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With Notre Dame rolling into Denver for a pair of hockey games over New Years weekend, one thinks about their legion of fans and, especially, their football success. It wasn't that long ago that ND generated either nation-wide love or contempt. The contempt peaked in articles and blogs in 2012-2013 when searching Google for key words 'hate Notre Dame'.
Lax Power article shows the exponential growth rate of lacrosse at the prep level. Lacrosse is growing faster, based on number of participants, than all other high school sports. Over the past 15 years, participation in high school lacrosse has gone up 159.3% for boys and 161.7% for girls. Lax Power provides data for high school sports offered (sponsorship) and the number of players (participants) for each prep sport.
One additional change facing the West Coast Conference is the potential loss of BYU. According to an article published yesterday in Sports Illustrated: Campus Crush, BYU, an independent football power and WCC member in all other sports, is the first choice of the Big 12 for expansion. Currently sitting with 10 football teams, the Big 12 needs two more football teams to create two divisions and a conference championship. The other two schools being considered are Cincinnati and Colorado State. As for BYU, the article states, "BYU has an increased desire to join the league (Big 12) because of the yawning perception gap between the Power Five (football schools) and everyone else. BYU realizes it won't be treated like Notre Dame as an independent, so this seems like the most logical move for both sides."
Following a thrilling win against Canada in game 1 of the U20 World Junior Championships in Helsinki, Finland, the US dropped their second game this morning to Sweden 1-0. The Swedish goaltender, Linus Soderstrom, turned back 46 shots from Team USA for the win. After 12 straight losses to the Americans over a 20 year span at the World Juniors, the Swedes caught the yanks napping with their only goal at 2:41 into the second period on a break-away, top shelf shot from Alex Nylader.
The US controlled play but could not beat Soderstrom, despite 6 power play opportunities.
Next up for the Team USA (1-1) are the Swiss (0-2) on Wednesday.
Photo: Beach volleyball, the fastest growing NCAA sport
Imagine Pacific University rolling into Denver to play beach volleyball - the fastest-growing NCAA sport with 50 colleges and universities playing as of January 2015. Or picture DU cross country runners training over at Washington park, getting ready for the December NCAA championships. What about heading across I-25 to a refurbished South High Stadium to watch the Pios take on BYU in baseball or watch women's softball against San Francisco? On a sunny fall day, how about heading out to Cherry Creek to watch a women's collegiate rowing meet with BYU, Portland and Santa Clara?
In a battle of country hockey powers, US collegians made the difference in a 4-2 victory over team Canada in the U-20 World Juniors Championships, round 1, in Helsinki, Finland.
Boston University's Colin White, Michigan's Zack Werenski and Miami's Louis Belpedio scored one goal each. Austin Mathews was the only non-collegian US goal scorer. Mathews scored the final dagger in the third period.
Below are links to various hockey stories of interest - some old, some new.
- USCHO had a feature article on former Pioneer Angelo Ricci. http://www.uscho.com/2015/12/22/checking-in-former-denver-player-angelo-ricci-coaches-the-next-generation-in-colorado/
- Avery Peterson, a former Mr. Hockey - Minnesota, departed the UNO hockey program at the break. He had a strong freshman year but was struggling this year and has a sick brother back in Minnesota. http://www.omaha.com/uno/avery-peterson-s-departure-shocks-uno-teammates/article_7db8097c-a720-5125-8ca4-58e892c3da88.html
- Junior forward Nick Roberto from Boston University was suspended one year for gambling. Few details are available but, likely, not college hockey. Per College Hockey News, according to NCAA by-laws, a player who is found gambling on any sporting event, amateur or pro in any sport, via a “bookie” or the Internet, faces a minimum one-year suspension. Other gambling, even through legal means such as fantasy sports, are subject to a suspension of an undetermined length. http://www.collegehockeynews.com/news/2015/12/21_bus_roberto_suspended_for.php
- A Wisconsin recruit switched to DU. http://www.sbncollegehockey.com/college-hockey-recruiting-ncaa/2015/12/3/9846430/kohen-olischefski-decommits-from-wisconsin-commits-to-Denver
- Earlier this month Tyler Bozak returned to Denver with the Maple Leafs and delivered a hat trick against the hometown Avs. http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nhl/2015/12/21/bozaks-hat-trick-in-3rd-leads-leafs-past-avalanche-7-4/77734488/
- CC is in the news. The Tiger's Trey Bradley delivered an illegal hit on an Alabama-Huntsville player and will be taking a 2-game break. http://www.uscho.com/2015/12/22/nchc-issues-two-game-suspension-to-colorado-colleges-trey-bradley-after-illegal-hit-at-alabama-huntsville/
- No DU players were named to the USA Worlds Junior Roster which included a dozen collegiate players. BU had three players and North Dakota had two. http://www.uscho.com/2015/12/23/final-team-usa-world-junior-roster-has-12-ncaa-connections/
- The UND Fighting Hawks new logo design is already generating parodies. Some of these designs are sure to draw the attention of UND's legal department. http://www.grandforksherald.com/news/local/3911648-another-designer-puts-spin-und-logo-controversy
While the Summit League my be a free-for-all this year, no team has a tougher opening stretch than the Pioneers. DU will get the Summit League preseason poll 1-2-3-4 punch in the first nine days of January. The first two games are on the road, Brookings & Fargo, and the next two games are in Denver. A 2-2 split would be an excellent start to league play. Anything better than that and the Pioneers would have to be considered the biggest league surprise. All in nine days. It won't take long to get a sense of how well DU matches up against the league's best.