani Signs With Swedish Team

(above) Rhatt Rakhshani will play in Sweden next season
DU alum Rhett Rakhshani led the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in scoring the past two years, but he won't take a chance at a third. 

 HV71 of Sweden's top league announced Tuesday that it has signed Rakhshani to a one-year contract. 

The New York Islanders will retain NHL rights to the right winger, who would have become a restricted free agent July 1. 

 In just two full seasons with Bridgeport -- and in neither did he actually play a full season, limited to 66 games two years ago by call-up and injury, and 49 games last year to knee and head injuries --Rakhshani is still the team's 10th all-time leading scorer. He had 20 goals and 29 assists last year in 49 games after scoring a rookie-record 62 points the year before.

Denver Post Profiles WCHA Referee Don Adam

(above) WCHA referee Don Adam sends lawbreakers in Loiusville, Colorado to the penalty box
From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers

On the streets or inside an ice arena, excitement and drama seem to follow Don Adam, a genuine Front Range-raised cop. The WCHA hockey referee and Louisville police officer is one of the state's most versatile law-enforcement officers, often conducting his business in a heated college game between rivals or a civil dispute in the small city east of Boulder [read entire article].

Hockey's Future Profiles Joey LaLeggia

Hockey's Future profiled the top 10 collegians eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft, comprised of five forwards and five defensemen who have just completed their freshman seasons. DU Defeneseman Joey LaLeggia came in at #5 on their list.

LaLeggia was named the WCHA and National Rookie of the Year honors after leading the nation in freshman defensemen with 38 points (11 goals, 27 assists) playing in all 43 games for the Pioneers.

Boone Hockey Jerseys Now Available

Check Out Boone Jersey Website

The first embroidered "old school" Boone ice hockey jerseys have rolled off the production line.  There are countless combinations;  red, gold or white jerseys with either "Pioneers" or "Denver" stitched above Boone on the front.

The jerseys are manufactured by K1 and are made in the USA.

Allow two to three weeks for your jersey to be custom made and 3 to 5 business days for the items to be delivered.

Denver Post Publisher Agrees: "CC Sucks"

(above) Chairman and Publisher of the Denver Post, William Dean Singleton mentioned that "CC Sucks" during DU's Commencement Cermonies last Friday
From: Denver Post Politics & Policy Blog

William Dean Singleton is chairman and publisher of The Denver Post.

He offered a good news/bad news scenario for the the roughly 800 University of Denver students receiving master’s or graduate-level diplomas last Friday.

He compared the current US Economic outlook to the the Colorado College hockey program.
"Many of you have taken on substantial loans in order to be seated here today. That the nation’s student loan debt now exceeds its credit card debt will come as little surprise to most, if not all, of you.

The job market — how should I put this? What’s the phrase you all use to describe Colorado College hockey teams? It Sucks?
I was going to say “rivals” – The job market rivals the worst this country has ever seen.
What “sucks” is the unholy mess my generation is presenting you with.
There’s a sign on my desk that is a simple formula for success, whether we’re talking your personal budget, business or government: It reads … “Remember, cash in must exceed cash out.” We should all live within in our means, and I’m afraid we haven’t held our politicians in Washington to that standard."

North Dakota Voters Ban Fighting Sioux Logo

(above) North Dakota voters gave the two finger salute to the Fighting Sioux logo on Tuesday
Voters in North Dakota on Tuesday overwhelmingly endorsed a proposal to abolish the state university's "Fighting Sioux" nickname and Indian head logo, banned under a national college sports policy that deems such symbols as racially offensive.
More than 67 percent of voters supported the move that will allow the University of North Dakota to end its use of the nickname and logo - based on a Native American caricature - in order to avoid possible sanctions by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

However, supporters of the symbol have said they will continue their fight to retain the "Fighting Sioux" name and logo after years of appealing to alumni and to the state Legislature, which just last year passed a law to keep the images, only to then reverse itself with a repeal.

The university's alumni association and foundation had stayed neutral on the topic for decades, but in early February stepped in to support retiring the nickname and logo, spending $250,000 on the issue.

Joe Colborne To Have Wrist Surgery

From: TSN

Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Joe Colborne will spend the summer recovering from wrist surgery after revealing Monday he was dealing with the injury most of the season.

"I've been battling a wrist injury all year and we're going to take care of that over the next week or so," said Colborne, whose AHL Toronto Marlies were swept by the Norfolk Admirals in the Calder Cup final. "Hopefully I'll be ready by camp."

The six-foot-five forward wouldn't say when the injury first happened but his statistical decline points towards late 2011.

The Calgary native started the season with the Marlies in October, scoring 10 goals in his first 12 games and recording 19 points in 13 contests. He was called up by the Leafs on Nov. 19.

He had four points in six NHL games, but when he returned to the Marlies his production started to decline.

In his first 13 games back with the AHL club, Colborne scored only once.

Despite six multi-point games in his first 10 outings, he recorded just two more all season. His shot production drastically declined upon his return and at one point he went minus-11 in a 12-game span near the end of the season.

In total he had just six goals in the final 51 games of the season and finished the year with 39 points in 65 games.

"I don't want to make excuses but it's not fun and it didn't make it any easier," Colborne said of his wrist.

"It's hard to play through that," added Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins. "Most players would have shut it down but he was more than willing to battle through it."

