Denver 3 - Air Force 1 FINAL

(above) Coach Miller waves to the crowd during a special ceremony at Magness Arena
(above) Trevor Moore buries the puck on Saturday night
photo credits: Todd Christensen

The University of Denver, led by Trevor Moore's two goals, defeated Air Force on Saturday night at Magness Arena.
It was a bittersweet night as long-time Associate Head Coach appeared for the final time on the bench in Magness Areana.  On Jan. 1st he will begin his duties as head coach and GM of the Madison, Wisconsin expansion franchise in the USHL.


Twister said...

Good hard-fought win for DU on Sat night. Even with a 2 goal lead late, there were still some anxious moments for the Pios after AFA pulled the goalie and had some sustained pressure. I don't remember a whole lot about past AFA teams, but this team seemed to have a bit more speed and skill up front than past teams. Good exciting game.

Nice tribute to Coach Miller between periods.

du78 said...

As this is a bye week, the players are off and have gone home for Thanksgiving. They will re-assemble after the holiday to prepare for the roadie to Miami.

du78 said...

Also congrats to "Killer" for all he has done!!!! He and Gwoz were quite a combo for 20 plus years at DU and Miami.

Imaws Kcup said...

Whatever side you choose, Miller was clearly screwed in the Gwoz/DU firing fiasco.

Can't thank him enough for his decades of service and excellence. Wish him the best of luck in the USHL and I'm sure he's on to bigger and better things than DU was willing to give him/what he's earned.

anonevermore said...

Miller was screwed in the Gwoz firing?? Think for just a few seconds before you type, please.

dggoddard said...

Gwozdecky was screwed.

Miller was screwed.

The entire DU fan base was screwed.

Dumbest firing in the history of college sports.

And the thousands of empty seats each weekend bear witness to the epic mistake.

Albatross80208 said...

The administration fired Gwoz and brought Monty in with one goal - to win it all. Should that be the only criteria? How is Monty doing so far?

Coaching Record 7-5-2

Tournament Champions 0/1
Gold Pan Victories (almost)
Games against rivals
- CC 1-0-1(shootout win!)
- North Dakota
Conference championships
Playoff championships
NCAA appearances
Frozen Four appearances
Seasons with 20 wins
Consecutive 20 win seasons
National titles

Hobey Baker candidates
All Americans
International Competition
Players going on to play in the NHL
Players going on to play in the AHL/Rus
Players going on to play in other conferences

Academic Awards
Senior CLASS Award - Sam Brittain

Adam Encrapera was signed to a ceremonial letter of intent and will be an honorary member of the team for the 2013-14 season.

timt89 said...

The more I watch this team and listen to the players, they seem to have moved on and fully support Monty and his new system. It is definitely up-tempo style and fun to watch.

Tough to compare Monty to coaching legends after half a season. I think we need to give the comparisons a rest for a couple of years. He is a proven winner and his system has worked other places, too. But, one thing for sure, college hockey is changing and a formula that worked the past ten years may not work the next ten years. Attendance has been trending down for a number of years, let's just hope it stabilizes soon. In the interim, I think we are getting good product on the ice. Once we load up with the right players, we should even get better. Frankly, I was tired of the ‘one and done’ trend…it’s one thing to deal with hockey moms, it is another to negotiate ice time with their agents and professional clubs.

I may be in the minority but I think they are doing just fine. I am not sure that any coach would be doing any better with these same players while installing a new system.

old pio said...

Hey "Albatross," stop trying so hard. We're convinced.

Twister said...

I'm not sure I see how Miller was screwed? Isn't he leaving town with a big smile on his face? His legacy here is unquestionably terrific, he was part of a incredibly successful program with two NCs, and now he heads back home to be the coach and GM of a new USHL franchise. If I'm him I'm a happy man.

On another front, Gwoz is gone and certainly will not be forgotten. I am still as excited as ever, however, to go to the games and root on the team. I assume there are some people staying away simply because of the Gwoz saga and how it was handled, but I would hope those fans would come around and continue supporting the team. The players deserve it.

Imaws Kcup said...

Sorry guys, I thought the analysis was fairly obvious.

Miller's ability to remain an assistant at DU was tied to Gwoz's and DU's ability to reach an agreement. Gwoz signs a contract extension, Miller has job security for the foreseeable future. He very possibly takes over for Gwoz when he retires. Gwoz gets fired and the whole thing blows up. Monty is going to bring in his guys sooner rather than later and Miller is left looking for a job.

Miller was screwed because he put 20 years of excellent work into a program, built his life and family in Denver, and had to change course because Gwoz and DU couldn't come to an agreement. Miller wasn't negotiating the terms but he had to live with the consequences.

Once Gwoz was fired Miller knew he had to look for other options. Options I seriously doubt he would have pursued if Gwoz was still at DU. I can't imagine this is the first time he's had a USHL head coaching gig pop up.

I don't have inside knowledge and you are free to disagree with me, but before you do just take a look at what happens to assistant coaches after the head coach is fired and replaced with someone outside of the program. Any sport, any level. The new head coach almost without exception "cleans house".

Twister - I don't disagree that Miller has made the best out of a bad situation.

Albatross80208 said...

I would agree that all the empty seats are an indicator that something is wrong. Saturday night is a good example. I recognize that the student section was empty with finals winding up and the start of winter break. But DU had a winning record. DU was playing another team from Colorado. The Air Force Academy is only 50 miles away. And DU was literally giving away tickets. Yet Magness was empty. It’s very sad.

dggoddard said...

Attendance will be worse next year unless DU begins to grasp some of the underlying issues.

anonevermore said...

Ok, thanks for providing your reasons, but I still don't think Miller was screwed. He is going to be the GM and head coach of a brand new USHL program. I think that's a pretty awesome gig for him, and a very logical next step in his career. If you want to feel bad for anyone, feel bad for Gwoz. Miller came out ahead in the deal. He spent 20 years at a program, won two national titles, his recruiting resulted in TEN former Pioneers currently playing in the NHL. Great accomplishments, but it's time for a new challenge for him.

Nincompoop said...

I was waiting for this to be updated. Now that this link above, is not a Denver Post's FROM the Springs paper....don't tell me the Denver Post is outsourcing DU coverage now? lol ..... hey Miller is a tremendous recruiter, ans he'll be a great GM. Nothing to do with Gwoz...more about opportunity that knocked. The next guy to go will be Lassonde...he's said since day 1 that he wants a head Coach job....whenever that happens, I guess some people will STILL blame that on the Gwoz firing too.

Jordan said...

Miller interviewed for USHL jobs while Gwozdecky was still here, too.

He's originally from Wisconsin and this is the opportunity he's been seeking for a long time now. Congratulations and best of luck to him. A tremendous part of DU history, more than a lot of people realize.

That is all.

dggoddard said...

NHL star Ryan Suter is among those owners of the Madison USHL team that Steve Miller will be coaching.

Suter plays for the Minnesota Wild and is earning $12 million this season on a 13-year, $98 million contract that runs through the 2024-25 season.

Dave Gershen said...

Egads! Why punish the kids on the ice by boycotting the games and sulking about how the "suits" screwed Gwoz and Boone. Obviously, the fight that DG has waged, though noble, has failed to convince the powers to be. I love the style of play Monty brings to the table, the players think he's a great coach, and the tide will turn on the ice sooner as opposed to later. Can one not despise the administration and support the team at the same time? Are we not fans?

Ring_of_Fire said...

While I don't presume to put words in anyone's mouth, the argument put forth by DG and many others is that the administration's treatment of the Gwoz firing and the Mascot fiasco are symptomatic of larger problems with the overall administration of the university.

The list of grievances is long:

- Instead of being treated as a valued and contributing part of the university community, Alumni are largely ignored;

- Majority opinions of students are constantly and flagrantly marginalized in favor of those of a vocal minority, all in the name of "political correctness" and "social engineering";

- Transparency concerning major university decisions is non-existent and stakeholders (including those with financial "skin in the game"...) are left holding the bag and wondering what REALLY happened;

- Vast amounts of money is being spent on things of questionable value to the university as a whole (e.g. the Presidential Debate and the Great Mascot Search of 2013) while athletic department budgets remain virtually frozen;


Many that hold these opinions see this joke of an administration and react by saying something along the lines of:

"If the people in charge don't listen to me or care what I think, then why would I waste another penny supporting the school? PARTICULARLY when I watch them make decision after decision that I don't agree with and then give me nothing but academic gobbledegook masquerading as "reasons" for those decisions. My entertainment and charity dollars are fungible and I can do something else with them!"

They may or may not add, "SO THERE!!!"

I personally agree with EVERYTHING these people say and I further believe that the resulting "Fine. Then you're not getting a penny of my money!" attitude is perfectly reasonable.

(To be continued – stupid character limit...)

Ring_of_Fire said...

However, I don't share that attitude.

Perhaps this is because I have played hockey my entire life and I have a very real and personal understanding of what the guys on the ice every weekend sacrifice to play the game at this level and I believe that deserves to be acknowledged and supported.

Perhaps it's because, now that the Olympics use 'Dream Teams', college hockey is my favorite expression of my favorite sport in the world and I honestly believe that supporting the game itself is more important than making myself feel good by demonstrating that I don't support the administration.

Perhaps it's because my son, now a youth hockey player himself LOVES the game, loves the guys, and loves the time that he and I spend together watching and playing hockey. He knows the name and number of every player on DU's team...and loves getting knuckles from them on the glass during warmups. Why on earth would I take that away from him, just so I can feel like I'm proving a point to Coombe and the rest of his sycophantic dickwads in their cushy offices across campus?

Perhaps it's because, in the end, I'm just dumb enough to keep shaking DU's hand while they repeatedly piss on my leg.

Honestly, who knows? If I'm being honest with myself, it's probably a combination of all of those things. And more.