Colborne has already seen a local surgeon and will have the surgery done in Toronto sometime over the next two weeks.

"I've already met with (the doctor)," said Colborne. "It'll be nice to finally get over it and back to where I feel confident as a shooter and a passer."

Colborne will rehab back home in Calgary with the goal of being ready for next September's training camp.

DU Hockey Video: You Can Play

(above) DU Hockey joined many other college and pro hockey teams making a "You Can Play Video" promoting tolerance for all athletes regardless of sexual orientation

You Can Play is an organization is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation. 

You Can Play works to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete, judged by other athletes and fans alike, only by what they contribute to the sport or their team’s success. 

You Can Play seeks to challenge the culture of locker rooms and spectator areas by focusing only on an athlete’s skills, work ethic and competitive spirit.

NCHC Tourney Will Be Held In Target Center

Brad Elliott Schlossman's Blog mentions that the National Collegiate Hockey Conference will announce Monday that its postseason tournament will be held at the Target Center.  This should be the best neutral site for attendance purposes.

Joe Colborne Still Trying To Add Weight

(above) Joe Colborne & the Toronto Marlies are playing for the AHL Championship this week
From: National Post
by Michael Traikos

Joe Colborne is hungry. As you read this, the 22-year-old is probably drinking a protein shake or sitting down in front of a heaping plate of chicken and pasta. Whatever it is, it is still not enough. He wants to eat more. He needs to eat more. 

Not to necessarily pack pounds onto his slender frame, but more so to temporarily prevent the grains of sand from passing through the hourglass that acts as his hearty metabolism.

“If I only ate three meals a day, I’d probably lose five pounds or more,” said the 6-foot-5 Colborne, who grew a half-inch in the last few months and whose weight can fluctuate from 208 to 218 pounds on a given day.

“It just never ends. I’ll go out for food and everyone else is ready to leave and I’m ready to eat a whole other meal. But I guess that’s a good thing too when I get older. I’ll be laughing at the other guys who will be getting fat.”

Right now, Colborne’s weight is like everything else about the Maple Leafs prospect: a work in progress. A first-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins in 2008, the Calgary native was sent to Toronto as part of a trade for Tomas Kaberle near the end of 2010-11. And while Kaberle helped the Bruins win a Stanley Cup, the Leafs are still waiting on what they eventually hope develops into a top-six forward.

Patience, however, has been the key.

Colborne needs to get bigger, stronger, faster and become more consistent offensively before he challenges for a job with the Leafs next season. That being said, he has shown flashes of potential.
He started this past season with eight goals and eight assists in his first nine games, and he was named the American Hockey League’s player of the month in October. The following month, he was called up to the Leafs and scored his first NHL goal and recorded three assists in nine games.
But like his weight, the production was difficult to keep up.

After being sent back to the minors at the end of November, Colborne struggled to score and finished the season with just eight goals and 15 assists in his final 56 games. During one miserable stretch at the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs, he went 30 games without a goal. He has two goals and five assists in 13 playoff games heading into Game 3 of the Calder Cup final on Thursday.

These would not appear to be the stats of someone who is ready to make a full-time jump to the NHL. Colborne knows it. But at the same time, he is not discouraged by his development.

“I was hot, for sure,” he said of that incredible first month. “I think there have been flashes of it, but it hasn’t been as consistent as I would like to be … but it’s not over yet. It’s sort of been a trying year at times, but it’s also been a huge learning experience for me.”

There are several reasons why Colborne suddenly went from looking like the Leafs’ top prospect to an average Joe — he lost a linemate, he lacerated his finger, he grew a half inch — but at the end of the day, it might boil down to managing expectations.

“Early in the season, he just got off to an unbelievable start,” said head coach Dallas Eakins, who has Colborne centering a line with Carter Ashton and Greg Scott. “To keep that pace up, now that’s the problem with a player. If you’re going to do a test on a mile run, don’t go run the mile in five minutes the first time, because they’re going to expect you to do that every time.

“So Joe got off to a great start. I think he kind of came back to reality mid-season, more of how we thought he would play. But when you get off to a great start as a young man and it’s not going for you, you start losing your confidence. He started going outside his game, trying things.”

Eakins wants Colborne to get back to using his big frame to his advantage and driving the net and hanging onto the puck more down low. But he has no issues with his effort or attitude, especially considering Colborne has been playing through more than the usual bumps and bruises that come from a long playoff run.

“There is some stuff,” he said. “I’m sure it will come out at the end of the year.”

“He’s a really motivated kid,” Eakins said. “He’s not someone who’s leaving every day going, ‘Had a bad day and it’s not a big deal.’ He’s thinking about it. His play has weighed on him at points, but he’s always looking for — even when he’s playing great — a way to get better.”

For now, the way to do that is to keep eating.

News & Notes From Around PioNation

(above) DU alum Mark Matthews was named Player of the Game in his professional debut on Saturday night
The Washington Times projects that the University of Denver Lacrosse team will be #10 next season in the first Poll released for next season.  They list several reasons for DU's rankings.
Mark Matthews scored four goals for the Denver Outlaws on Saturday night. Matthews was drafted by the Outlaws and appeared in his MLL debut. He added two assists. With these impressive stats Matthews earned himself player of the game in his professional outdoor lacrosse debut.
DU lacrosse recruit Jake Woodring [Eden Prarie, MN] was named one of the Top 40 high school junior lacrosse players in the country.