What I DO know is that I believe that choosing not to support the boys on the ice in protest is a stupid way of showing dissatisfaction with the administration. It's not the guys' fault that Coombe is fucking useless. It's not their fault that DU canned Gwoz and brought in Montgomery (a decision which, by the way, I agreed with, and STILL agree with...). It's not their fault that the beer at Magness is more expensive and the popcorn bags are smaller. In fact, none of the issues that are making people dislike and distrust the DU administration are the fault of the guys on the ice, so why punish them by making them play in front of empty seats?

Also, as far as I'm concerned, not showing up to support the team can have another, far more destructive side-effect. It lends credence to the attitude held by many in the administration that, if the university community doesn't really care about hockey, why should they? If people give the administration "permission" to think this way, then what's to stop DU from becoming a team like Anchorage? 1,800 a night in attendance, no real hope for improvement of the on-ice fortunes, and ultimately, complete and utter indifference by the community at large - does anyone REALLY want that?

I go back to something that Kurt Russell said while portraying Herb Brooks in Miracle: "If you want to make this team, you'd better start performing at a level that's gonna force me to keep you!" I want DU hockey to perform at a level that FORCES the administration to support the team. I believe that NOT attending games in some sort of show of defiance against an idiotic administration is extremely counter-productive when it comes to what SHOULD be our collective goal of seeing DU get to where we believe they deserve to be...both as a hockey program AND as a university.

Anyway. These are just my opinions...others will have their own and I certainly won't presume to tell someone else how to be a fan. That said I sincerely hope to see EVERYONE that reads this at the next DU game...this team deserves your support, even if the administration doesn't.

Finally, I’d just like to wish a happy thanksgiving to everyone reading this and their families. Here’s to hoping all that are close to you are safe, happy and, above all, well-fed!!!

anonevermore said...

Nice posts, Ring of Fire. Well-stated!

timt89 said...

Ring of Fire - You hit it out of the park. I think you said exactly how many of us feel about alumni relations and our teams. As long as the teams are giving it their all, many of us are all in, too. I think Monty is building a nice team. The same goes for Joe Scott and the basketball program.

old pio said...

"Ring" is right--on all counts. DU will never consider alumni a vital constituency that deserves a seat at the table until the Alumni Association is an independent entity. Not part of Development. I won't bore you (again) with details of the many bitter battles I've been involved with. Let's just say it's time for DU's actions to match its rhetoric. And the only way for that to happen is for alumni to demand it. The administration is quite happy to continue treating alumni like children with piggy banks, and they won't cut it out until alumni punish them for doing it.

Albatross80208 said...

Local kid loses scholarship when DU fires Gwoz:

Ring_of_Fire said...

@ Albatross...

Therefore, what?

I'm not sure what you're driving at with your post, but this sort of thing happens all the time after a coaching change in a college sport. New coaches survey the recruiting pipeline and alter it based on what they feel the program needs; as is their prerogative.

Is it unfortunate that Landon doesn't get to play at DU? Sure. Especially if he really wanted to play close to home. But, the kid WILL get to play college hockey, so forgive me for not wailing while pounding my fists on my desk at the sheer unfairness of the universe.

Now then...if you're posting this story as evidence that Montgomery is a greasy dirtbag that doesn't deserve to carry Gwoz's clipboard, much less coach DU's hockey team, then you're an idiot.

Albatross80208 said...

You really are a simpleton aren't you RoF? Perhaps listening to Old P has turned your mind to mush. Did you read the substance of the article? Did you see that DU78 posted the exact same article on USCHO?

old pio said...

Yeah, but DU78 isn't an asshole.

Ring_of_Fire said...

@ Albatross:

Ahhhh...I see. So, your post was purely informational in nature, with no ulterior motive whatsoever?

Then I stand corrected and, truly, must be a simpleton.

Enjoy your weekend retreat at MENSA. I'll be at the rink with my son, periodically sneaking off during his practice to huff glycol fumes from the compressor room.

Albatross80208 said...

@ RoF

hahaha, finally we agree on something.

old pio said...

He apparently can play only one note on his bassoon: how terrible it was DU fired Gwoz. And while we all more or less agree with that analysis, the fact is the decision is made. And a replacement hired. And we have a schedule of games to play this year. He's evidently decided to remind us all season long about what a bad decision it was. Including repeatedly posting a preposterous list of career accomplishments, comparing a guy who coached at DU for 19 seasons to a guy who hasn't coached 19 games. I think this is the same guy (using a different name) who's made such a pest of himself on USCHO. He fancies himself the only "teller of truth" around here(thus, the only "true" fan). When in fact he's just a pompous pain in the ass. Sadly, I think we're in for a long season of his squalid mewlings.

Albatross80208 said...

You really are a nasty drunk Old P. When you sober up read ... have someone read you the article and try to make a relevant comment.

Twister said...


At this point, with DU's season barely 1/3 over, your ridiculous jabs at Monty's recruiting efforts and your asinine weekly "let's see how Monty is doing" updates are nothing more than bad comedic relief. Come up with some new material.

Albatross80208 said...

Congratulations to Coach Miller and the Thunderbirds.